British Columbia

B.C. breathalyzer report not admissable, court rules

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that a government report on breathalyzers is inadmissible when reviewing a roadside ban.

Superintendent of Motor Vehicles says it's too early to comment on the ruling

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that a government report on breathalyzers is inadmissible when reviewing a roadside ban.

Earlier this year, a motorist challenged her driving ban, arguing that while she blew a fail on one breathalyzer, a second device's temperature was outside of its functional range when she blew into it.

An adjudicator upheld the driving prohibition, pointing to a government report that says even though the device can be inaccurate when it is outside of the ideal temperature range, it still works.

However, Justice Richard Goeppel ruled that not only is the report inadmissible according to the law, the device's manual clearly says that it can't operate if it is below 10 C or above 40 C.

Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Sam MacLeod says his office always expected challenges toB.C.'s tough approach to drunk drivers — but  says it's too early to comment directly on the court ruling.

MacLeod says his office received the ruling late yesterday and must study it before answering any questions, but legal experts are already suggesting the decision opens the door to more appeals.

Corrections

  • A previous photo attached to this Aug. 13 story depicted a device that was not referenced in the report/court case.
    Sep 13, 2013 2:25 PM PT