Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, the likelihood of people driving high (or mpaired by marijuana) has risen. Unlike alcohol, however, there is no easy test to determine if someone is legally impaired by marijuana. The Federal Government has approved a device, the Drager DrugTest 5000, that tests saliva to determine the concentration of THC, but there has been concerns raised surrounding this machine to the point both the Ottawa Police Service [link: https://globalnews.ca/news/4441503/no-plans-roadside-device-saliva-pot-ottawa-police] and the RCMP [link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/drug-impaired-driving-tests-1.4891163].
There are many questions on the minds of Canadians regarding the use of recreational cannabis and driving. How long do you have to wait after consumption to drive? How does cannabis impair your driving ability? Is cannabis treated the same way as alcohol?
Last week, the Ontario of Appeal heard the appeal of the Christy Natsis case. You may recall the Natsis trial a few years ago: a Pembroke dentist who was charged with impaired driving and driving with over 80 milligrams of alcohol in her system. Ultimately, after 55 days of trial, the trial judge excluded the breath readings because of violations of Ms. Natsis's rights, but convicted her of impaired driving causing death, largely on the expert testimony of the Ontario Provincial Police reconstructionists. The main issue on appeal is whether the trial judge properly allowed the police officers to testify as an expert and provide opinion evidence on the nature of the accident.
With the Government's announced intention to legalize the recreational use of marijuana there has been increased attention to the issue of impaired driving as a result of the consumption of a drug.
Beaucoup de gens accusés d'infraction de conduite en vertu du Code criminel ne comprennent pas pleinement leurs options afin de protéger leurs droits. Peut-être qu'ils se sentent accablés par la possibilité de perdre leurs permis de conduire, ou ils ne réalisent pas pleinement les conséquences d'une condamnation. En tout cas, si vous êtes accusé d'une infraction de conduite, vous devriez consulter un avocat expérimenté dès que possible.
After being stopped at a RIDE program you are asked to step out of the car and blow into a roadside screening device. The officer tells you that you have failed. You are arrested for driving over 80, read your rights, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. The police take you down to the station where you are asked to blow into the breathalyser machine. After a brief wait you are told that your readings were way over the legal limit and that you will be charged with both over 80 and impaired driving. You are eventually released from the station with some paperwork requiring you to show up in court in three weeks.
Section 732(1) of the Criminal Code allows an offender to serve an intermittent sentence if the sentence imposed is 90 days or less and the Judge deems it appropriate. In determining if an intermittent sentence is appropriate, the court looks at the age and character of the offender, the nature of the offence and the circumstances surrounding its commission, and the availability of appropriate accommodation to ensure compliance with the sentence. The courts commonly impose intermittent sentences, to be served on weekends, when an offender is gainfully employed during the week.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain rights to anyone arrested, or detained, by police in Canada. These are particularly important to know when arrested for a drinking and driving offence. These rights include:
A new bill dealing with impaired driving was recently introduced. Bill C-73, Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act, in an attempt to change driving-related criminal offences. The bill proposes to change both how impaired driving charges are defended - making it more difficult to do so - and to increase minimum penalties.