Roadside penalty appeals considered

Police in B.C. have wide discretion to impose fines and impound vehicles for suspected impaired driving.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is considering an appeal period for drivers facing steep new roadside penalties imposed by police.Legislation took effect last September giving B.C. the toughest penalties for impaired driving and excessive speeding in Canada. After hundreds of drivers were fined and had their vehicles seized, Public Safety Minister Rich Coleman announced a review of the new measures late last year.Tuesday he told Kamloops radio station CHNL that the government is considering an appeal period before fines or other penalties take effect. Coleman wasn’t available to elaborate, but his office issued a statement later in the day.”One change we are considering is implementing a process so you have a certain amount of time to appeal the offence,” the statement said. “The change would be similar to a traffic ticket, where you either accept or reject the claim, and have a certain amount of time to appeal the offence.”Such a change would have to be debated and passed in the legislature to take effect.Police in B.C. now have the option of imposing an immediate penalty on anyone who fails a roadside breath test. Instead of issuing a 24-hour suspension or a formal impaired charge, police can impose a 90-day driving ban, a $500 fine and impound the vehicle for 30 days, with the owner on the hook for the towing and storage charges.The penalties mean one failed roadside test could cost a driver $3,750 before driving again, and that is before any criminal code charges and suspensions that may also result.A blood alcohol reading in the “warn” range between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent can result in a three-day driving ban, a $200 “administrative penalty” and another $250 fee to have a driver’s licence reinstated. Drivers may also have their car impounded for three days.More than 1,400 drivers were hit with the steeper penalties in the first 20 days of the new rules. Pub and restaurant owners complained that people were afraid to have a single drink after work, and defence lawyers said the government was giving police officers too much discretion to impose penalties.

Just Posted

Almost 150 hectares purchased for parks in the CRD

Capital Regional District purchases two sites to increase park connectivity

How a scrawny kid from Oak Bay bulked into one of rugby sevens’ best

Doing it for Dylan, Oak Bay’s Connor Braid at the top of his game

Yarns, string and human hair pose a risk to Greater Victoria birds

Wild ARC handles a number of entanglement cases each year

Victoria shatters its oldest temperature record

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Baby left alone in vehicle in Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Four people spat on in ‘random, unprovoked’ assaults: Vancouver police

Police ask additional victims to come forward after woman in a wheelchair spat on

Most Read