Q&A - Can a Driver Deal with an IRP After the Fact?

Keys and DrinkA person that left a nightclub had one drink early in the evening and drank water rest of the night because they knew they were driving. This person spoke with many officers upon leaving, went for coffee and gas and saw another officer and spoke with him. He left, driving down the highway a little faster than he should have at approximately 2 am.

This person was pulled over for speeding, then asked if they had a drink and explained around 8 pm one beer and then water all night. Another officer that had spoken to the driver previously had pulled up to ask why he was pulled over and said he was a good polite kid. The officer in question said that it was his discretion.

The driver blew a warning,  and here's where I didn't understand, the officer suspended his license for 3 days.

The vehicle was stopped in the middle of the highway before the lights. The officer said "if you can find someone to come get you and your vehicle I won't impound it. The officer then proceeded to make this person drive over to a parking lot and wait until I arrived to get the vehicle.

I was still confused when the situation was explained to me. The officer said that it's a learning lesson, and it won't cost him much. That was not true as it's a great expense to get your license back. It also cost more because this person worked out of town and needed to get a motel.

I was confused to as how if this officer felt this person was impaired how could they let them drive anywhere, let alone continue to sit behind the wheel until I arrived? It was 2 am and this officer basically was stating he was being nice, even though he was extremely upset that it took me so long to arrive.

Last month I was sitting next to an RCMP officer and this scenario had come up. I was told this person who was pulled over should have disputed this due to the fact that the officer implied that the person was impaired by taking away the license for 3 days, however still made the person move the vehicle over and allowed the person to continue to sit behind the steering wheel with the keys still in their possession.

Today this suspension is affecting the opportunities for a new career, for everyone wants a clean driving record and a suspension is a big flag and it's on the driving abstract. Even though the officer was clear he wasn't charging this person.

Is there any recourse now?

Regardless of the conversations that may have taken place, this whole incident really starts from a traffic violation and subsequent test with an approved screening device at the roadside. A warn, signifying that the driver's blood alcohol concentration was between 60 and 100 mg% (.06 to .10) was the result of the analysis.

The action that the officer investigating chose to take was a 3 day Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP). This prohibition takes place when the officer delivers the paperwork to the driver. I retired from traffic policing before the IRP legislation was enacted so I have no personal experience with enforcing it. That said, back in the day I did issue a 24 hour prohibition and the accepted procedure was to direct the driver to remove their vehicle to the side of the road and complete the contact there.

There is a significant difference between being impaired and being drunk behind the wheel. The officer takes the circumstances into account and makes a reasonable decision at that point. Moving into a parking lot or off to the side of the road is not a complex task and may be carried out safely under direction.

It would not be grounds for review of the IRP.

The decision on whether to impound the vehicle or not in this case is left to the officer. If they believe that the driver will not continue driving, they may decide not to do the impound.

There are two avenues of review for the driver. At the side of the road, if they do not accept the results of the first breath test, they can demand a second test with a different instrument. If the IRP is issued following the second test, the driver can apply to RoadSafetyBC for a review. That review applicaton must be made within 7 days of being served the IRP documents.

These are the policies that apply to the review.

So, in short, it would appear that more than 7 days have passed and a review is no longer possible. You may wish to consult with a lawyer for confirmation.

Finally, the one drink and then water afterward. This may be a situation similar to what I describe in Beware the Morning After. We have no indication that this driver started with a zero blood alcohol level at the time of that one drink and the roadside test would indicate that either the one drink contained a lot of alcohol or the driver did not start at zero BAC.

Being a second hand story of events from a friend of the violator, I would conclude that the violator was indeed a very fortunate fella who got a very reasonable and discretionary outcome.  Had he not been speeding at the first incident, then he would not have drawn attention to himself which also suggests he was "impaired" because he was speeding.  It's called humility, one needs to take their lumps and learn from their mistakes and stop trying to make excuses for them.