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Roadside Offences: 

As we have written here, Dedman provided courts with a tool (the Waterfield test) to expand police powers in the area of roadside offences. The cases on this page highlight how police powers during roadside encounters grew after Dedman to include roadside sobriety tests (R v Gallant), roadside detention of vehicle passengers (R v Arkinstall) among many other powers. Click on the cases below for more information on the ruling:

= Roadside detention

= Roadside drug & alcohol testing

= Roadside document verification 

= Roadside safety check

= Emergency roadblock


A "roadside detention" refers to an occasion where an accused is detained by police after being pulled over in a vehicle. An occasion is categorized as roadside detention when the judge specifically considers a Section 9 Criminal Code violation or makes reference to the person being detained in some way, whether an actual physical detention occurs or not. This includes physical detention and psychological detention.

Incidences that include "roadside drug & alcohol testing" are those in which a police encounter occurs in or around a vehicle and the accused is asked to participate in any form of drug or alcohol testing.

This includes breathalyzer and behavioural testing as well as requests for the accused to proceed to

a police station for testing.

"Roadside document verification" refers to an occasion where in a police interaction that is occurring in or around a vehicle, the accused is asked to provide driver’s licence or vehicle documents

for verification. This also includes instances where the police state that the purpose for engaging

with the vehicle was document verification, whether or not that verification does subsequently

take place.

A "roadside safety check" refers to instances when the police interact with an individual in a vehicle

or on the roadside and their interaction with the person or vehicle is for the purposes of

ensuring the safety of the vehicle occupants.

"Emergency roadblocks" are used by police to  prevent the public from entering or

exiting an area that is normally a public thoroughfare. This may also involve restricting entrance or

exit based on participation in a roadside check or search.

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