There has been worry over Canada’s new impaired driving laws, which allow police to demand breath samples without having reasonable grounds to do so.
However, one criminal defence lawyer believes fears have been overblown, that the new laws are not that different.
Ari Goldkind told Roy Green on Saturday that if somebody reported a drunk driver, police always had the right to give a breathalyzer test on a person’s doorstep.
“There’s nothing to fear, the sky is not falling,” Goldkind said.
“If there is a tip … you’re driving erratically and somebody takes down your licence plate in a 911 call, police in the past and still now have every single right you can imagine to knock on your door (and) if you answer, demand that you blow for about three seconds into the machine.”
He continued, “Before, if you answered the door, they’d have to see some glassy eyes, maybe smell the booze in your breath. They don’t have to do that anymore.”
Goldkind said the public should be happy about the new law because it sends the message that impaired driving is being taken seriously.
“We will have far fewer abilities to pay a bunch of money to a lawyer like me to throw a bunch of technicalities at the wall in a courtroom and be acquitted even though you were two or three times over the legal limit,” he said.
“The lawyer would say … the police didn’t have suspicion, the police didn’t pull you over properly.”
Police will also have the ability to demand a breath sample up to two hours after a person has been driving.
Green pointed out to Goldkind the law could implicate sober drivers who start drinking at home after parking their vehicles. He went further to say the law could allow people to make trumped up reports to police out of spite.
Goldkind replied saying that would happen on extremely few occasions, calling them “unicorn-like.”
“O.K., Roy, you have a point. But a lawyer’s going to be able to get you off,” he said.
“Ari, I shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer for that. That’s just unfair,” Green said. “I shouldn’t be charged for something that’s not illegal. I drank at home, not in the car, not before I got into the car.”