“Canada’s New Drunk Driving Law Will Make You Thankful for the 4th Amendment”

“Under the revised law, known as C-46, which went into effect in December, police can stop any driver, anywhere, for any reason and demand their sample. Furthermore, you could be cited even if you haven’t driven a car in two hours” because police are given the right to run tests on persons who have recently driven. One strange implication: if you drive to a restaurant and have enough to drink there to cross the blood-alcohol threshold, police can write you up even if you intended to rely on your sober spouse as the one to drive home. [Jon Miltimore, FEE; Maham Abedi, Global News/MSN; earlier]

But see: Richard in comments below says the law is broad but not quite as broad as described above: the original stop must be for some lawful reason, and the law includes an exception that would mostly (though not invariably) preclude liability in the restaurant example.

5 Comments

  • Sounds like a new way to extract money from the employed by a government that doesn’t want to face the political backlash of increasing taxes.

    • As a Canadian, I feel compelled to reply to your remark and to say that your comment is both glib and insulting to our elected officials, and is also 100% true.

  • And of course, no one would ever phone in a tip to get someone harassed.

  • Not quite as broad as suggested. They can test anyone they have lawfully stopped, so there has to be a legal basis for the stop. As to testing at a restaurant, the level within two hours offense has an exception where the person tested had consumed alcohol after he stopped driving, did not have a reasonable expectation that he would be tested, and the post driving consumption was consistent with the test results. This exception would apply in the restaurant situation, unless there had been an accident or other incident on the way there. Still very broad, but not quite that broad.

  • One strange implication: if you drive to a restaurant and have enough to drink there to cross the blood-alcohol threshold, police can write you up even if you intended to rely on your sober spouse as the one to drive home.

    Presuming that Canadian law observes the corpus delicti rule, there is more than one strange implication: how do they prove that a crime, any crime, even occurred prior to the time of the observed intoxication?

    Canada appears ready to arrest and prosecute people for crimes that the state speculates the arrestee might commit in the future, or for crimes that have not been committed at all, by anyone. Maybe Canada has tossed out the corpus delicti rule.

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