One would think that our elected officials would understand the profound importance of the process of legal defense when it comes to application of the laws. In a mad rush of misguided nanny state prohibitionism, provincial legislatures have illegalized what is technically legal through lowering alcohol limits below the .08 standard that is set in criminal law. Not only does this move target a category of drivers that statistically do not cause many accidents, this move deprives people of the legal rights of defense that are provided in other criminal matters.
Due to driving and apparently the possession of money not being entrenched rights within Canada, provincial legislation allows people to be punished through the removal of their drivers licenses and through fines without any form of defence in a proper court. If a person relies on their vehicle for work they may find themselves unemployed. If a person relies on a vehicle to visit family they may find themselves isolated. If a person relies on money to pay the bills, they may face collectors if they can’t afford the fines levied without any means of defence before a judge.
The simplistic may say: “So what? If it saves one life…….”. Well that is nothing short of idiotic. Following that logic we have to ban motor vehicles altogether as it can be proven that it would save thousands of lives. Again as well, statistics show that the number of accidents caused by people with .05-.079 blood alcohol in their system are virtually insignificant. The vast majority of drunk driving accidents are caused by people who are well over the .08% limit. There really is a good reason why the law sets the limit there.
Other fools may say, well if we simply don’t drink at all we have nothing to fear. Well for one, drinking is legal and why should we not allow ourselves to responsibly indulge in it simply because our provincial politicians want to bypass legal defence procedures?
For another thing, as has been proven a person who is totally sober can have their personal rights completely violated and their lives turned upside down though this method of “trial by roadside”.
Abused at the side of the road and punished without trial, Margaret MacDonald had to get her blood tested on her own at a local hospital where it was proven that she was not drunk. This did not stop the punishment of course. Ms. MacDonald still had a three month driving suspension and $500 fine with no means to defend herself in court. Even if some time down the road it is determined that MacDonald was innocent, it is not like a driving suspension can be taken back.
How many other innocent people have been charged and punished but may not have had the foresight to go to a hospital to have an immediate blood test to try and prove their innocence? How many others have been convicted at the roadside but perhaps were given a faulty test or had other circumstances that showed they were indeed sober? Having no legal means to investigate or defend as we do in criminal law it is impossible to tell now.
Lets not beat around the bush people. These laws are being put into place by neo-prohibitionists who simply do not want to see people drinking in any circumstance and they are not afraid to violate individual rights in their means to end drinking. Stats show there was no need for these laws and common sense says that we need proper means of defense.
Think of it this way, you may be better off being totally plastered and blowing .12% rather than blowing .06% which is legal but punishable. At least the plastered drunkard has a means of defense in court.
The encroachment of personal rights and the bypassing of common sense systems of legal defense is not a small thing. We need to stand up for ourselves and toss out these nanny-staters. If we continue to tolerate their abuse of our rights, there is no end to what they will come up with.
You could be next.
Personal rights and freedoms aren’t taken away all at once. They are slowly removed in the name of the greater good and public saftey until one day you wake up and find out you have no rights left at all.
Those who think we have any legal rights are wrong. Look at the approach taken with the Alberta Body Armour Control Act. That’s a terrible piece of legislation. Essentially, it’s “If we don’t name your profession in this law, you are not allowed to wear armour.”
Also, our civil forfeiture rules have a huge potential for abuse.
And our our law in regards to utility right of ways on private property place corporate interests above the interests of the people of Alberta and the rights of individuals.
I agree with you 100% Cory Morgan. It is like placing a frog in boiling water. I know he will jump out. If you put him in the pot and slowly turn up the heat he will cook to death. This law will do nothing to keep drunks off the roads.