Impaired Driving – Real and Imagined

Posted on January 19th, 2011 by Centennial Law in Impaired Driving

In some circles, it is controversial to say that lawyers actually care about their clients.  In fact, however, most do.  More importantly, for purposes of this article, lawyers as a profession care about and strive to protect civil liberties – the freedoms which all of us enjoy.  Lord Acton’s famous saying "power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is never very far from a lawyer’s mind.  Lawyers value the “rule of law” as opposed to rule by those in power.


Leaving aside the odd anarchist here and there, most would say that government is necessary.  Most lawyers would say that government, while necessary, must be controlled - and that laws serve to control government.  We have a system where the powers associated with government are separated:  Parliament makes the laws and the police enforce them – but the police, traditionally, are not our judges, rather they arrest, ask Crown counsel to approve charges and then Crown counsel must prove the guilt of the accused “beyond a reasonable doubt” to the satisfaction of a judge or jury.


We entrust our police officers with tremendous powers and most of them exercise those powers with the discretion and care which we expect of them.  Unfortunately, however, they are human – there are bad cops just as there are bad lawyers and bad teachers and ….  That is where the courts come in.  Traditionally, in our system, it has not been enough for a police officer to say that a crime has been committed; the offence must be proven in open court.


The new impaired driving laws, of course, have added the role of judge and jury to the powers traditionally enjoyed by the police.  Upon the word of a police officer, your driver’s licence and vehicle can be taken away from you – whether your impairment is real or exists only in the officer’s imagination.  Some lawyers will tell you that this is the thin edge of the wedge in our transformation towards a police state.



Article provided by Centennial Law Corp.

The specific facts of any real life situation can have many unforeseen legal implications. As a result, please note that the general information found in the above article should not be treated as legal advice.