Proceedings stayed on all charges -- : Impaired operation of a motor vehicle (“Impaired driving”), Operation of a motor vehicle while having a BAC of over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (“Over 80”)

It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving: if it has a motor on it, you can be charged with impaired driving or “over 80” if you’re operating it and the police have grounds to believe that your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol. This client was charged because the police believed that he was drunk while riding an e-bike (a scooter-like bike that can be peddled or propelled by a small electric motor). It made no difference whether the client knew that riding the bike was equivalent to driving a car under the drinking and driving laws of the Criminal Code of Canada.

 Every defence against drinking and driving charges is difficult, and this case was no exception. The evidence in these cases usually includes police witnesses who will state that a person appeared intoxicated by their driving and their behaviour, as well as readings from a breath analysis machine which has virtually been declared infallible under the Criminal Code.

Police conduct during a drinking and driving investigation also matters, because enforcing the Criminal Code is subordinate to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects citizens against unreasonable and arbitrary police actions. Tyler MacDonald exposed an illegal search by police during this investigation, which eventually led the Crown prosecutor to stay the proceedings against the client before the trial even started. The police had conducted an illegal strip-search of the client for no conceivable reason.

Strip searches are inherently demeaning and humiliating, and therefore can only be conducted in specific circumstances which are usually related to a search for evidence or making sure that a person isn’t concealing potential weapons. As Mr. MacDonald argued in the materials which were served on the Crown’s office ahead of the trial, there was no basis for the strip search in this case. The only way to avoid staining the reputation of the administration of justice with this illegal police action was to stop the criminal proceedings against the client. All of the charges against the client, including various further charges under the Highway Traffic Act, were stayed on the day of trial.