CASE LAW - R v Dahlquist

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe accused was stopped at a roadblock about midnight by police checking for driving infractions. An officer immediately noted that his eyes were bloodshot and watery and he had a mild to moderate odour of liquor on his breath. She read the accused the approved screening device demand and he blew a “Warn”, which indicated his blood alcohol level was between 50mg% and 100mg%.

The officer issued a violation ticket under s.144(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Act, driving without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway, and also served him with a s.215 Motor Vehicle Act 24 hour driving prohibition. He surrendered his licence and his vehicle was towed away.

The accused pled not guilty in British Columbia Provincial Court. As a result of the trial, the judge concluded: "I find that it is a reasonable inference to draw that the Legislature has in effect legislated that the minimum standard of care of a reasonable driver using the highway is breached if the person drives while his or her ability to do so is affected by alcohol. It is sufficient evidence of being so affected if the driver is found to have at least 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of his or her blood. Currently, a violation ticket for driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highway carries a fine of $196 and 6 penalty points.

In view of this decision, it is hoped that officers will now issue this violation ticket with each 24 hour prohibition. This is another tool to use to convince drivers that drinking and driving will not be tolerated.

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