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B.C. drivers’ penalties overturned in impaired law challenge

Victoria Police set up an impaired-driving checkstop on Yates Street downtown.

Chad Hipolito/The Globe and Mail

More than 1,100 B.C. drivers who were caught up in tougher drunk driving rules before part of the law was found unconstitutional will have their penalties overturned.

The provincial Justice Ministry confirms at least 1,137 drivers who were required to attend driver education programs and install ignition-lock systems face the penalties.

But ministry officials say the government is still deciding if it will issue refunds to some of the drivers who paid more than $2,600 to take the course and install the ignition locks.

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Justice Minister Shirley Bond said last month the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles was reviewing the roadside prohibitions issued during a three-week period in November 2011 just before the B.C. Supreme Court struck down part of the drunk driving law.

Vancouver lawyer Paul Doroshenko says he has filed legal challenges over the driver penalty program, arguing it appeared to be mandatory despite some drivers having perfect driving records prior to the roadside prohibition.

Mr. Doroshenko says he's now considering launching legal test cases that could challenge the 35,000 penalties issued to B.C. drivers since the province introduced its new impaired laws in September 2010.

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