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Drinking and driving ruling expected from B.C. Court of Appeal

03/03/2014 11:58 EST | Updated 05/03/2014 05:59 EDT
The B.C. Court of Appeal is set to rule this morning on the constitutionality of automatic penalties under B.C.'s drinking and driving law.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association maintains that automatic penalties under the drinking and driving law without a court process violate the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

When the law was first introduced by the provincial government in 2010, a driver who blew a "warn" or a "fail" on a roadside screening device faced automatic penalties.

They included a driving ban, seizure of the vehicle, and fines and fees for storage, towing, and getting the driver’s license returned.

In 2011, the B.C. Supreme Court found that the law was unconstitutional for drivers blowing a “fail” because there is no way for drivers to properly challenge the roadside breath test.

The government changed the law the following year requiring police to tell drivers they can ask for a second test on a different machine, and that they can ask for a review of the test through the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

But without provision for a court process, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association launched an appeal, arguing the law is still unconstitutional.

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