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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. K.A. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether the complainant and the Crown witnesses gave reliable and crdible evidence at trial.
Result: After vigorous cross examination, the trail judge accepted Mr. Gauthier's submissions that Crown counsel had failed to prove its case. Not guilty verdict. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether the information police provided to Crown counsel would cause Crown to conclude there was a substantial likelihood of obtaining a conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines provided information to Crown on our client's behalf. He was able to persuade Crown that our client was in fact the victim of an assault and was acting in self defence. No charges were approved. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Criminal Harassment (domestic).
Issue: Whether our client's mental state was such that Crown counsel could prove that she had the necessary level of intent to be convicted of a criminal offence.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide our client's medical documentation to Crown which resulted in Crown deciding not to proceed with the prosecution. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Driving while prohibited (MVA).
Issue: Whether the delay in approving the charge was relevant to our client's right to a speedy trial.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's licence. Rather than a 12 month driving prohibition and 10 penalty points, our client was sentenced to a 3 month driving prohibition and received only 3 penalty points.

R. vs. Q.B. – North Vancouver RCMP investigation

Charges: Sexual assault.
Issue: Whether or not the acts complained of were consensual or not, and whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines provided further information to th einvestigator on our client's behalf that ultimately led to police declining to recommend any criminal charges. No charge was approved. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Assult (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether it was in the public interest for Crown counsel to continue the criminal prosecution.
Result: Based on the information Mr. Mines provide regarding our client, Crown directed a stay of proceedings bringing the matter to an end. No criminal record.

R. vs. E.E. and B.L. – Insurance Fraud Investigation

Charges: Fraud; misrepresentation.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal investigation and prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to negotiate a civil settlement on our clients' behalf resulting in an end to the matter. No police investigation. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.G. – North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault (x2). Issue: Whether our client was involved in a consensual fight; used reasonable force in defending himself, or was guilty of two counts of assault. Result: At the conclusion of  a three day trial and hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions on our client's behalf, the trial judge found our client not guilty on both counts. No jail. No criminal record.

R. v. K.T. – Delta Police Investigation

Charges: Criminal Harassment.Issue: Whether it was in the public interest to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide the police investigator with information about our client and the circumstances of the incidents that led to the discontinuation of the investigation. File closed. No criminal charges recommended.

R. vs. G.P. – New Westminster Provincial Court

Charge: Theft Under $5000 (from employer).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether it was contrary to the public interest for the court to grant our client a conditional discharge.
Result: Crown counsel's position was that our client should be sentenced to jail but after considering our client's positive pre-sentence report and Mr. Mines' submissions on our client's behalf, the court granted a conditional dischege. No criminal conviction.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether there was contrary to public interest for  our client to be granted a conditional discharge.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown to not proceed on a  breach of bail allegation; to agree to not seek forfeiture of our client's firearms, and to make a joint submission for a conditional discharge with probation. No criminal conviction.

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

Charge: Fear of safety allegation (Peace Bond Application).
Issue: Given the information we were able to provide to Crown counsel, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the Peace Bond application against our client.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings so that our client was no longer subject to any of the restrictive conditions he was bound by.

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.