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Police Forum Police Head Mod: Skidmark
Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 07-19-2010, 01:05 PM   #1
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Open alcohol and reasonable cause

Say I'm at the beach, and a cop catches me with an open beer. Is that reasonable cause for them to search my bags for alcohol?

Makes me think about the case where the officer smelled marijuana, and decided that was reasonable cause to search the car. Then a court decided later that it was not reasonable cause.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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There's a differance between SMELLING beer and SEEING beer.

Seeing the beer in your hand he's caught you in the process of committing a crime. As I understand it that is grounds for a search of your person.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:15 PM   #3
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if your going to bring alcohol to the beach dont be surprised when you get caught and get a fine... if your going to drink anyways then just put it in different bottles or something
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:48 PM   #4
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if one of the officers on this forum can correct me,

if you were seen drinking in public, the police can search you with probably cause.

If you were in a car and they want to search because they smelled weed, then they will need a warrant ( I think it's because a car is private property)

I remember a couple years back the canadian border guards caught some guy with 20 kgs of coke hidden in a minivan, and then had the case thrown out because they searched without a warrant.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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^ I was caught on the beach (Jericho) once with a beer by a cop on an ATV. A buddy and I were just sitting on a log and chilling. My buddy happened to be drinking a Coke.

The cop asked me to dump my beer (which I did), then asked to search our cooler. We let him. I think we had <5 beers left at that point as we were almost ready to leave anyways.

He told us that he could fine us for $150 for drinking in public, but since we weren't causing any trouble at all, he would let us go if we agreed not to open any more. We agreed and complied.

As he left, he also mentioned that next time we should change the containers to plastic cups so that they can't see what we're drinking.

We need more of this type of cop.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:42 PM   #6
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or put it in a coke bottle.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:58 PM   #7
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Or even better, use a turkey baster to inject vodka into a full watermelon. Put watermelon over night in the fridge and enjoy it at the beach.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:18 PM   #8
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or even better don't drink
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:39 PM   #9
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:49 AM   #10
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The fine is now $230. (its also a $230 ticket for being intoxicated in a public place, a separate ticket for those worthy of it) I will offer the dumping of booze, or the ticket. I haven't come across a single person who choses the ticket over the $10 in booze that they're dumping.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:03 AM   #11
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^ I was caught on the beach (Jericho) once with a beer by a cop on an ATV. A buddy and I were just sitting on a log and chilling. My buddy happened to be drinking a Coke.

The cop asked me to dump my beer (which I did), then asked to search our cooler. We let him. I think we had <5 beers left at that point as we were almost ready to leave anyways.

He told us that he could fine us for $150 for drinking in public, but since we weren't causing any trouble at all, he would let us go if we agreed not to open any more. We agreed and complied.

As he left, he also mentioned that next time we should change the containers to plastic cups so that they can't see what we're drinking.

We need more of this type of cop.
I haven't met the other type of cop, all that have stopped me in Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver have just asked to pour out the booze.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:55 PM   #12
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Are the officers allowed to make you break unopened bottles? If it's open, I understand, but if it was unopened and was being carried around in a plastic bag...? I remember having to smash the glass bottle open on the pavement in order to dump a new one...
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:51 PM   #13
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There is a difference of opinion that I've come across. Some people will say that its preventing the repetition of the offence to dispose of all available liquor because a large number of people will continue once the police have moved on. Some people say its not open, leave it that way and you'll save yourself from 2 tickets (one for the original offence and one for the second one).

In my experience, no one has not dumped their liquor, opened or not, in exchange for not getting hit with the $230 ticket. Especially after you've watched a whole group pass around a bottle to top up their cups, cause they can ALL get a ticket.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:41 PM   #14
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last year i was at the beach, we were walking on the beach drinking from gatorade bottles (we were drinking gatorade....) and we ran into some cops, they asked us what was in the bottle so we gladly gave it to them to see and smell....we walked back to our spot, the 2 cops had followed us, got up to us at our spot where several of our friends were, check inside all the coolers, and sure enough poured out all our beer...told us to leave the beach at once.


none of us were even drinking at the time....
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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last year i was at the beach, we were walking on the beach drinking from gatorade bottles (we were drinking gatorade....) and we ran into some cops, they asked us what was in the bottle so we gladly gave it to them to see and smell....we walked back to our spot, the 2 cops had followed us, got up to us at our spot where several of our friends were, check inside all the coolers, and sure enough poured out all our beer...told us to leave the beach at once.


none of us were even drinking at the time....
but u were gonna, why else would u have beer in ur cooler
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:17 PM   #16
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I was walking on Granville during the Winter Olympics with a friend of mine, just walking and a police officer asked to smell my can of energy drink. So I have it to him and he took a whiff. Now I know he's just doing his job kind of, but that's nasty, so I said keep it. He wasn't too impressed.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:34 PM   #17
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but u were gonna, why else would u have beer in ur cooler
yes we were going to, but we had absolutely no reason for them to go in there and check...just because were white males aged 20-30 that gives them the right to assume that we have beer in our coolers and to check??
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:43 AM   #18
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yes we were going to, but we had absolutely no reason for them to go in there and check...just because were white males aged 20-30 that gives them the right to assume that we have beer in our coolers and to check??
Did anyone of you consent? Or did any of you at any point tell the officers that they cannot search your stuff?
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:32 AM   #19
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I was walking on Granville during the Winter Olympics with a friend of mine, just walking and a police officer asked to smell my can of energy drink. So I have it to him and he took a whiff. Now I know he's just doing his job kind of, but that's nasty, so I said keep it. He wasn't too impressed.


lolll he actually took a sip

now he owes u can of energy drink
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:03 AM   #20
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you should have made him buy you another one...
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:52 PM   #21
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You do realize that "whiff" means smell, right?
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Old 07-21-2010, 03:15 PM   #22
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lolll he actually took a sip

now he owes u can of energy drink


Whiff as in put the lid portion near his runny nose (winter time) and smelled to see if alcohol was in it....he didn't take a sip...

That's gross.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:20 PM   #23
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Let's end the speculation and wrong info..Liquor Act says, among other things...


Right to search
67 (1) A peace officer who, on reasonable and probable grounds, believes that liquor is, anywhere or on anyone, unlawfully possessed or kept, or possessed or kept for unlawful purposes may, subject to subsection (2), enter or search, or both, for the liquor where the peace officer suspects it to be, and may seize and remove liquor found and the packages in which it is kept.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a peace officer may without a warrant

(a) search any person, and

(b) enter or search, or both, anywhere except a residence.

(3) A person commits an offence if the person

(a) obstructs or attempts to obstruct an entry or search by a peace officer under this section, or

(b) refuses or fails to admit immediately a peace officer demanding entry anywhere under this section.

Warrant to search
68 (1) A justice who is satisfied by information on oath in the prescribed form that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is in a residence liquor in respect of which an offence under section 33 (1) has been or is being committed may issue a warrant under his or her signature authorizing a person named in it or a peace officer to

(a) enter and search the residence for the liquor, and

(b) seize and remove liquor found and the packages in which it is kept.

(2) A search warrant issued under this section may be in the prescribed form.

Seizure of liquor unlawfully kept
69 (1) If a person or peace officer, in making or attempting to make a search under section 67 or 68 finds liquor that in his or her opinion is unlawfully possessed or kept, or possessed or kept for unlawful purposes, contrary to this Act or the regulations, he or she may immediately seize and remove

(a) the liquor and the packages in which it is kept, and

(b) books or papers found in his or her search under section 67 or 68 that, in the opinion of the person or peace officer, will provide evidence of an offence against this Act.

(2) On conviction of a person under section 33 or of the owner or person in possession of the land or the occupant or person in charge of the vehicle, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, canoe or conveyance for a contravention of this Act or the regulations, the liquor and the packages containing it are forfeited to the government
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:25 PM   #24
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thanks zulutango
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:45 PM   #25
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Here in Victoria, Thetis Lake is a very popular summer hangout... so naturally some people bring booze. Local bylaw enforcement officers are usually wandering around asking people to dump their liquor. I've never really noticed any serious public drunkenness, and there's usually just as many families as there are teenagers (especially on weekends).

Several times over the past few years, local RCMP have set up a road block entering the main parking lot and asked to search cars for alcohol. This search is mandatory for everyone, even a 60-year-old grandma coming into the park to walk their dog. If you refuse the search, then you will be denied entry to the park.

Now, I don't really have a problem with this, as I've never taken booze to the lake. I'm sure it's for the best, as cliff jumping and alcohol are a bad combo.

But, based on the info posted above, it sounds like this sort of search would be illegal... there's no reason to think that grandma has brought some vodka to the lake with her dog, is there? And can you really deny someone entrance to a public park if they don't allow for their car or bag to be searched?

If I recall correctly, a civil rights group challenged Victoria Police over their random bus searches on Canada Day, and won. Wouldn't this beach search be the same concept, but with even less probable cause?
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