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."
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.
An ongoing case recently aired at a small claims court in BC could have wider implications for insurance cases in the province. A driver named Angela Seeley who crashed her car is suing the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for refusing to honour her insurance claim. ICBC believes Ms. Seeley was impaired at the time of the collision and it alleges she lied by saying she had nothing to drink before it happened. Ms. Seeley agrees her driving was affected leading up to the crash, however, not by drinking but by texting.
This case raises some interesting points about why someone would admit to using their phone while driving but deny having consumed alcohol before driving. What are the differences between driving while impaired and driving while distracted? What are their implications for insurance claims and, crucially, how severely they are punished?
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.