Earlier this month, an Alberta judge rejected a challenge to a provincial law that suspends the licences of drivers who are charged with being impaired.
Since 2012, drivers who blow over .08 have their vehicles impounded for three days and lose their licences until their cases are resolved in court.
The process can take months.
A group of motorists who faced impaired driving charges had argued the law violates the Charter of Rights because it presumes guilt and violates people’s rights by suspending their licences indefinitely.
Lawyer Nate Whitling, who is appealing the decision, believes the law encourages some drivers to plead guilty — even if they’re not — just to get their lives and their licences back.
“It’s one of those things that’s very difficult to prove, by way of evidence,” says Whitling.
“If someone pleads guilty, it’s kind of difficult to go back later and say well, it wasn’t really guilty, and it doesn’t tend to appear in the statistics that get produced by the government. People who plead guilty generally just want to get the case over with and get on with their life.”
The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear a challenge to British Columbia's impaired driving legislation in May.