When it comes to road-side checks B.C. pioneered the practice of instant prohibitions, but has still not ironed out all the legal pitfalls.

B.C. boasts Canada's toughest impaired driving laws, and they caused controversy from the day they were implemented in 2010.

Court challenges led to changes in 2012, but legal experts say today's Supreme Court of Canada ruling will invite more challenges. The province points out the rigorous rules saved 260 lives since they were put in place.

One of the main concerns about the instant road-side prohibitions has always been the unreliable nature of the road side test devices.

Drivers can demand two tests

After constitutional challenges, the legislation was amended in 2012 to ensure police always informed drivers of their right to have a second breath test with a different device.  

Vancouver criminal defence Lawyer Kevin Filkow complained, even after the changes, that the practice of offering a second breath test on a difference device was not "addressed with the appropriate conviction."


If a driver blows a breath analysing device and it reads, Warn, indicating an alcohol content of 0.05 or higher, that driver can be immediately be served a driving prohibition.

If a driver's alcohol content is less than 0,049 — below Warn— they can still face a 12-hour driving prohibition at the officer's discretion.

If a driver blows into a device and it reads, Fail, indicating a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more — or if a driver refuses to blow — an officer can issue a 90 day suspension. The vehicle can be impounded for 30 days, and costs of penalties (impound, towing and administrative fees) can top $1400.

Strike one: 3 day suspension

For a first offence in five years a driver loses their licence and their vehicle for three days. A $200 administrative fee is charged as well as additional fees for reinstating the licence, towing or car storage. The total cost is about $600.

Strike two: 7 day suspension

For a second offence in five years, the driver is suspended for seven days, and the vehicle is impounded for the same time. There is a $300 administrative penalty. In total the driver will pay $780.

Strike three: 30 days

The driver is suspended, and the vehicle impounded, for 30 days. There is a $400 administrative penalty and the driver may be referred to the Responsible Driver Program and the Ignition Interlock Program.  The cost to the driver can top $1,300.

And remember that does not include any court-ordered consequences, which can add a $1,000 minimum fine, further driving restrictions and jail time.

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2015-10-30 | Link to this post