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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Roadside Saliva Testing

With the passage of Bill C-46 in December of 2018, Parliament brought in these new laws where the police can use a roadside screening test.  What it is, it’s a saliva test essentially, and this detects whether there’s a drug in your system, for example, THC, methamphetamine, cocaine.

In order to make the demand for these tests what has to happen is the police officer has to reasonably suspect that you have a drug in your system.  That can be shown in many ways. Red eyes, tremors, you’re acting agitated, your speech pattern may not be good for example, and say you don’t have an odor of alcohol on your breath.  So all of those things would clearly give them a reasonable suspicion.

So Parliament’s declared this law.  They are still testing various devices.  They haven’t been declared by regulation yet but at some point they are going to roll these out and this is probably a good thing because there’s grounds, reasonable suspicion just like an alco test.  It may be difficult to challenge this new law so this is not so controversial like other laws that I’ve talked about, for example, where they can just randomly demand an alco test device with no odor of alcohol on your breath.  So it’ll be interesting when they roll these out and it seems like a useful tool that the police will have but there may be other ways and means of attacking this in court, for example, by suggesting that the officer didn’t have the reasonable suspicion.  That’s often a defence and I suspect, I know that there will be other defences that arise in these particular cases as well.

If a person fails that test once it’s rolled out what happens is the officer will then arrest them for drug impaired driving and make a demand for a drug evaluation test which is a very 12 step complicated series of tests and balance tests at the station.  They take drug, pulse, balance tests, following fingers tasks, etcetera and by drug recognition experts which can be challenged too. In the right case those will be challenged and won as well. So there you have it those, once they roll it out the new screening tests.  It will be interesting to see if we detect more impaired by drug cases in Canada and that of course is the new goal of this new egislation.

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