When people are stopped for impaired driving, they often try to evade arrest. The usual way is to concentrate hard and act sober. It doesn’t work too often, and even when it does, there’s the police breathalyzer to back up the officer’s suspicions.
Recently a driver in Québec refused to accept the inevitable. The man in question had the misfortune to cut off a Sûreté du Québec patrol car while leaving the parking lot of a bar. When confronted with a breathalyzer, the 29-year-old man launched himself down the road and jumped into the Chaudière river, which meanders through Scott.
There’s a reason that the young man was afraid. Failing a breathalyzer test in Québec means immediate roadside suspension, and possible vehicle seizure for 30 days or more. Refusing a breathalyzer test (one might call jumping into a river a type of refusal) automatically results in penalties as well.
Under Section 254 of the Criminal Code of Canada, “Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand [for a breathalyzer test].” Insisting that you are not drunk is not a valid excuse. An attorney can advise you on what might be valid grounds to avoid breathalyzer testing under the Act.
Remember, too, that a breath test is not the only way that a peace officer determines if a driver is impaired; it is just one of them. All that matters is that you are judged to be impaired by alcohol, even if you are not over the .08 BAC limit.
The driver in question got away from the arresting officers, but was spotted later walking along Route President Kennedy in wet clothes, and he was swiftly apprehended. The attempt at evasion will no doubt add to the charges against him.
The moral: if you drink, don’t dive.