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Driving Prohibitions

Driving is a Privilege, not a Right

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled clearly that driving a vehicle is a privilege and not a right. Provincial Governments have the jurisdiction to regulate driving, and in British Columbia this is done through ICBC/RoadSafetyBC. RoadSafetyBC is responsible for regulating British Columbia’s 3.2 million active drivers with respect to issues such as driving prohibitions or suspensions, vehicle impoundments, and driver improvement requirements such as the Remedial Driving Program and Ignition Interlock Program. The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, through the Motor Vehicle Act, is the administrative authority that regulates driving with a view to reducing the risk factors that lead to motor vehicle crash fatalities and injuries. Under the MVA, the Superintendent has statutory authority to:

  • Prohibit a person from driving based on an unsatisfactory driving record, on the foundation of an accumulation of penalty demerit points for traffic violations; and to
  • Require drivers to participate in remedial driving programs such as the Responsible Drivers Program or the Ignition Interlock Program.

Receiving a Notice of Intent to Prohibit

When drivers are convicted of a Motor Vehicle Violation Ticket, in addition to a prescribed fine, the driver will be assessed a number of penalty demerit points. For example, a driver convicted of making an improper left-hand turn will be assessed 2 points; a driver convicted of speeding will receive 3 points and a driver convicted of using an electronic device will receive 4 points. When drivers reach a certain threshold (based on their type of license and prior driving history) the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will send them a “Notice of Intent to Prohibit” for a period of 1 month to 24 months or more. Receiving such a letter can be devastating news for people who must drive for work or family purposes. Fortunately, RoadSafetyBC does have an appeal process as part of their Driver Improvement Program. We have a history of success in conducting these appeals and can help you with your Application for Review of an intended driving prohibition.

Recent Successes

R. v. S.C. – Vancouver Police Investigation

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was credible evidence that would meet the charge approval standard.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information to the investigating officer that led the investigator to conclude that our client was not chargeable with a criminal offence. No charge approved. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Assault; Forcible Confinement (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our through, whether it was in the public interest for our client to be sentenced to a criminal record.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown to proceed only on the assault charge and, after hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R.M. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles

Charge: 90 Day Immediate Roadside prohibition.
Issue: Whether the police report established, on balance, that our client had refused to provide a breath sample during a roadside impaired driving investigation.
Result: The adjudicator agreed with Mr. Mines' submissions that our client's evidence was more reliable than the evidence set out in the Police Report to the Superintendent. The 90 day driving prohibition was overturned and our client was ruled eligible to resume driving.

R. vs. E.W. – Fort Nelson Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a criminal conviction.
Result: Upon reviewing the allegations, Mr. Mines made representations to Crown counsel resulting in Crown agreeing that there was no reasonable prospect of convicting our client. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Assault Peace Officer; Mischief Under $5000.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with criminal charges.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to  persuade Crown counsel to allow our client into the Alternative Measures Program and to enter a stay of proceedings on both charges upon our client completing the program. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.S. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from weapons charge).
Issue: Whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the prosecution of our client who had failed to complete a course of court ordered counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through an equivalent course of counselling. Upon completion, Crown counsel stayed the proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Mischief Causing Danger to Life.
Issue: Given the medical evidence Mr. Gauthier provided to Crown counsel, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Breaking & Entering; Unlawful Confinement; Assault.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the prosecution to continue against our client, a U.S. citizen who was in Canada on a visitor's visa.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings on all charges upon our client agreeing to a Deportation Order. No criminal record.

R. vs. P.N. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Dangerous Driving Causing Death. Issue: Whether Crown could prove that our client had the necessary intent to prove that she was guilty of the criminal charge. Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed under the Motor Vehicle Act rather than the Criminal Code. After hearing Mr. Mines'  submissions, the Court sentenced our client to 60 days to be served on weekends. The Crown had originally sought a sentence in the range of 2 years.

R. vs. L.A. – New Westminster Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (from domestic assault charge).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to prosecute our client for failing to report and complete counselling.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to guide our client back onto an alternative course of rehabilitation and persuaded Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. M.K. – Richmond Provincial Court

Charges: Uttering Threats; Extortion.
Issue: Given the age of the charges and the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether a jail sentence was appropriate.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to seek a non custodial sentence. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a suspended sentence and placed him on probation for 16 months. No jail.

R. vs. K.A. – Western Communities Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issues: Given the information we provided to Crown counsel regarding the complainant's past unlawful behaviour toward our client, whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: As a result of the information we provided, Crown counsel withdrew the charge. No further bail restrictions. No criminal record.

Application to Review a “Point Based” Driving Prohibition

When a conviction is enforced against a driver for any traffic violation ticket, including an alcohol-related roadside prohibition, RoadSafetyBC will review the driver’s record over the past 2 years. Generally, for drivers in the graduated licence program (an “L” or “N” driver) as little as 2 demerit points will trigger a Notice of Intent to Prohibit; for experienced drivers, anything more than 14 demerit points within a 2-year period will trigger a Notice of Intent to Prohibit. Additional factors, such as any alcohol-related convictions; any prior driving prohibitions or any convictions for “high risk” offences such as distracted driving or excessive speeding, will also apply and will generally trigger longer driving prohibitions.

We are experienced in understanding RoadSafetyBC’s Driver Improvement Program Policies and Guidelines. We are able to assist clients in applying to have an intended prohibition cancelled altogether or the prohibition period reduced. If you have received a Notice of Intent to Prohibit, it is imperative that you act quickly, because there is a 21-day time limit for a review of the prohibition. In order to make application for the review, we will meet with you and go over your personal circumstances and your driving record. We will essentially see how your situation fits into the policies set out by the Driver Improvement Program, and we will craft a compelling argument in an effort to cancel or reduce the driving prohibition that RoadSafetyBC intends to impose.

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.