When can the police legally measure the alcohol in my blood?
One or both of these two basic situations must apply.
- The police have reasonable and probable grounds to believe that, anytime in the previous three hours, you drove a vehicle (a) when you were impaired by alcohol or drugs or (b) when you had more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per one hundred millilitres of your blood.
- You have care or control of a vehicle, and the police reasonably suspect your body contains alcohol.
A lawyer can advise you whether one or both of those situations apply to you.
Even if my car is not moving, can police have my blood alcohol measured?
They can but only if two things are true: (1) they have the right to take samples of your breath or blood and (2) you were in care and control of your vehicle.
What is care and control?
In criminal law, care and control means care and control of a vehicle. More specifically, you have the ability to set the vehicle in motion.
Does care and control only apply to vehicles that are moving?
No. In some cases, the courts find people to have had care and control of parked vehicles because they were in the drivers’ seats. That is, in such cases, the courts find that the driver had the ability to set the vehicle in motion. If you are unsure if you had care and control, consult a lawyer.
What if I try to sleep off my drinking in my truck or just stay outside my vehicle while drinking or after drinking – I’m not in care and control, right?
Not necessarily. In many cases, Alberta courts find that sleeping in a vehicle or just being near a parked vehicle are being in care and control. That is, the court finds that the driver could have set the vehicle in motion – the court may also be concerned with a risk that the driver could have put the vehicle in motion on purpose or by accident and could have become a danger to the public. If you are unsure if you had care and control, consult a lawyer.
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