The Supreme Court of Canada overturned a lower court ruling January 17, deciding the state can confiscate repeat drunk drivers' cars if they see fit to do so.
The ruling will help the Quebec government enact a plan to bump up the number of vehicle seizures in the province.
The decision overturns a lower Quebec court's decision to halt the Crown from forcing five-time convicted drunk driver Alphide Manning to forfeit his truck, explains the Canadian Press.
Manning recently pled guilty to two impaired driving charges from 2010, and was sentenced to 12 and five months for each. He was also stuck with a five-year ban on driving, though the court decided that could be knocked down to one year if he uses an ignition-interlock for the other four.
The Quebec court denied the Crown's request to seize the truck Manning was driving when he was arrested as an offence-related property. The $1,000 truck is Manning's only asset.
The trial judge in that case apparently agreed with Manning's lawyer's argument he needed the vehicle to get him and his partner to medical appointments, and that vehicle confiscation is unfair.
The Quebec Court of Appeal upheld that decision, but the Supreme Court felt those judges had glossed over Manning's four previous convictions, in 2009, 1989, 1982 and 1975.
"The trial judge erroneously emphasized Mr. Manning's personal circumstances and failed to give appropriate weight [...] to Mr. Manning's criminal record, including five convictions on alcohol-related driving offences and three for breaches of probation orders or undertakings," the Supreme Court justices ruled.
The Quebec government wants to seize a drunk driver's vehicle after each offence, and take it for good after their third conviction.
(Canadian Press via Montreal Gazette)