The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a challenge of BC’s tough drinking and driving laws, or at least the initial version of them, today.
Acumen Law Corporation’s Paul Doroshenko is in Ottawa to argue in front of Canada’s highest court that the legislation needs to allow for a police officer’s discretion at roadside checks.
“You have got an officer who is looking at you and never concludes that you are affected in your ability to drive despite the reading, and there can be problems with the reading and all sorts of other things that you can imagine. The police officer might be looking at you and saying I think you are just fine. We say that the Motor Vehicle Act says that the police officer in that case can do something else or do nothing. The government says no the police officer still has to issue it regardless.”
Doroshenko says the law is ambiguous.
He says a police officer’s expert discretion can prevent a person, who might be victim of faulty breathalyzer, from losing their car and facing heavy fines.
BC’s tough drinking driving laws have already been re-written twice in response to previous legal challenges.
Paul Doroshenko says the legal fireworks are far from over for the DUI legislation and for the province’s move address traffic ticket disputes.
“We are seeing all sorts of matters that were formerly things before the courts such as traffic tickets and drinking and driving cases shunted to administrative tribunals. The courts may have something important to say about that. That is just a way the governments get around providing people with charter rights.”
Doroshenko’s DUI legislation challenge is just one of two against the law the Supreme Court of Canada will hear today.