A call that I frequently get from clients is whether they should dispute a 90-day driving prohibition for DUI. Many people are concerned that because they blew “Fail” into two different breathalyzers or because they admitted to consuming alcohol to the police that they will not have any chance of success in their driving prohibition dispute. The reality is that this could not be further from the truth.
I have an excellent track record of success in disputing DUI charges and driving prohibitions, and so this blog post will outline a few of the reasons why you should not count yourself out before consulting with a lawyer.
Since the introduction of the random breath testing provisions, an old article has been making the rounds once again. It’s an important story, because it gets at the very heart of what the problems are with random breath testing and how it can railroad otherwise good people.
Many people are sympathetic to the story of Margaret MacDonald, a woman in her eighties who was given a roadside prohibition, while completely sober, after she was alleged to have refused a breathalyzer test. However, Ms. MacDonald did not refuse; due to her age, the cold weather, and the rough treatment by the police in that case, she was incapable of blowing properly.
What many do not know, however, is the rest of the story. And the rest of the story is just as important.
In a matter of days, we will see substantial changes in our legal system in Canada. The most notable of these changes is the change to our impaired driving laws, which will permit the police to conduct random breath tests on any lawfully stopped driver.
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.
Something is rotten in the Province of Ontario.
And if I weren’t so upset by it, I would be inserting jokes at Ontario’s expense here.
Ever since the Newmarket region of Ontario set Canada’s record for the highest sentence ever handed down in an impaired driving case, after the Marco Muzzo sentencing, Ontario has developed a disturbing trend of issuing jail sentences to first time impaired drivers.
This is incredibly problematic and serves only to harm the administration of justice in the long term. And this blog post explains why.
This week's roundup of weird and wacky legal cases features heavily cases involving impaired driving and DUI stops. Why? Because drunk people are often always good for a laugh and for creating new or interesting legal analysis. This week, a man chugged a beer at a DUI stop, while another DUI offender claimed his dog was driving. Finally, just to mix it up, we look at the Wendy's where it truly was "waaaaaay better than fast food."
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.