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

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Injured humpback returns to waters near Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular near Comox again and noticed the whale has been healing

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Most Read