Legal Experts Warn About Changes To The Impaired Driving Laws Of Canada That Could Give Far-Reaching Powers To The Police
Police could show up on your doorstep up to two hours after you arrive home in order to collect demand a breath or saliva sample if Canada’s new DUI laws are passed.Calgary defence lawyer Dale Fedorchuk says the proposed law “begs” to be challenged constitutionally and one of the things that concerns him most. Fedorchuk stated that if the law is passed, the officers would have the power to charge someone with impaired driving, even after they have parked their vehicle.The Trudeau government last month introduced sweeping changes that include mandatory roadside breath samples and much harsher penalties for some offences that could result in up to 10 years in prison among other measures.
If the Police have a reasonable suspicion that a driver has drugs in their body they can also demand a roadside saliva sample. The said changes were announced the same day the federal government unveiled its bill to legalize marijuana and are becoming the topic of debate among lawyers, legal experts and victim groups who are lining up to either praise or ban the legislation.Officers can simply demand a test and drivers will have no choice, since refusing to provide a sample is a Criminal Code offence. As per Section eight of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”
According to Fedorchuk, the proposed law could shift the burden of proof onto an accused. He said for example, that someone who is approached by police at their residence would have to prove they consumed alcohol or drugs at home after they exited their vehicle and were not driving drunk.Calgary police officers appear supportive of the new changes especially the section that drops the requirement that an officer must first have reasonable suspicion before demanding a breath test. Mothers Against Drunk Driving stated the proposed changes are a good first step.
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