London, Ont. law firm to challenge Canada’s updated drinking and driving laws

A London law firm is challenging recent changes to the country’s drinking and driving laws.

In mid-December, the government ratified new legislation that, in part, gave police the authority to demand breathalyzer tests from any driver they pull over.

Millars Law announced on April 10 that it has been retained to fight the constitutionality of the new law in a case that could potentially lead to a Charter challenge.

The challenge stems from an incident in Sarnia, in which lawyer Nick Cake says a driver was pulled over by OPP for a “peeling” licence plate just days after the new law came into effect.

“The officer explains to the driver the new laws, has the approved screening device with him at the time, so without any reasonable suspicion at all, gets the driver to blow. There’s a ‘fail’ on the approved screening device and subsequent charges for impaired operation.”

Cake stresses that if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that there’s alcohol in the driver’s body, they should be put through the proper procedures — but says that wasn’t the case here.

“You have to at least have some suspicion that something is going wrong before you can take a citizen and demand that they produce evidence against themselves,” he explained.

“We’re not promoting impaired driving; we’re promoting proper police action and proper state interference with our civil liberties.”

Cake says the process is only just beginning. If he and his client were to lose the initial trial, he says they would appeal and he imagines that if they are successful, the Crown Attorney’s office would also appeal.


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