A Montreal area man is thanking his lucky stars that he decided to contest his infraction for driving while under the influence of Cannabis. It’s a serious offence and if convicted a driver would lose their license for a year, pay a fine of $1500 and receive a criminal record just like if he had been under the influence of alcohol.
In 2013 the defendant was driving in the city of Montreal Borough of St-Laurent when he was intercepted for a road infraction. As the officer approached the vehicle she detected the smell of cannabis and noticed two other passengers in the vehicle. She instructed the driver to turn off the engine, exit and close the door in order to perform a preliminary impaired driving test on the spot. He exited but forgot to turn off the vehicle and forgot to close the door. The driver also moved somewhat erratically and had bloodshot eyes which indicated he was potentially driving under the influence.
One thing to note here is that not every police officer is trained to evaluate an impaired driver on drugs but in this case the officer was properly trained for this procedure. The driver failed preliminary tests of walking in a straight line and touching his nose with his finger. He was arrested and subsequently brought to the police station for further evaluation.
At the police station a further array of tests is required before criminal charges can be filed against a driver. These tests include, walking in a straight line, touching your nose with your finger, standing straight with your head back and counting to 30 seconds in the same timeframe, three blood pressure tests, temperature, shining a light into the pupil of the eye and finally a urine test. The man failed the tests and was finally charged of driving under the influence of drugs.
One would think this is a slam dunk case but the man decided to call Ticket911.ca to see what they thought. After hearing the details Lawyer Bernard Levy-Soussan saw some holes in the prosecution’s case.
“Using the art of cross examination we were able to call into question the credibility of the officer’s testimony as well as uncover factual errors during the testing procedure” Levy-Soussan told MontrealRacing.com
Three of the tests results that the defendant failed were highly questionable. The first was the urine test. THC can be present in the urine for up to several weeks after having smoked cannabis. That means it cannot be used alone as an indication that the driver recently used the substance.
The second the test where the subject must tilt their head back and count to what they think is 30 seconds within a timeframe 25-35 seconds was also suspect. The defendant completed his count in 36 seconds but Levy-Soussan demonstrated that the officer may have added a second to the test because she didn’t stop the timer at the correct time. Furthermore this test is one that could be failed by anyone who may not have a sharp sense of time to begin with.
The third test was where the defendant has to take ten steps in a straight line and he ended up taking eleven. The defense argued that the 11th step was actually one he took in order to turn around and so he actually should have passed this test.
Coss examination is where a good defense lawyer can really do damage to the prosecution’s case. In this instance, Levy-Soussan was able to get the officer to contradict facts in her written report on more than one instance, calling into question her credibility and the reliability of her testimony.
After taking all these facts into account, the judge ended acquitting the defendant on the charge laid against him at the trial earlier this year, ending the nearly three-year ordeal for the defendant.
You can obtain a free consultation after a DUI arrest from Ticket911.ca by calling 1-855-444-4911.