Police in B.C. can now issue 90-day immediate roadside prohibitions if a driver fails or refuses to take a breathalyzer. (Black Press file photo)

Supreme court upholds B.C.’s drunk driving laws

Constitutional challenge on 90-day prohibitions dismissed

The B.C. Supreme Court has upheld the law that allow police to take drunk drivers off the road for 90 days, following a constitutional challenge.

In a ruling Monday, Justice Jennifer Duncan said the 90-day immediate roadside prohibitions are “a measured response to the societal danger of drunk driving.”

B.C. brought in some of the strictest impaired driving laws in 2010, two years after four-year-old Alexa Middelaer was killed by a drunk driver on a Delta road in 2008.

The immediate roadside prohibition for 24 hours was increased to 90 days for drivers who failed the roadside breathalyzer test by blowing above a 0.08 blood alcohol level, or refusing to provide a breath sample.

The laws have been challenged twice before: A 2011 challenge led to the laws being amended, while a 2014 challenge was dismissed.

In this case filed last December, three of the four complainants had failed a breathalyzer test and one had refused to take one. All four were denied a review of their cases.

They claimed the immediate roadside prohibitions, given out by police roadside and before they could talk to a lawyer, violated their charter rights “to retain and instruct counsel without delay.”

However, Duncan said the positive effects of the prohibitions negated any perceived breach the drunk drivers’ rights.

“It is a powerful tool which sees the immediate suspension of drivers who have been drinking alcohol from our roads, yet enables a meaningful review of the suspension as well as avenues for further judicial review.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

RV habitation once again a discussion topic for TNRD

“I don’t imagine for a moment that we’ve heard the last of the RV issue”

Man brought up on three charges after holding tow truck driver at knifepoint in Lac la Hache

The suspect produced a knife and held the driver against his will for upwards of 45 minutes

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read