SafeRoads v. M.C.
SafeRoads v. M.C.
(Alberta SafeRoads - Roadside Sanctions). When police use their powers to conduct an impaired driving investigation at roadside, it is important that they provide the motorist with a reasonable opportunity to comply with demands and to exercise rights. Since the inception of Alberta's roadside sanctions regime, this criminal defence lawyer has been concerned about the potential for abusive conduct by law enforcement. The case of M.C. highlights a concern that the administrative model lends itself to abuses by law enforcement. An obvious abuser relates to the casual manner in which police disclose information to SafeRoads. Other abuses relate to the treatment of the process for conducting a roadside appeal of a Notice of Administrative Penalty.
In MC's case, the motorist failed a first test on an approved screening device. Since MC had just finished a drink (the only one consumed), she had concerns about the accuracy of the test and as such, requested a second test (a roadside appeal). The officer gave MC one attempt to blow on a different approved screening device. The instrument registered "insufficient" air volume. MC then stated that she is ready to try again and took a deep breath. The officer told her that was her only chance and refused another opportunity. It is important to note that MC was compliant throughout the investigation and that there was no indication that she was not making a bona fide effort to provide a breath sample. In fact, the roadside appeal was at her request. It is also important to note that the operating Manuel for an Alco-Sensor FST defines "a test" as three attempts. In this case, the officer gave but one and then penalized MC.
The adjudicator properly cancelled MC's roadside sanctions on grounds that she had not been afforded a reasonable opportunity to blow.
David Chow is an experienced Calgary criminal lawyer and roadside sanctions lawyer. You only have 7 days to file a roadside sanctions dispute. The consequences of a Notice of Administrative Penalty may not be criminal in nature, but are serious nevertheless. Consider contacting a qualified impaired driving lawyer for advice on your roadside sanction.