SafeRoads v. C.B.
SafeRoads v. C.B.
(Alberta SafeRoads - Immediate Roadside Sanctions/IRS). As of December 2020 Alberta police seldom charge the criminal offence of impaired driving (and related offences); preferring rather to sanction motorists using an Administrative model. Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) is an administrative system for dealing with impaired drivers that permits police to effectively act in the first instance as judge, jury and executioner. In other words, police are empowered to roadside sanction any motorists when they have reasonable grounds to believe an impaired driving offence has been committed.
Since a Notice of Administrative Penalty (NAP) is not a Criminal Code offence, the Government is able to game the system in its favour. To that end, for the most part, the Government has tilted the playing field to the extent that motorists no longer have nearly the same procedural, evidentiary, Constitutional or adjudicative protections.
In CB's the case, the primary issue concerned whether CB unequivocally refused to provide a breath sample. In this case, CB got into an argument with the driver, who stopped the vehicle, exited an walked away during the argument. CB slid across the seat to close the window to the vehicle. CB expected the driver to return after cooling off. The police arrived the moment CB had slid over to the driver's seat. When they made the breath demand, CB said words to the effect, but I am not the driver and "I wasn't driving". For obvious reasons, the driver never returned, thus leaving CB to be dealt with by police.
The officer did not give CB a reasonable opportunity to comply with the request for a breath sample. Rather than listening to CB's statement, the officer ignored information that would have displaced the reasonable suspicion that CB was operating or had care or control over the motor vehicle.
The investigating officer failed to include detailed notes about what transpired, but did refer to body worn camera footage (BWC) as evidence. The BWC was not provided to SafeRoads. In this case, since the BWC was referenced by the officer and since the police did not provide detailed particulars, the adjudicator fairly concluded that the camera footage was both relevant and necessary to the case.
CB's roadside sanctions were cancelled.
The lawyers in Alberta who handle Roadside Sanctions cases tend to focus much of their practice in this area of law. This is so because the arguments in support of cancellation of roadside sanctions can be technical and often require an experienced roadside sanctions lawyer. David Chow routinely successfully defends roadside sanctions cases. There are a variety of approaches to defending a Notice of Administrative Penalty. David Chow tends to make detailed oral arguments, supported by affidavit evidence.