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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. M.P. – ICBC insurance fraud investigation.

Charge: Insurance fraud.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through the investigation by helping our client rectify the fraudulent information that he had provided to I.C.B.C. No charges approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.B. – Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm; Assault Police Officer.
Issue: Given our client's severe mental health issues, whether he was criminally responsible for the offences.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide information about our client's mental health history to Crown counsel and, ultimately, was able to persuade Crown to end the prosecution. Stay of proceedings. No jail. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.H. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Under $5000.,br> Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information about our client to Crown counsel and was able to persuade Crown that there was no public interest in prosecuting this matter. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.C. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Mischief Under $5000.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information about our client to Crown counsel and was able to persuade Crown that there was no public interest in prosecuting this matter. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. W.F. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether this road rage incident was a criminal offence or a consensual fight.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to present Crown counsel with video evidence which confirmed that the complainant had engaged in a consensual altercation. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. K.Y. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether the 18 month jail sentence Crown had sought was reasonable in all the circumstances.
Result: Mr. Johnson provided information to the Crown and Court and ultimately persuaded the trial judge to sentence our client to a 7 month conditional sentence , followed ny 18 months probation. No jail.

R. vs. G.W. – North Vancouver RCMP Investigation

Charge: Assault with a weapon.
Issue: Whether there was sufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able collect information from a defence witness and represent to police that our client should not  be prosecuted. Police concluded their investigation without recommending any criminal charge against our client. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.S. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we directed our client to complete, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to not approve any charge prior to the scheduled first court appearance. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.L. – Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charges: Possession of a loaded prohibited firearm; Unlawful storage of firearms.
Issue: Whether the warrant used to search our client's premises was lawful; whether our client posed a risk to re-offend.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to point to potential flaws in the warrant and police search which culminated in Crown's agreement to not pursue their original sentencing position of a 2-3 year jail sentence. Rather, the court accepted a joint submission of a 12 month conditional sentence with a curfew for the first six months. No jail.

R. vs. M.K.A. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon (x2).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the court to grant our client a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to direct our client through a course of rehabilitative counselling, and after hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the trial judge granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. K.D. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps that we were able to guide our client through, whether there was a public interest in continuing with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to amend the bail condition to allow "permissive contact" with the complainant, and after providing Crown with a report from our client's psychologist Crown counsel ended the prosecution. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.L. – Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Sexual assault; Unlawful Confinement; Assault by Choking.
Issue: Given the impact of the additional evidence that Mr. Johnson provided to Crown counsel, whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Crown counsel agreed that the new evidence significantly undermined the strength of the case.  Crown counsel entered a stay of proceedings, bringing the prosecution to an end. No jail. No criminal record.

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.