At a time when everyone was distracted by cannabis legalization and the impending changes to the Criminal Code to allow random breath testing, the BC Government quietly enacted some changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to make it harder to dispute a 24 hour for drugs.
These changes deserve attention and explanation. Because as a result of cannabis legalization, it is inevitable that more people will be facing 24 hour prohibitions from driving.
If you were following along with this series from last week, you know that this step in Canada is combined with the check for muscle tone. However, the official twelve steps of the program have separated this step from the check for muscle tone.
In some ways, as I will describe below, this is one of the more troubling aspects of the DRE examination.
The next step in the Drug Recognition Evaluation is to check the subject's body for muscle tone. The rationale behind this is that some drugs will make your muscles rigid and some will make them flaccid, and that will help the DRE officer determine the class or category of drug that a person has taken.
In Canada, this step is combined with the next of the twelve steps, which is to take the subject's pulse and check for injection sites. However, as we are going by the twelve steps individually, I will deal with that next week.
After the preliminary steps are done, taking first pulse and an initial examination, the DRE officer is then able to move on to the more complex eye examinations. The results of these examinations are said to be used to help the DRE officer determine whether a person is impaired by a drug, and identify the class of drugs that is causing the impairment.
Eye examinations are particularly interesting because they do not actually say much about impairment at all. What they do say a lot about is the condition of a person's eyeball and whether that person may have suffered head injuries, has or is suffering a stroke or a seizure, or whether a person may have neurological conditions. Of course, a police officer is in no position to determine any of this.
So read on to find out the three types of eye examinations that are used in the DRE Evaluation.
Once the interview of the arresting officer is done, the DRE officer is armed, largely, with the knowledge needed to start the evaluation. After all, they've already been told what the subject said and did and therefore are aware of what to look for. So at this stage the DRE officer conducts a preliminary examination and takes the first in a series of pulses.
This is the step designed to create a chaotic baseline so that impairment can be inferred.
Last week, we talked about idiot-proofing in the DRE test. This week, we address another step in the Drug Recognition Evaluation that is designed to make sure the police do not completely bungle the test. This is known as the interview of the arresting officer.
In many cases, though not all, the person who makes the arrest of a supposed impaired driver is not trained in the Drug Recognition Evaluation program. As a result of the lack of training, this person cannot administer the test and another officer must be summoned to do it. This will be common in Canada, as after cannabis legalization we will still have very few trained officers in Canada.
So the interview is a very important step.
Following last week’s post on the twelve weeks of DRE-mas, I am writing about the first of the twelve steps in this twelve-step program. The first step is a breath alcohol test. Now, I know that some people might think that seems normal: alcohol is a drug, after all. However, a breath alcohol test is actually a built-in safeguard because it’s common for police to get it wrong.
This is is the idiot-proofing step.
In light of the fact that we are but twelve short weeks from cannabis legalization in Canada, I thought that I would start a short new blog series called The Twelve Weeks of DRE-mas. The purpose of this series is to outline the steps of the Drug Recognition Evaluation Program.
The Drug Recognition Evaluation Program is going to be very important post-legalization, as officers across Canada are training at an alarming rate to become qualified in this pseudo-scientific nonsense test for drug impairment. This first post will outline what the Drug Recognition Evaluation Program is, and how it will be used when Bill C-46 becomes law.
So, on the first week of DRE-mas, your DUI lawyer gave to you: a DRE program overview.
The Canadian Government announced this week that it has finally chosen the roadside saliva tester for drugs to be used after marijuana legalization this October. The chosen device is the Draeger DrugTest 5000.
This device is subject to numerous flaws. In an earlier blog post, I discussed some of the pitfalls generally with saliva testing, and none of those pitfalls are cured by this device. Now that we know what device is coming, we can identify which specific pitfalls apply to this device and in what way they apply.
The Federal Government has announced a commitment to nearly $1 Million in funding for research into cannabis impairment. And while it is nice to see the government finally direct money toward studying this important issue, it is also a little bit frustrating. In reality, the decision to do this, at this stage of the game is far too little, too late.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.