From our neighbors to the north, a preview of things to come…
Cops Now Judge, Jury, Prosecutor
Vancouver, B.C. Sept. 24 — B.C.’s tough new drunk-driving laws are giving police too much power and are putting a serious chill on the restaurant business, critics say.
There’s also widespread confusion over what the average person can consume, and safely drive. But supporters of the new penalties rolled out this week, which are the toughest in Canada, say one drink at dinner is one too many.
Under the new rules, testing for a blood-alcohol reading of 0.08 and failing a roadside test means an immediate 90-day driving ban, along with a 30-day vehicle impoundment. Drivers may face a criminal charge, and up to $4,060 in penalties.
And being in the warning range of 0.05 to 0.079 means an immediate three-day driving ban, a $250 fine, $200 to get your licence back and a possible three-day vehicle impoundment — all for a first offence.
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, says everyone wants drunk drivers off the road — but handing police the sole power to impose fines, plus take away cars and licences without giving the driver a day in court, is dangerous.
"The police officer at the side of the road has become judge, jury and prosecutor," Eby said.
SFU criminologist Neil Boyd said on the one side, too many drunkdriving charges were being "evaded" in court by well-heeled citizens in B.C. — a problem the government can solve with new powers and penalties.
But "there has to be some recourse to the courts," he said. "There’s something a little awry with giving the police a rather extraordinary administrative power."…
By drunk driving charges being "evaded in court", I assume the criminologist meant defending yourself against charges — "a problem the government can solve with new powers and penalties". By turning the "trial" over to the cop.