Roadside checks to continue

  • Dec. 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

A BC Supreme Court’s ruling that the tougher drinking and driving rules were in part unconstitutional means the RCMP will no longer be able to give out stiff penalties while performing drunk driving checks this holiday season.The BC Supreme Court ruled last week that BC’s laws violate the Charter when a driver is screened and blows above .08 percent alcohol, because it gives police the power to impose criminal-like consequences with no opportunity to the motorist to challenge the decision.Under the previous Immediate Roadside Prohibition system, drivers who failed the screening test could have their immediately suspended for 90 days by the officers at the scene. The rules regarding drivers who have a blood alcohol percentage in the .05 to .08 range will not be much changed, as they may be determined at the provincial level. Offenses involving alcohol only enter the Federal jurisdiction once the blood alcohol reading is over .08.Corporal Ron Mach, of the Queen Charlotte RCMP said this change will not affect how many roadside checks the detachment performs, nor the length of time the checks take. “We’ll still be doing them” he said, “we just do what the courts tell us.” Cpl. Mach believes the deterrent still remains strong for drivers not to drive under the influence.The only difference will be that the RCMP will now return to the old system of having drivers who fail the roadside screening test, by having a blood alcohol reading of higher than .08, return to the police station for more tests before facing possible criminal charges.

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