Legal loopholes are one way that lawyers can help someone charged with a repeat impaired driving offense from becoming a convicted repeat offender. Every province has its own set of loopholes that local lawmakers work steadily to close off when they are discovered, and Canadian impaired driving legislation also has a few of its own.
One loophole even has its own name: called the “Bolus Drinking” loophole, it’s something that impaired driving attorneys use if their client flees the scene of a drunk driving crash. If they are arrested after the crash they will argue that the client had consumed alcohol after they crashed, but they weren’t drunk at the time of the crash itself.
Without an arrest on scene or breathalyzer evidence, this loophole works to help repeat offenders get off without conviction. Thankfully, that may all be able to change because Parliament is moving in on this loophole by proposing a private member’s bill called Bill C-226. It’s already passed a second reading in the House of Commons, and it becomes law it will amend the Criminal Code of Canada.
In simple terms the new law would put the onus on the repeat offender by requiring him or her to provide proof, in detail and with witnesses, that the course of events happened the way they said they did. This is the reverse of what normally happens right now in a court of law, where the offender details their version of events and lawyers have to prove otherwise.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Bolus Drinking loophole is commonly used by people who drink and drive a lot. Whether it will soon become law is anyone’s guess, but if it does there will be a lot of impaired drivers who will lose the opportunity to access this type of get-out-of-jail free card.