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Do you agree with the B.C. Supreme Court's ruling on drunk driving?

Categories: Canada

breathalyzer-test-584.jpgOpen bottles of alcohol found in a motorist's car sit on the vehicle as RCMP Cnst. Kim True conducts a breathalyzer test on the driver during a roadside check in Surrey, B.C., just before midnight on Friday September 24, 2010. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Police have too much power to search and seize when it comes to drunk drivers and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a B.C. judge ruled Wednesday.

In his decision, Justice J.S. Sigurdson wrote that the current law gives roadside police unreasonable powers of search and seizure over drivers whose blood-alcohol level is 0.08 per cent or higher. That can result in criminal-like consequences, without a proper appeal mechanism, for motorists.

The court upheld, however, laws targeting drivers with a blood alcohol content over 0.05 per cent, with the reasoning that such measures help to promote highway safety.

B.C. has the harshest impaired driving laws in the country. They went into effect in September 2010, and include a 90-day driving ban and $500 fine for anyone who refuses a breathalyzer test or blows over 0.08 blood alcohol level.

Lawyers had argued the laws were unfair and unconstitutional.

Sigurdson challenged lawyers on both sides of the case to return with arguments about how to resolve the unconstitutionality. The court's final decision will have immediate implications for other provinces enacting similar legislation.

Do you agree with Justice Sigurdson's ruling on the B.C. drinking and driving law? Does it strike the right balance between road safety and personal rights? Let us know in the comments section below.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: POV

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