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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.N. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault with a Weapon.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we guided our client through, whether it was in the public interest for Crown to seek a conviction on this charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to permit our client to plead to the lesser offence of common assault. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions, the court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

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

Charges: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of  the Crown being able to prove that bodily harm occurred.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to permit our client to plead to the lesser offence of common assault. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions, the court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given that the complainant had instigated the altercation, whether it was in the public interest for our client to be convicted of the offence.
Result: We were able to guide our client through a course of rehabilitation and, after hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge and placed him on a non-reporting probation order for six months. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. S.W. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Refusing to comply with a testing demand.
Issue: Given the circumstances of the offence and our client, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser Motor Vehicle Act offence of driving without due care. Rather than a criminal conviction and a minimum 12 month driving prohibition, our client was liable to pay a $350 fine and a 2 month driving prohibition. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.S. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Given the circumstances of the offence and our client, whether it was necessary for Crown to proceed with the driving while prohibited charge, which carries a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to proceed on the lesser Motor Vehicle Act charge of driving without a driver's licence. After hearing Mr. Johnson's submissions our client was sentenced to a fine and a 4 month driving prohibition.

R. vs. J.S. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm (domestic).
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove that bodily harm resulted and, whether the rehabilitative steps our client had taken justified the Court granting a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the charge of common assault. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

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

Charge: Assault; Threatening.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of conviction in this alleged "road rage" case.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide information to Crown counsel on our client's behalf that led Crown to conclude there was no substantial likelihood of conviction. No charge approved. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Theft Under $5000; Uttering Threats.
Issue: Whether, given our client's circumstances and remorse, whether it was in the public interest for criminal charges to proceed.
Result: We were able to provide information to police investigators which resulted in police deciding to not forward any charges to Crown. No criminal record.

R. vs. H.L. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to provide information to the Crown on our client's behalf that persuaded Crown that the case did not meet the charge approval standard. No charge was approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.F. - Provincial Court of Newfoundland

Charge: Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Marijuana).
Issue: Whether it there was a substantial likelihood of obtaining a conviction.
Result: Upon considering Mr. Johnson's representations, Crown counsel concluded that there was no longer a likelihood of conviction. Crown withdrew the charge, bringing the matter to an end. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Application for firearms prohibition and forfeiture.
Issue: Whether Crown could establish that our client posed a risk to himself or others.
Result: Mid trial, Mr. Mines was able to obtain a successful resolution in which our client consented to an 18 month prohibition rather than the 5 years Crown had been seeking.  Further, rather than having to forfeit the  $15,000 worth of weapons that police seized,  Crown agreed to allow our client to sell them to a suitable buyer.

R. vs. C.B. - Vancouver Police Investigation

Charge: Possession of proceeds of crime.
Issue: Whether there was any lawful authority to arrest our client and seize funds from him.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the investigating officer that there was no basis to search our client and to return the $2400 cash that he had seized. No charges approved. Not 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.