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Motor Vehicle Violation Tickets

The Charge

The British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) sets out a myriad of driving offences designed to promote road safety. The MVA and its Regulations set out rules to govern everything from the licencing and insurance requirements of drivers to speeding, careless driving and alcohol and drug related offences. While upon conviction, drivers are subject to fines, the real issue for drivers is that the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, through RoadSafetyBC, will seek to prohibit drivers who have accumulated too many of the demerit points that go along with traffic ticket convictions. A small sampling of demerit point penalties are set out below, listed by Offence / MVA Section No..

2 POINTS

Fail to yield to pedestrian / 127 (1)
Red light at intersection / 129 (1)
Flashing red light / 131 (1)
Unsafe lane change / 151 (a)
Improper left turn / 166

3 POINTS

Fail to state name and address / 73 (2)
Speed against highway sign / 146 (3)
Cross solid double line / 155 (1)
Fail to pass safely / 157 (1)
Improper turn at intersection / 165 (2)

4 POINTS

Use of electronic device / 214.2

6 POINTS

Careless driving / 144 (1)(a)
Driving without reasonable consideration / 144 (1)(b)

10 POINTS

Driving while prohibited or suspended / 95
All Criminal Code driving offences

Because RoadSafetyBC will serve driving prohibitions for drivers who collect too many demerit penalty points, it sometimes becomes prudent to retain a lawyer to defend against a motor vehicle violation ticket. We can help drivers avoid being issued a Notice of Intent to Prohibit.

Recent Successes

R. vs. A.S. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving while prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with this charge which carries a mandatory one year driving prohibition upon conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide Crown counsel with information that concluded our client was not at all responsible for the motor vehicle accident and persuaded Crown to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without aa valid license. Our client was sentenced to a fine and a 3 month driving prohibition.

R. vs. L.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Mischief Over $5000; Assault Police Officer.
Issue: Whether the sentence ought to emphasize punishment or rehabilitation in this matter where our client was alleged to have caused over $100,000 in damage to his building.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide Crown counsel with materials confirming the rehabilitative steps our client had taken for his mental health. The cRown stayed the assault police officer charge and, after hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge and placed him on probation. No jail.

R. vs. D.R. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on the assault charge. Our client entered into a 12 month Peace Bond. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.Z. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to direct our client through, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with this prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide Crown counsel with information that allowed him to persuade Crown to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. M.C. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for Crown to proceed with the prosecution of this offence which carries a 12 month mandatory minimum driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid licence. Our client received a $500 fine and a 30 day driving prohibition.

R. vs. M.L. - Surrey Provincial Court

Charges: Sexual Interference.
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove that our client sexually interfered with his niece.
Result: After a 6 day trial, Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the trial judge that there was reasonable doubt as to the complainant's credibility and reliability. Not guilty. No jail. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.R. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Theft Under $5000 (shoplifting).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide Crown counsel with information that led Crown to resolve this matter with a Caution Letter. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.R. - Vancouver Youth Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm; Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Whether our client was acting in self defence when he injured the complainant with a knife during an altercation.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown counsel that resulted in Crown declining to approve any charges. No criminal record.

R. v. C.C. - Surrey provincial Court

Charges: Impaired Driving, Dangerous Driving Causing Death. Issues: Whether police breached our client's Charter rights during the investigation; whether the court would accept the Crown's sentencing submission.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel that police breached our client's right against an unlawful seizure of his breath samples. This resulted in the Crown's inability to prove the Impaired Driving / Over .08 offences.  The Crown had originally been seeking up to 4.5 years jail, but sought a one year jail sentence on the Dangerous Driving Causing Death charge. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the court found that 5 months was the appropriate sentence.

R. vs. B.S. - North Vancouver RCMP Investigation

.Charge: Uttering Threats.
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the proposed charge.
Result: After Mr. Johnson made  representations to the investing officer, police advised that no charges would be forwarded to Crown counsel. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the charge, which carries a one year mandatory minimum driving prohibition upon conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser charge of driving without a valid drivers license. The court agreed with Mr. Mines' submissions and imposed a fine but did not impose any driving prohibition.

R. vs. N.A. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the charge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to allow our client to plead to the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's license. Rather than face a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition, our client was sentenced to a fine. No driving prohibition.  

The Defence

One of our first considerations is the timing of any trial that we set. This is because the ICBC Driver Improvement Policy sets out generally that the number of penalty points accumulated over a 2-year period are to be considered when assessing whether a driver should be prohibited. For example, a Class 5 driver with no previous prohibitions will be served with a Notice to Prohibit for between 3 and 8 months when they reach 15 demerit points within 2 years. Thus, scheduling a trial date outside of the two-year window may be the best strategy to avoid accumulating too many points.

Defending a traffic ticket is much like defending a criminal charge. While traffic matters are considered to be “strict liability” offences in that the Crown need not prove that the driver intended to commit the offence, the police/Crown still have the burden of proving that the offence occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. When retained to defend traffic violation tickets, we will employ all of the same methods and strategies as we would for a criminal trial. For example, we will contact the relevant police agency to obtain the police report and officer’s notes relevant to the incident. We will prepare for trial by reviewing the allegation and, in appropriate cases, making you ready to testify in court. During the trial, we will cross examine the investigating officer with respect to issues like identifying you as the driver; and the officer’s ability to observe and remember facts such as traffic conditions, and the speed and actions of other vehicles. We have a great track record in Traffic Court for negotiating away convictions and penalty points as well as securing acquittals for our clients.

Start with a free consultation.

If you are being investigated by police or if you’ve been charged with a criminal or driving offence, don’t face the problem alone. Being accused of an offence is stressful. The prospects of a criminal record or jail sentence can be daunting. Even if you think there is no defence, we may be able to help. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Vancouver lawyers, contact us now.