A lot of the time, when police go to court to testify against an offender accused of an impaired driving charge, they have strong evidence on their side. They will present breathalyzer records in court, testify as to the nature of the traffic stop, and let the judge know if the driver failed any field sobriety tests. Usually if the evidence is there, the conviction is simple, but sometimes something happens during the rest that will override the evidence and the driver will walk away with no charges.
That’s what happened when an Ontario judge dismissed the charges of impaired driving against a woman whose lawyer argued that she was unreasonably searched. She was stopped at almost 5 am after officers noted she was swerving all over the road near Toronto’s airport. The officers attending attempted to pull her over, and when they turned on their lights she hit the curb and stopped.
The officers noted a smell of alcohol when they spoke to her, and when they gave her a breathalyzer test she failed with more than double the legal limit of .08. She was handcuffed and, as is customary for police officers arresting someone, subject to a pat down search. At that point the female officer unzipped her sweater to check whether she has any weapons, and that’s when she found she wasn’t wearing anything but a bra underneath.
Because there were two male police officers present and in clear view, the offender’s lawyer argued that she was subject to an unreasonable search and therefore her constitutional rights were violated. The judge noted this and agreed, dismissing the breathalyzer evidence and allowing the offender to walk free of the charge.
This is one of those cases where the offender is breathing a sigh of relief because there were no long-lasting repercussions from her impaired driving charge , but maybe she’ll take it as a wake up call and never make the decision to drive drunk again.