While most of the headlines this summer have been about the legalization of marijuana, another piece of legislation has been just as groundbreaking and controversial. Canada’s new impaired driving laws will have more far-reaching consequences for drivers, marijuana users, and victims of auto accidents.
Here are a few things that you need to know:
1) Police will be able to randomly roadside test anyone
In the past, police officers had to have a reasonable suspicion of impairment in order to justify administering a breathalyzer test. Now, under Bill C-46, police will no longer be held to this standard. Instead, they will have the right to force any driver to undergo a breathalyzer at any time. Refusing to do so would carry harsh penalties.
2) Police can now administer roadside saliva tests
In addition to random breathalyzer tests, the police will now also be able to administer roadside saliva tests to anyone they reasonably believe is under the influence of THC, cocaine or methamphetamine. Currently, police officers don’t have roadside saliva tests, but upon approval from the National Research Council, such devices will hit the streets in a matter of months.
3) THC Blood Levels
Bill C-46 establishes the possibility of maximum THC blood levels. The exact threshold for these levels has not yet been set, however, according to the Government of Canada, proposed guidelines recommend:
- Between 2 ng and 5 ng of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood within two hours of driving would result in a fine of up to $1,000.
- Over 5 ng of THC per millilitre (ml) of blood within two hours of driving would result in either a criminal charge or fine.
- Combining THC with alcohol would result in either a fine or imprisonment.
First-time offenders would receive a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. Second time offenders would receive a minimum of 30 days in jail, and third time offenders would receive a minimum of 120 days in jail. Refusing to take the test as a first time offender would result in a $2,000 fine.
While many Canadians might applaud these new laws, civil liberty groups and many lawyers are more uneasy. They argue that empowering the police to randomly test any driver at any time represents a Charter violation and could result in minorities being targeted unfairly. Saliva tests, meanwhile, have not had widespread real-world use and could prove to be unreliable. Similarly, the correlation between blood THC levels and level of impairment is not as well studied as between alcohol levels and impairment.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
What does this change in legislation mean? It means that if you’re involved in an auto collision in any way it’s now more important than ever to contact a personal injury lawyer. At Zayouna Law, we offer a no-obligation consultation with experienced injury lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for more information or to set up an appointment.
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