* Names have been changed to protect client privacy.
253 (1) (a): Impaired operation of a motor vehicle.
253 (1) (b): Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood
4(1) of Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: Possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis (marijuana)
BACKGROUND: A police officer was called to an accident in North Grenville where he found Shannon sitting near a minivan which had crashed into a hydro pole. The officer smelled alcohol in the vehicle and conducted a breath test on the accused, which led to a reading of ‘F’ or fail. After Shannon was arrested and brought to the police detachment, another breath test also showed the accused to be over the legal blood alcohol limit.
Before the accused was released from the police station, police reported to have found a small amount of marijuana in her purse and told the accused that she would also be charged for possessing the marijuana.
GOALS: As a young driver, Shannon did not want to have her license suspended, and certainly wanted to avoid having a criminal record. When she hired me to represent her, we set a goal to have both of her charges dismissed or dropped.
STRATEGY: It was my belief that, when questioning and arresting Shannon, the police officer violated her rights under Sections 7, 8, 9, 10(a), 10(b), 11(d), and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There were a number of problems with the arrest which made it contrary to the Charter:
- There was not enough evidence regarding the times of the tests and arrest, to prove that the tests were conducted within the proper time frame.
- There was a lack of proof indicating that Shannon was actually the driver in control of the vehicle.
- Similarly, there was not enough proof indicating that the marijuana found within Shannon’s bag actually belonged to her, or that Shannon had knowledge of its presence there.
All the charges against Shannon were dismissed.