Appeal court upholds roadside suspensions

Steep fines and vehicle seizures within province's rights, Attorney General says it reinforces road safety efforts

Attorney General Suzanne Anton

VICTORIA – B.C. police will continue to impose 90-day driving suspensions and seize vehicles of drivers who fail a breath alcohol test, after a constitutional challenge was turned away Monday by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

“It’s a matter of public safety on our roads, and so we’re carrying on with the immediate roadside prohibition program,” Attorney General Suzanne Anton said Monday.

The law was challenged by six drivers who had either blown a “fail” reading on a roadside blood alcohol screening device, or refused to blow. The court found that the roadside suspensions do not supplant the Criminal Code, where police still have the option of laying impaired driving charges.

“The legislation does not create a criminal or quasi-criminal proceeding, nor does it lead to true penal consequences” when it allows licence suspensions, penalties and impound fees, three appeal court justices agreed.

The “immediate roadside prohibition” program took effect in 2010, replacing most impaired driving charges with administrative penalties, including a three-day driving ban and a $200 administrative fee for those who register between 0.05 and 0.08, if the police officer has reason to believe the driver is impaired.

For those who blow in the “impaired” range of 0.08 or higher, police have the option of imposing a 90-day driving ban, a $500 penalty and impounding the vehicle for 30 days instead of laying a charge. Towing and impounding a vehicle can result in a $700 bill, and a $1,400 mandatory “responsible driver program” may also be required before the driver’s licence is returned.

After an initial court challenge, the law was amended to require police to offer a second roadside test to anyone who fails, and to advise drivers they can appeal their suspension to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

 

Just Posted

First council candidate is missing

RCMP asks that anyone with information contact them immediately

Junior A hockey coming to Sooke

Exhibition game helps the Rotary Club to help community youth

Life-Altering experience

Six weeks that served to change their view of the world

Camosun mechanical engineering project solve real-world problems

Showcase included projects that confound conventional wisdom, garner industry interest

Declining cellphone charges lead to drop in B.C. inflation rate

Year-to-year inflation in British Columbia stood at 2.1 per cent in July 2019, down 0.5 per cent

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Most Read