The Police have the right to stop your vehicle for a number of reasons even if you have done nothing wrong at all.
THE 3 WAYS A POLICE OFFICER CAN PULL YOU OVER
- The most obvious would be to issue the driver a ticket under the Highway Traffic Act, such as a speeding citation or driving without a valid licence.
- If a police officer witnesses you committing a crime, an example of this would be fleeing the scene of an accident, or a report that someone saw a gun in the vehicle.
- If the officer simply wants to check to ensure your vehicle is properly registered, that the window tint is legal, or to see if the driver has consumed any alcohol.
In any of the above situations, you MUST stop your vehicle by yielding to the right as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are asked to provide a copy of your licence or registration, you are legally obligated to comply with the request. In the event that you don’t have your licence or registration, and if you are asked, you must provide your full name, address, and date of birth.
If you have been asked whether or not you have consumed any alcohol, or how many alcohol drinks you’ve had, you are NOT REQUIRED to answer. However, be prepared to submit to a demand to provide a SAMPLE OF YOUR BREATH at the roadside.
SHOULD I BLOW?
This is a common question I am often asked. Let me first explain the law.
If an officer makes a VALID DEMAND for a sample of your breath into an APPROVED SCREENING DEVICE [ASD] at the roadside after you have been pulled over, YOU MUST COMPLY. At this stage, you ARE NOT ENTITTLED TO SPEAK WITH A LAWYER TO GET ADVICE. The ASD is a screening tool used by police to detect the presence of alcohol on your breath. It simply registers a PASS, WARN, or FAIL. The police don’t need to have any suspicion that you have been drinking, and there doesn’t need to be an odour of liquor on your breath, or any other evidence that may indicate that you have consumed alcohol. As long as the police officer has an ASD device with them in their police cruiser, they can lawfully demand you to blow into it.
REFUSAL/FAILURE TO PROVIDE A SAMPLE
If you REFUSE TO BLOW or FAIL to provide a breath sample into the ASD, you will be charged with and arrested for Refusal/Failure to provide a breath sample. The penalties for this offence are even greater than an IMPAIRED or over .08% driving charge.
WHAT IF I BLOW A WARNING?
If you have blown into the ASD and it detects a blood alcohol reading of equal or greater than .05% and under .08% you will be issued a WARNING.
- If you have never before received a warning, you will be issued an immediate 3 day driver’s licence suspension. The suspension will increase to 7 days if there is a passenger under the age of 16 in your vehicle at the time.
- If you receive a 2nd warning within 10 years, you will issued an immediate 15-day driver’s licence suspension;
- On your 3rd warning within 10 years, you will receive an immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension; and
- On your 4th or further warning within 10 years will result in an immediate 60-day driver’s licence suspension.
WHAT IF I BLOW OVER .08%?
IF you blow a FAIL on the ASD roadside screening device you will be arrested and brought to the police station. You will then be provided with an opportunity TO SPEAK WITH A LAWYER of your choosing for advice. This is when you will want to know IF YOU SHOULDBLOW? The answer is yes in most situations. If for example there has been a car accident, or there are serious injuries, the answer may be no, but it will depend on the specifics of each individual case.
Once you speak with a lawyer, or decline to speak with a lawyer, you will be asked to provide a sample of your breath into the BREATHYALYZER. This is a more accurate device that will provide an actual reading of your blood alcohol percent. This is the reading that is admissible in court, which the Prosecutor will rely on to prove the case against you (the ASD screening device result is not admissible in court). If you blow over .08% on the Breathalyzer, your licence will be immediately SUSPENDED FOR 3 MONTHS.
SHOULD I PLEAD GUILTY?
If you have been charged with Impaired driving, Refusal, or Over .08%, you will have to decide whether or not you want to contest the charges against you at trial, or plead guilty. Due to the technical nature of these offences, there are often defences available that if properly argued, may result in a finding of NOT GUILTY. You will want to speak with Mr. Wolson to have him carefully review your case, and advise you of the likelihood of success at a trial, or to achieve the most favourable outcome after a guilty plea.