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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. 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.

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.