Since British Columbia is a marijuana-friendly province, new regulations and a 90-day ban were introduced in February to dissuade people from using marijuana while driving. When marijuana becomes legal nation-wide later this year, the British Columbia government plans to have retail stores set up for the sale of only marijuana—no other product will be allowed to be sold alongside it.
Law enforcement training will be increased to better recognize the signs of marijuana impairment, and new tests are being developed, such as saliva screening. Measuring impairment is a challenge for law enforcement because the presence of drugs can remain in a person’s system for a long time depending on various factors, such as:
- how long a person has used the drug
- how often a person has used the drug
- how much body fat a person has
Smoking marijuana will be allowed in public just as tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted; however, it won’t be allowed in areas with children, such as parks and playgrounds.
Who Can and Cannot Have Marijuana
The British Columbia government has set the minimum age limit for marijuana possession at 19, allowing individuals to possess a maximum of 30 grams of non-medical marijuana in a public area. Even if individuals are allowed to possess marijuana, they cannot have access to it in a vehicle, whether they are the driver or passenger. There are three ways in which you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI):
- By refusing to obey the officer when they ask you for a breathalyzer test or to draw blood
- By operating a vehicle while impaired by a drug or alcohol
- By having more than the legal amount of alcohol in your blood
In British Columbia, you will face jail time when you have been convicted a second time or more for DUI. A second offence has a minimum of 30 days in jail while a third offence has a minimum of 120 days. Depending on your situation and your actions, it’s possible to be charged with multiple offences.
Other consequences of being charged with DUI include paying a high fine and even having an ignition interlock. The latter consequence involves having a breathalyzer installed in your car that will allow you to activate the car if you provide an alcohol-free breath sample. It’s possible to be enrolled in ignition interlock if you have had two or more 90-day suspensions over the last five years.
If you find yourself or a loved one facing DUI charges, you will need an experienced criminal defence lawyer, like those at Sicotte and Sandhu, to inform you of your available defenses, thoroughly review your case and guide you through the process for the best result. Contact us in Surrey or Peace River today.