Changes to Canada’s Drunk Driving Laws Will Give Police Sweeping Powers, Warn Legal Experts

Article by Bryan Labby, CBC News

Changes to Canada's drunk driving laws will give police sweeping powers, warn legal experts Opponents say proposed legislation 'begs' for a charter challenge

If Canada’s new impaired driving laws are passed police could show up on your doorstep — up to two hours after you arrive home — to demand a breath or saliva sample.

It’s one of the things that most concerns Calgary defence lawyer Dale Fedorchuk. who says the proposed law “begs” for a constitutional challenge.

Fedorchuk says officers would have the power to charge someone with impaired driving, even after they park their vehicle.

“I don’t understand the reasoning,” said Fedorchuk. “Why do we have to be concerned about people who are already home?”

The Trudeau government introduced sweeping changes last month that include, among other measures, mandatory roadside saliva and breath samples and much harsher penalties for some offences that could result in up to ten years in prison.

The changes, which were announced the same day the federal government unveiled its bill to legalize marijuana, are stirring a lot of debate among local lawyers, legal experts and victims groups who are lining up to either praise or pan the legislation.

“I’m a little puzzled, actually,” said Calgary law professor Lisa Silver.

Along with Fedorchuk, Silver also predicts the law will be challenged on constitutional grounds because police will no longer require “reasonable suspicion” before demanding a breath or saliva sample.

Read full article here.

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