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

Saanich police search for potential victims, witnesses after series of unprovoked assaults

Police are looking for more information about two incidents from June 12

Pay cuts, seating charts, COVID screening: How one Sidney venue is bringing back concerts

A growing number of bars and restaurants are welcoming back musicians under COVID-19 precautions

Newly appointed Resilient Saanich committee to weigh in on new environmental policy framework

Council selects nine members, First Nations representative position remains open

Greater Victoria Point-in-Time count finds over 1,500 people homeless

Capital Regional District says count should be treated as an underestimate

CRD cost estimate study looks at regional housing, transportation affordability

Study paints clearer picture of true cost of living in Greater Victoria

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

Most Read