Drunk driving challenge at Supreme Court could challenge federal breathalizer rules

Sgt. Regan James holds a portable breathalizer tester



OTTAWA - The case of a Quebec woman who didn't fight her drinking and driving charges and has since paid her dues could challenge the federal government's breathalizer rules at the Supreme Court.

Canada's top court is expected to rule Friday on the case of Anic St-Onge Lamoureux, who was charged with drunk driving in 2008 after being administered a breathalizer test.

While she has since pleaded guilty and paid her fine, those representing her case say St-Onge Lamoureux didn't have a chance to fight the case because recent changes to the law presume guilt.

In 2008, the Conservatives introduced a law so those accused of drunk driving must prove the breathalizer was defective or that it was used improperly in such a way that the results can't be trusted.

Defence lawyer Julie Bolduc said that puts the burden on those charged to prove they're not guilty, which runs counter to the Charter of Rights that says everyone is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Because the case of St-Onge Lamoureux is closed, the high court ruling will not affect her case but it could affect thousands of others that were put on ice pending Friday's ruling.

- With files from Valerie Gonthier

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