Big changes in DUI law
A series of court decisions beginning in the Summer of 2013 have made big changes to DUI law in BC. Although generally speaking, the courts are supportive of attempts to reduce the number of impaired drivers, significant concerns have been identified with the BC Government’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme.
IRPs, as they are commonly known, are the BC-only DUIs issued on the basis of a roadside breathalyzer test. The lawyers at our office have been at the forefront of challenges to these laws, primarily due to the unfairness of the scheme that we recognized early on. The IRP law was designed so no one would succeed on review. In other words, innocent or guilty, the tribunal was bent on upholding the prohibition.
For lawyers this was particularly frustrating. We know that innocent people are accused of wrongs all the time. We’ve seen the failings with the breathalyzers and the testing procedure, and we know that police officers make mistakes and lie. The IRP scheme was designed to be unfair. That’s what bothers us the most.
BC lawyers have been trying to force changes on the Government, and now we’re really getting traction. The courts are starting to recognize the pattern – that the tribunal is often not properly following the law or the rules that guide administrative tribunals. The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles tribunal allowed themselves to create their own evidence. The court put a stop to that. They allowed in unsworn police Report to Superintendent IRP reports. Again, the court said no way. They worked backward through the evidence to uphold IRPs on review. Not allowed, says our court.
From what we see, the attitudes and practices of the appeal tribunal at the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles have yet to change, but remedies are now being granted by our courts because the pattern is becoming apparent now that more IRP decisions are being appealed.
If you have an old IRP that you appealed to the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, and you lost at the hearing, you should look at appealing the decision. The big changes in DUI law over the last 6 months mean that hundreds of BC drivers can get the IRP removed from their driving record and get their money back if they now appeal their case to BC Supreme Court.
If you just received an IRP, particularly a 90-day IRP for blowing Fail or refusing to blow, do yourself a favour and give us a call right away. Our success rate is high, meaning that you have a better than ever chance of beating that IRP DUI if you get on it right away.