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The Latest in DUI Law

In December of 2018, the government of Canada introduced Bill C-46, which was an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to the new DUI legislation. One of the main changes that the government brought in is now roadside alcohol screening, this means that the police can administer a breathalyzer at the roadside without any grounds for doing so. Prior to Bill C-46 they needed what’s called a reasonable suspicion that somebody has alcohol in their body. This is a pretty low threshold, usually made out by odor of alcohol for example, so this new part of the legislation is really susceptible to a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge, particularly under Section 8, because it authorizes random searches. One of the other sections of the legislation that is a pretty big change is that the legal limit has actually been lowered so, before it was 80mg of alcohol in 100mL of blood, you had to have over that to be convicted. Now it is 80 or greater. It may seem like an insignificant change but breath readings are actually lowered because they are rounded down at the police station. This means that 89mg of alcohol is actually rounded down to 80. Prior to Bill C-46, you wouldn’t have been convicted because you’re not over 80. Now, however, you would be convicted.

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