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.

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Naloxone workshop in Chemainus gives people the tools to deal with an overdose situation

Community paramedic provides valuable information amid growing opioid crisis

Police, muni on site of break-in at pump station

Investigation being conducted but no public safety concern, officer says

Nanaimo Lakes fire a model for new satellite mapping technology

B.C.-based technology company uses Nanaimo Lakes fire to create animated map of fire progress.

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Most Read