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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. 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.

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.