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.
In the spirit of reefer madness and fear-mongering, the decision by the Canadian Senate to back down from their amendments to marijuana legalization has already sparked debate about carange on our roadways. But does the effective legalization of marijuana in Canada pose any realistic risk?
Frankly, that's doubtful.
This is not another article about the science behind marijuana and driving impairment. What it is instead is a look into Canada's impaired driving legislation that already exists, to see how there is already an effective enforcement scheme set up in our existing laws. What the Federal Government is proposing in Bill C-46 for an overhaul of impaired driving legislation is just not necessary.
And here's why.
Since the move toward legalization of recreational marijuana began after the last federal election, a lot of discussion has taken place surrounding marijuana-impaired driving. What has never been clear throughout all this discussion is what the existing state of the law is when it comes to cannabis impairment and driving. This has not been assisted by the introduction of Bill C-46, which creates separate offences involving marijuana and driving.
This post breaks down marijuana impaired driving as it currently stands in British Columbia and under federal criminal law.
Impaired driving cases are highly complex and technical. Understanding the issues that arise in these cases requires a strong level of knowledge in the law, Charter rights and litigation, and the scientific underpinning of impaired driving charges. My goal as a driving lawyer with a focus in impaired driving cases is to have the best level of knowledge possible about all of these issues.
Many lawyers do not take steps to appreciate or understand the complex science that goes into impaired driving cases. Faced with an instrument like the one depicted above, they would struggle to identify what it is. It's a liquid chromatography mass spectrometry instrument, for the record. And when it comes to operating the instrument and interpreting and understanding the results, many lawyers would similarly be at a loss.
I try to go the extra mile for my clients so that I can easily spot the important issues.
In last week's episode of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I sat down with Roy Ho of Acumen Law Corporation to talk about ICBC and insurance breach investigations. In particular, Roy and I discussed how your insurance is affected by impaired driving charges and how ICBC will breach insurance coverage after an impaired driving incident. For anyone affected by an impaired driving case involving an accident, this episode is a must-listen to know whether ICBC will provide coverage in a DUI accident.
In the second half of the episode, Roy and I also discuss the changes to British Columbia's Insurance Vehicle Act and coverage for minor injury claims.
Don't forget as well to vote for me in Canadian Lawyer Magazine's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers survey.
The Senate is currently considering legislation aimed at targeting the problem of impaired drivers on our roadways. It's a noble goal to be sure. However, the law has the potential to significantly impact small business, and in particular businesses that rely on driving and transportation.
Part of Bill C-46 involves the creation of a criminal law scheme that addresses the potential risks of marijuana-impaired driving. However, the bill proposes adding a new criminal offence of impaired driving at certain blood alcohol concentrations of THC, and imposing particular sentences for these offences. These are known in law as per se limits.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, marijuana legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.