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Impaired Driving

The criminal offence of impaired driving is often referred to as “driving under the influence” or “DUI”.  Specific offences associated to impaired driving are a charge of driving with a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.80, impaired driving, and refusing to provide a breath sample.

The consequences of a conviction are serious and the penalties continue to increase.  As of April, 2010, you will lose your driver's licence for at least one year, have a criminal record, and be fined a minimum of $1,000.00 plus a $150.00 victim fine surcharge.  In addition, the B.C. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will require you to complete the Responsible Drivers Program before reissuing your licence.  This costs $880.00.  Then, for your first year of driving after your licence has been reinstated, you will have to drive with an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) in the vehicle.  This costs about $1,500.00 to instal and use for one year.  Finally, you will be required to pay the Driver Risk Premium for three consecutive years.  For a first, criminal code driving offence, this is $905.00 per year.  If the incident involves an accident, your insurance will not likely cover any vehicle damage or personal injury claims.  In addition, penalties increase and there are minimum jail sentences if you already have a conviction for an impaired driving offence on your record.   Further, penalties will likely increase if anyone has been injured as a result of driving while impaired.

90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition – Important! You only have 7 days to challenge this prohibition.
In almost all cases in which you are accused of having blown over the legal limit (.08) or failed/refused to provide a breath sample, the police will serve you with a 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (“ADP”). This sanction represents a completely separate process from any criminal charges, and it is handled through the office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.  If you do not challenge this prohibition in any way, then you will have 21 days in which to drive before the prohibition begins.  The process to review, or challenge, this prohibition is simple to commence and, since you only have seven days in which to request a review, you must deal with this quickly.  You can do so at any Motor Vehicle Branch (above McDonalds in Whistler).  For a better understanding of the ADP, you may call us for an explanation.

Important news: The Provincial regulatory laws surrounding impaired driving are about to change dramatically. 
Please see a copy of the news release of April 27, 2010 below.


What You Should Do

If you are charged with impaired driving, do not plead guilty until you have spoken with a lawyer.  You should never even discuss with the police any of the details around how much or how little you had to drink without first consulting with your lawyer. 

If you have been stopped by the police and they ask to blow into a roadside screening device, you are obligated by law to provide a sample of your breath unless you have a lawful excuse.  As well, you are not entitled to speak with a lawyer before doing so.  If you fail this roadside test, you will probably be taken to the police station to blow into the more formal breathalyser machine and you will be asked to provide two samples of your breath.  You have the right to speak with a lawyer of your choice prior to providingsamples of your breath.  However, if your lawyer is not available within a reasonable time, you may be required to speak to a different lawyer and/or provide samples without speaking to the lawyer of your choice.  It is a criminal offence to refuse or fail to provide samples of your breath without a lawful excuse and, thus, we always recommend speaking to a lawyer before making this critical decision.
 
In addition, when you were pulled over, the police may have requested that you perform some sobriety tests such as walking in a straight line or balancing while leaning back.  The police can only conduct such tests if you consent. If in doubt, ask to speak with a lawyer.

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Why Choose Double Diamond Law

Experience – We have experience handling claims involving a wide variety of injuries and, with a Masters in Biomechanics, Greg Diamond has an in depth understanding of the physiology of injuries.  If you are injured in an accident, we will ensure that your rights are protected and you receive all the benefits you deserve.  Our focus is on helping you recover from your injuries and be compensated fully for pain and suffering, costs related to your car, medical care, psychological suffering, lost income and other losses and expenses.   

Services Tailored to You - We take the time to understand all the details of your case and treat you with utmost dignity, respect and empathy during the difficult time after an accident.  We welcome all of your questions.  We will give you valuable, tailored advice to help you preserve evidence, obtain appropriate care, protect your rights and facilitate your recovery.

Fees Only If You Collect - We offer free initial consultations on all personal injury claims. We also offer contingency fee agreements for most cases so that no fee is charged for our services until after your case is resolved and only if you collect an award for damages and compensation.
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NEWS: April 27, 2010
B.C.’S IMPAIRED DRIVING LAW TO CHANGE

Major amendments introduced today to impaired driving sections of the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) will ensure impaired drivers caught in B.C. face instant loss of their driving privileges and impoundment of their vehicles. The new measures are better focused on deterring everyone – from the driver caught once with blood-alcohol content (BAC) in the “warn” range, to habitual impaired drivers.

Immediate, Severe Penalties
Penalties for all impaired drivers will increase. For example, a driver who provides a breath sample in the “fail” range on a roadside screening device (above 0.08 per cent BAC) will face:

  • An immediate, 90-day driving ban and a $500 administrative penalty.  Currently, a driver who receives a 90-day ban may still drive for three weeks before that ban is in effect, and no administrative penalty applies.
  • A driver’s licence reinstatement fee of $250 – up from the current $100.
  • A bill of about $700 for towing and 30 days of impoundment. Currently, drivers may get their vehicle back the day after they are caught.
  • Mandatory participation in the existing Responsible Driver Program, which costs participants $880, and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device for one year, which currently costs $1,420.
  • Thus, one “fail” on a roadside screening device will cost a driver about $3,750 before they can legally operate a vehicle again, following any related suspension.
  • The driver may also face an impaired driving charge under the Criminal Code of Canada.

A driver who provides a breath sample in the “warn” range on a roadside screening device (between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent BAC) for the first time in a five-year period will face:

  • A three-day driving ban and a $200 administrative penalty. (Note: these will rise to a seven-day ban and $300 penalty for a second “warn” reading within five years, and a 30-day ban and $400 penalty for a third “warn” reading within five years.) Currently, a 24-hour driving ban is common for a “warn.”
  • A driver’s licence reinstatement fee of $250. This is a new cost for this driver, as the current reinstatement fee of $100 only applies to driving bans longer than 24 hours.
  • The possibility of three days of vehicle impoundment, which will cost about $150.
  • Thus, a driver’s first “warn” will cost about $600 once the new laws are in effect.

Improved Enforcement
Police will have more certain and effective alternatives than the current processes involved in issuing any administrative penalty more serious than a 24-hour driving prohibition. Currently, when a driver’s breath sample registers a “warn,” officers can issue only a 24-hour ban at the roadside, regardless of how many times a driver has been caught in that range. With the changes, officers will be able to revoke driving privileges immediately and for longer periods, with concurrent vehicle impoundment.

Focusing charges on impaired drivers with a previous conviction or ban for impaired driving, or who cause serious harm or death, will also support more effective enforcement. It takes more than four days of a police officer’s time, on average, to gather evidence, prepare reports for Crown counsel and appear in court to support an impaired driving charge.

A Fair, Comprehensive Review Process

Drivers who receive a roadside prohibition will continue to have the opportunity to have the prohibition reviewed by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
To seek a review, a driver will need to file an application within seven days of a prohibition. The superintendent will then consider all available information – including from police, the driver and Crown counsel – and complete the review within 21 days. The prohibition will remain in effect during this review.
Review fees are doubling to $100 for a written review and $200 for an oral review to help offset more of the costs currently covered by taxpayers.
Fairness for Impound Operators

The impoundment provisions in the impaired driving amendments will depend on partnerships with private towing and impound operators. To facilitate this, other changes to the MVA will streamline B.C.’s vehicle impoundment program to ensure towing and impound operators are fairly compensated and better able to process more vehicles. Currently, drivers frequently abandon low-value vehicles that have been impounded, incurring unpaid storage, processing and scrapping costs for impound operators.