Random stops by the police are not constitutional
The police do not have a right to arbitrarily investigate drivers who they stop in a random check for drunk driving.
The Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Mellenthin,
 3 S.C.R. 615 makes that perfectly clear.
In that case the police directed the appellant’s vehicle into a check stop set up as part of a program to check vehicles.
One of the officers shone a flashlight in the interior of the appellant’s vehicle, which was considered to be an appropriate action to ensure the safety of the officers conducting the checkpoint.
The flashlight inspection revealed an open gym bag on the front seat. The officer asked what was inside the bag, was told food and shown a paper bag with a plastic sandwich bag in it.
When the officer noticed empty glass vials, of the type commonly used to store cannabis resin, he asked the appellant to get out of the car, searched the car and found vials of hash oil and some cannabis resin cigarettes.
The appellant later gave an incriminating statement at the police detachment.
At trial the judge excluded both the physical evidence of the drugs and the statement and acquitted the accused. The Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and ordered a new trial.
Our Supreme Court emphatically restored the acquittal reasoning that although RIDE programs are justified as a means aimed at reducing the terrible toll of death and injury so often occasioned by impaired drivers or by dangerous vehicles their primary aim must be to check for sobriety, licenses, ownership, insurance and the mechanical fitness of cars.
The court authoritatively held that the police use of check stops should not be extended beyond these aims and that “random stop programs must not be turned into a means of conducting either an unfounded general inquisition or an unreasonable search.”
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