Decriminalization of impaired driving a ‘road to tyranny’

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Decriminalization of impaired driving a ‘road to tyranny’

British Columbia’s effective decriminalization of impaired driving has not turned into the road-safety nirvana some assumed it would, Calgary criminal lawyer Greg Dunn tells

The province, wishing to reduce the costs of impaired-driving enforcement, devised a provincial administrative system in 2010 whereby individuals who were stopped for drunk driving would not be charged criminally, but administratively under provincial powers of licensing and use of roads, says Dunn, principal of Dunn & Associates Criminal Defence Lawyers, adding those provincial penalties were much easier to enforce.

“What they would do was, as soon as you were charged, they would take your licence away. In addition, they’d give you these fines, impound your vehicle and you’d pay an exorbitant amount to get it back out,” he says. “They said, 'Because we’re getting all this stuff administratively, we’re just not going to charge the people criminally.'”

Dunn says it may seem counter-intuitive that a criminal lawyer is saying not to decriminalize something, but there are a number of good reasons to support the argument.