Author Topic: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws  (Read 5199 times)

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Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2017, 21:53:25 »
As you all know I have my medical cannabis prescription.

One thing I will say, I will not operate a vehicle when I medicate,  Whether recreational or medical, if it impairs your judgement, even in the slightest, you are a danger to others on the roadway.  Period Ful stop.

Do the laws and technology need to change, yes eventually as we explore more how this affects humans just like we have with alcohol, find a threshold line that we can equally decide impairment, regardless what the person taking Cannabis says.

Public safety is the priority, period.

dileas

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Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2017, 01:53:47 »
Before anyone says anything to me personal, see above about my views.  I am posting this for information only, and yes it is American, not Canadian article.

Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show

dileas

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2017, 06:05:36 »
As you all know I have my medical cannabis prescription.

One thing I will say, I will not operate a vehicle when I medicate,  Whether recreational or medical, if it impairs your judgement, even in the slightest, you are a danger to others on the roadway.  Period Ful stop.

Do the laws and technology need to change, yes eventually as we explore more how this affects humans just like we have with alcohol, find a threshold line that we can equally decide impairment, regardless what the person taking Cannabis says.

Public safety is the priority, period.

dileas

tess

Well said 48th.
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Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2017, 01:21:53 »
Well said 48th.

Thank you,

Over the years I have had to gauge myself when on my medication (Not Cannabis) so I know that any kind of prescribed meds, you really need to understand what the official side effects are, and especially what they do to you personally.  This gave me the heads up, when I started to medicate with Cannabis.  I decided, treat it like any other, and if it affects me, even the slights; STOP.

Unfortunately, sometimes I need that STOP when I am posting online ...... :/    ;D

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2017, 15:42:58 »
I have no problem with the legislation either.

However, if we're going to piecemeal every law, to deal with each specific drug we're still going to have a bunch of confusing, possibly illegal laws.

The way I see it, you have to cover them all.

You can't vilify alcohol and cannabis, while letting people drive around on tranquilizers, opioids and other drugs that cause impairment..

Here's the conjecture, some what ifs and where I (playing Devil's Advocate) think they may have a problem. In order to make the law non discriminatory, we'll have to establish tests, limits and screening criteria and force everyone, taking any kind of impairing substance to have a roadside to determine their ability to drive. We'll need to decide the impairment based on amounts of a specific drug compared to body weight and blood toxicity. People that operate vehicles or equipment, while taking medication that states. "Not to be taken if operating machinery, may cause drowsiness" should also be charged. That's only logical and fair, right? No Charter challenges allowed. After all when the greater good is involved, individual rights are forfeit.

These are the types of arguments that the Crown and challenging lawyers and legislators from all levels will have to engage with.

I said previously, it will become legal on 010001JUL18. There will likely be a number of Charter challenges on 020001JUL18.

Like John, my day starts with "What do I have to do? Do I need to drive anywhere or is this a day I can medicate fully? Have I taken a CBD dominant strain or a THC one? Lot's of variables on the way to making a decision to drive or not.

I don't know what it's going to look like in 2018, but I don't think it's going to resemble anything like we've been discussing. It's something I'll be watching, but not being capable of influencing any kind of law in Canada, I'm not going to worry about all the bluster from the House until we start getting down to the short strokes.

We knew from the beginning, with the appointment of Blair to the file, that nothing was going to be easy and that there would be no rhyme or reason to what they dreamed up. Put in the hands of a biased, virulent, anti cannabis cop, instead of someone with a more rounded and open scientific, approach.

But, like I say, this is only a jumping off spot and no plan survives first contact.

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Offline Brihard

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2017, 16:12:43 »
Impairment by other drugs has been illegal for a long time too. With cannabis, what's new here is an offense covering specific concentrations in the blood, similar to alcohol. The logic there is the same as with alcohol- at a certain concentration, research indicates that certain cognitive processes are impaired whether obviously noticeable or not. They are beginning to have those numbers for marijuana. The law provides for the same with other drugs once the science catches up, as it leaves those numbers to be outlined in regulation versus legislation.
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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2017, 19:22:19 »
In your experience, how do conviction rates compare between alcohol and drug impairments? Are drug impairments harder to prove?

Offline Hound Dog

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2017, 21:20:23 »
In your experience, how do conviction rates compare between alcohol and drug impairments? Are drug impairments harder to prove?

Drug impairments are generally much harder to prove. Impaired cases always come down to the testimony of the arresting officer, and/or anyone else who witnessed the accused driving. There are a plethora of arguments that can be made against the allegation that a person was impaired, and depending on how well the officer/witnesses testify they may be quite persuasive - or not. With alcohol, though, there are telltale signs, for example, a smell of liquor on a person's breath generally indicates that they consumed alcohol. That combined with other signs, like slurring speech and poor driving, may cause the court to infer that they are impaired. Usually, it provides reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample, and at that point the person's blood alcohol content can be ascertained. With alcohol, an impaired investigation often leads to a drive over 80 investigation.

Now, take away those signs. You have someone who swerves across road lines, accelerates/decelerates for no reason and doesn't signal to turn. They are pulled over but their car doesn't smell of anything and the observation is that they are lethargic. The officer also notes their pupils are dilated. They are possibly impaired by a drug, but the officer isn't in a position to demand a blood test. Best case scenario, there is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) nearby who can do an evaluation, but even then all you have is an opinion. Without that, all you have is the officer's observations. His defence lawyer gets up and argued the following: my client was driving in an unfamiliar area and was using his cell phone as a GPS. Because he was paying attention to his phone, he crossed over the lane markings and didn't maintain a steady speed. His pupils were dilated because he just came off a 12-hour shift and is extremely tired, plus it's night and the officer shines his flashlight in my client's eyes suddenly. Now, maybe you don't believe him, but that's reasonable doubt.

I've been on both sides of this coin. I'm a prosecutor now and used to be with legal aid. Impaired cases are challenging and often frustrating. They are also prolific. They take up massive amounts of court time because there is always something to argue. And these new laws won't change that; it will only change what arguments are made.

Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2017, 22:37:30 »


A 'significant erosion of rights': Sask. defence lawyer on proposed impaired driving laws



Bob Hrycan says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is stripping rights enshrined by his father

By Stefani Langenegger, CBC News Posted: Apr 17, 2017 3:03 PM CT Last Updated: Apr 17, 2017 3:03 PM CT

A 'significant erosion of rights': Sask. defence lawyer on proposed impaired driving laws
Bob Hrycan says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is stripping rights enshrined by his father

By Stefani Langenegger, CBC News Posted: Apr 17, 2017 3:03 PM CT Last Updated: Apr 17, 2017 3:03 PM CT
The proposed federal legislation would allow police to command a breathalyzer from drivers regardless of whether they suspect the person has been drinking.

The proposed federal legislation would allow police to command a breathalyzer from drivers regardless of whether they suspect the person has been drinking. (CBC)
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A Regina lawyer says proposed impaired driving laws introduced by the federal government last week are a terrible "step backwards" for the rights of all Canadians.

Bob Hrycan says it is not lost on him that it was the current Prime Minister's father, Pierre Trudeau, who made sure the country had a Charter of Rights.

"He implemented the Charter as a means to protect citizens from the overreach of government," Hrycan said. "What Justin Trudeau is doing is essentially advancing government overreach. I think that's unfair."
Bob Hrycan

Regina lawyer Bob Hrycan says the proposed federal legislation governing impaired driving would significantly erode the rights of Canadians. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Right now, Hrycan says drivers are protected from unfair searches — including complying with a breathalyzer — unless a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has been drinking.

The new law would remove that requirement for officers.

"Not only can they pull you over for any reason, they can demand breath samples from you for no reason," Hrycan said.

"So that's a significant erosion of rights."

Saliva testing for drugs

When it comes to testing for drug use, police must still have a "reasonable suspicion" that a driver has been using drugs before requiring a saliva test.

However, Hrycan said the threshold of two nanograms of THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis) could be in a person's body for weeks after they were actually impaired.

"That means that if you occasionally smoke a joint you can be pulled over, detained and subject to screening within 10 days after smoking that joint," Hrycan said. "That's fundamentally unfair."

Hrycan says there is no doubt the new laws will face a constitutional challenge, but until those cases work their way to the Supreme Court he says the federal government has created more confusion about impaired driving in Canada.

"We're not going to have more certainty," Hrycan said. "We're actually going to have more uncertainty. And that's regretable."


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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2017, 08:03:29 »
You have someone who swerves across road lines, accelerates/decelerates for no reason, and doesn't signal to turn.
Ah, you're in Kingston.   :nod:

Offline Lumber

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2017, 10:23:16 »
Found this interesting piece at the bottom of a summary article on the new legislation:

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/pot-brownies-federal-taxes-and-more-what-isnt-in-the-liberal-marijuana-legalization-bill

Seems like we're trading one set of loopholes in the law for alcohol, for another set for THC. How many drug drivers are going to get off because they can provide reasonable doubt because "THC effects me differently".


The other is the 'intervening drink defense'. I get a call for a motor vehicle collision. I arrive on scene to find two cars pretty banged up. One guy sober, the other pretty wobbly. The sober guy says the other one blew through a red light, he couldn't dodge him on time, and they collided. He says that as soon as the other driver got out of the car, he grabbed a mickey of fireball from the back and chugged it, then tossed the bottle into the woods somewhere. I search but can't find the bottle. In this instance, a driver who knows he was probably driving drunk knows enough about drunk driving law that he knows we cannot get him for impaired if after the time of driving he consumed alcohol, since we can no longer reliably test how much alcohol was in his blood. If I had the bottle and can prove it went from full to empty, *maybe* I could get a toxicologist to extrapolate how much alcohol he consumed, and work back using his body mass to determine his BAC at time of driving, but in this case (and nearly every case) I don't have enough for that. This has happened many times. In one really notorious case a police officer here in Canada pulled exactly this stunt. It's also totally common in impaired hit and runs- someone gets in an accident, scurries home, and runs inside and has a couple beers.

I smell (lol) an intervening "joint" defence.

Buddy's high as the rafters and gets in a jolly roll-over, crawls out the smashed windscreen and lights up a fatty. Continues smoking joints until the police arrive. How can they prove he was impaired while driving if he's lightin' up right then and there?

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2017, 12:03:28 »
In one really notorious case a police officer here in Canada pulled exactly this stunt.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/court-hears-claim-rcmp-officer-drank-vodka-to-beat-drunk-driving-charge/article535569/
"...that people who have an accident while driving after drinking can defeat an impaired charge if they have something to drink after the accident, and before they are tested by police."

It was not unheard of for some motorists to permanently stash a mickey in the trunk "to open and drink only in case of an accident". 
They could remain on scene, and drink while sitting on the curb.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 14:43:18 by mariomike »
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Offline shawn5o

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #37 on: July 19, 2017, 14:10:03 »
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/court-hears-claim-rcmp-officer-drank-vodka-to-beat-drunk-driving-charge/article535569/
"...that people who have an accident while driving after drinking can defeat an impaired charge if they have something to drink after the accident, and before they are tested by police."

It was not unheard of for some motorists to permanently stash a mickey in the trunk "to open and drink only in case of an accident". 
They could remain on scene, and drink while sitting on the curb.

I don't think that works anymore. Blood testing (I think) can establish how many drinks and when drinking started.

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Offline shawn5o

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #38 on: July 19, 2017, 14:19:13 »
Yes, I'm challenged to understand how removing the presumption of innocence is a good thing.

It gets worse

"OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding procedures that permit shortcuts for allowing a motorist's breathalyzer test results into evidence -- even in cases where demanding the breath sample may have been unlawful."
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/supreme-court-of-canada-upholds-procedure-for-allowing-breathalyzer-evidence-1.3491387

and

"Legislation allowing alcohol testing of drivers without prior suspicion tabled on Parliament Hill
If Bill C-46 is passed into law, “police officers who have an approved screening device on hand would be able to test any driver they lawfully stop, even if the officer does not suspect the driver has alcohol in his or her body,” the federal justice department states on its website."
http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/legislation-allowing-alcohol-testing-drivers-without-prior-suspicion-tabled-parliament-hill-1004112201/

I understand that police can stop anyone operating a motor vehicle and I am OK with that.

But i don't want to see our rights eroded by stealth
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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #39 on: July 19, 2017, 17:24:56 »
How often are the approved screening devices calibrated and recorded in a log book?

When marijuana is legalized, there will be problems with testing. In the US (all US States???) if police smell it during a vehicle stop, the occupants and vehicle can be searched.


http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/legislation-regulation/new-impaired-driving-laws-let-majority-stoned-drivers-escape-prosecution-advocacy-groups-1004117528/

New impaired driving laws could let ‘majority of stoned drivers’ escape prosecution: advocacy groups
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Offline ExRCDcpl

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2017, 17:59:38 »
It gets worse

"OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding procedures that permit shortcuts for allowing a motorist's breathalyzer test results into evidence -- even in cases where demanding the breath sample may have been unlawful."
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/supreme-court-of-canada-upholds-procedure-for-allowing-breathalyzer-evidence-1.3491387

and

"Legislation allowing alcohol testing of drivers without prior suspicion tabled on Parliament Hill
If Bill C-46 is passed into law, “police officers who have an approved screening device on hand would be able to test any driver they lawfully stop, even if the officer does not suspect the driver has alcohol in his or her body,” the federal justice department states on its website."
http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/legislation-allowing-alcohol-testing-drivers-without-prior-suspicion-tabled-parliament-hill-1004112201/

I understand that police can stop anyone operating a motor vehicle and I am OK with that.

But i don't want to see our rights eroded by stealth

Just to be clear.......you are aware we can demand an ASD already without reasonable grounds to believe you're impaired right?  Reasonable suspicion and reasonable grounds are two very different things and suspicion is all that is required for an ASD demand whereas reasonable grounds are what's required to make an arrest.

Either way......no police officer anywhere is going to waste their time administering an ASD if there's no reason to think a person will fail.  There is absolutely no benefit to me by making you blow into an ASD that I know you'll pass.

Offline LunchMeat

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2017, 18:14:28 »
How often are the approved screening devices calibrated and recorded in a log book?

When marijuana is legalized, there will be problems with testing. In the US (all US States???) if police smell it during a vehicle stop, the occupants and vehicle can be searched.


http://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/legislation-regulation/new-impaired-driving-laws-let-majority-stoned-drivers-escape-prosecution-advocacy-groups-1004117528/

New impaired driving laws could let ‘majority of stoned drivers’ escape prosecution: advocacy groups

States that have recently legalized have had their state courts rule that the smell of marijuana is no longer sufficient probable cause/reasonable suspicion for a search.

The same will likely occur here.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2017, 18:33:50 »
How often are the approved screening devices calibrated and recorded in a log book?

They are calibrated against an alcohol standard monthly.
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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2017, 19:27:46 »
States that have recently legalized have had their state courts rule that the smell of marijuana is no longer sufficient probable cause/reasonable suspicion for a search.

The same will likely occur here.

So kind of how the smell of alcohol thing works then?
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Offline LunchMeat

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2017, 02:27:57 »
So kind of how the smell of alcohol thing works then?

Can't get a search warrant for smell of alcohol, but I can demand a breath or blood sample.
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Offline shawn5o

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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2017, 09:09:15 »
Just to be clear.......you are aware we can demand an ASD already without reasonable grounds to believe you're impaired right?  Reasonable suspicion and reasonable grounds are two very different things and suspicion is all that is required for an ASD demand whereas reasonable grounds are what's required to make an arrest.

Either way......no police officer anywhere is going to waste their time administering an ASD if there's no reason to think a person will fail.  There is absolutely no benefit to me by making you blow into an ASD that I know you'll pass.

Good points - Thanks exRCD
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Re: Sweeping changes to Impaired Driving Laws
« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2017, 09:52:11 »
How often are the approved screening devices calibrated and recorded in a log book?

They are calibrated against an alcohol standard monthly.

The reason I asked was that in BC several years ago the RCMP could not prove the ASD were calibrated and when.
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