Drivers in Ontario who are accused of driving while intoxicated may find two recent court rulings interesting. These cases show how important it is for drivers to take note of every step that law enforcement takes during a traffic stop and while conducting tests to determine blood alcohol levels. Even the slightest deviance from prescribed procedures may ruin the case of the Crown when an impaired driving case
goes to court.
Reportedly, when a breath technician of the police did a breath screening of an accused drunk driver, the officer ordered the woman to get on a scale. When the driver asked whether she could refuse, the officer allegedly said her weight had to be determined. When the case came before the judge, the judge said citizens have a Chartered right that protects them from unreasonable search and seizure procedures, and ordering the defendant to stand on the scale violated that right and her right to privacy. This left the Crown without evidence.
In another case about a week earlier, a judge acquitted an accused impaired driver after it was determined that police delayed the roadside breath test to determine his blood-alcohol level. Officers reportedly developed reasonable suspicion of intoxicated driving, but then took more than 10 minutes to administer the test. The court found that the delay was constitutionally inexcusable.
In both these cases that followed alleged impaired driving, small details caused the accused individuals to go free. Any Ontario drivers who face drunk driving charges will be innocent until the Crown can establish guilt without a reasonable doubt. With the help of an experienced drunk driving defence lawyer, the charges and the procedures of law enforcement can be thoroughly scrutinized, and irregularities can be addressed in an appropriate manner.