Alberta mandatory alcohol screening demand- failure to comply – charges withdrawn

Prosecution: failure to comply with Alberta mandatory alcohol screening

Result: Withdrawn

Regina v. x.x. – July 2019

Lawyer: Sean Fagan

Charge: 320.15 of the Criminal Code of Canada

In this case, the police arrived on scene to a vehicle that was high centred on a snow bank, with X.X. in the driver’s seat.  Another vehicle was attempting to pull the vehicle off of the snow bank.  The police attended to the driver’s side window of X.X.’s vehicle and immediately demanded that X.X. provide a sample of her breath into a roadside screening device pursuant to the new legal provisions of the mandatory alcohol screening demand.

A police officer does not need reasonable grounds, nor does the officer need reasonable suspicion to demand the driver of a vehicle to provide a sample of his/her breath. The demand is completely random, and the officers do not need to justify the reasons for making the demand and seizure, as they did in the past.  

This makes these cases much more difficult to defend.  In this case, X.X. did not know of the recent changes to the law, and did not believe that she was required to provide a sample of her breath.  Unfortunately for X.X., ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Failure to comply with the mandatory alcohol screening demand without an excuse is a criminal offence.   

X.X. found herself charged with failure to comply with the police officer’s demand, had her license revoked, and was now at risk of receiving a criminal record and a further driving suspension.  X.X. retained defence lawyer Sean Fagan who is experienced in successfully defending impaired driving charges under the past and present legislation. Sean Fagan was successful at securing the withdrawal of the charge, and spared X.X. the imposition of a criminal conviction and further driving suspension.