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

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Pumpkin carver features police officer killed in off-duty assault in Nelson

Abbotsford’s Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Near the top of Stanley Street in Nelson, a newly installed waterline will soon be joined to an old one that runs into the city from Selous Creek near Ymir, until now used only as emergency backup. The new line will take Selous Creek water to the Mountain Station Reservoir as a more permanent addition to the water supply. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Completion of Selous Creek line improves Nelson’s water supply

Project adds a new source of treated water

Get some help writing your novel at the Nelson Library online this month. Photo: Marcus Aurelius/Pexels
CHECK THIS OUT: Write that novel!

The Nelson Library can help you during National Novel Writing Month

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read