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Did you know that in Canada, our DUI laws can result in arrest and conviction for operating a motorized scooter while intoxicated?

How can this be what you ask? Well, the definition of a motor vehicle is any vehicle that is towed, propelled, or driven by any means other than muscular force.

These DUI laws are derived from the Ontario case R. v. Shanahan. The facts of this case are as follows. A man who was injured used a motorized scooter to go out one night. He ended up getting drunk. Police saw him crossing a street erratically. He was “arrested” and charged with driving while intoxicated.

An important fact in this case is that the defendant could move on his own, approximately one hundred to one hundred and fifty meters.

The Ontario Court hearing the case determined that a personal motorized device, such as a wheelchair, is a motor vehicle under the Penal Code. However, the defendant later filed an application under section 15 of the Charger arguing that his equality rights were violated.

The equality rights hearing addressed the following two issues.

1. Were the defendant’s section 15 equality rights violated?

JD Wake J. (the Honorable Judge) held that Canadian DUI laws (in this case Penal Code section 253) do not distinguish between people who rely on motorized wheelchairs and people who do not need motorized wheelchairs.

The defendant then argued that the DUI laws resulted in injustice (that is, inequality) to people without disabilities. This argument failed because the Court determined that the defendant moved without a motorized wheelchair.

Additionally, healthy people who walk in public while intoxicated can be arrested and convicted of mischief. This means that there is really no difference regarding DUI laws between disabled and nondisabled people. Both groups can be arrested for being drunk in public.

2. The Court then addressed whether the result offended the dignity of the accused under section 15 of the Charter.

The Court held that not for the following reasons:

“The argument in favor of the revocation of article 253 [of the Criminal Code] It appears that the dignity of a disabled person can only be maintained if they are granted the right to behave in a dignified manner. In my opinion, Article 15 of the Charter should not be used to support the result of such reversed reasoning. “

When all is said and done, a person who operates a motorized wheelchair can be convicted of DUI in Canada.

Considerations the following 3 points / questions:

This specific case (R. v. Shanahan) involved someone who was not totally disabled. Therefore, the result could be different if a person was 100 percent disabled.

Question: Can’t people with pain reliever use motorized wheelchairs outside the home? I just ask this question, I don’t know the answer.

Can a person be arrested for DUI simply for sitting in a stationary personal motorized device, such as a wheelchair?

DUI laws in Canada state that a person in the driver’s seat of a car or truck while drunk can be found guilty under our DUI laws. I have not read a case that addresses this problem, but it seems possible to be standing in a restaurant in a motorized wheelchair, for example, while drunk is violating Canadian DUI laws.

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