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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. 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.

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

Charges:  Assault (by choking); Mischief.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps we were able to guide our client through, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide information including our client's counselling records to crown counsel and persuaded Crown to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.S. – Richmond RCMP Investigation

Charge: Criminal harassment.
Issue: Whether there were reasonable and probable grounds to believe that our client had committed a criminal offence.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide police with video and text message records that caused the investigator to conclude that a criminal prosecution was not appropriate. No charge was approved.

R. vs. R.C. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Criminal Harassment; Breach of a recognizance.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate to resolve this domestic harassment by ending the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the criminal charges upon. our client entering into a Peace Bond for a period of 12 months. No criminal record.

R. vs. R.N. – RCMP Investigation

Charge: Possession of child pornography.
Issue: Whether police would be able to prove that our client was the only person that had access to the IP address on which the unlawful material was downloaded.
Result: Mr. Mines provided information to the police investigator that led the investigator to close the file with no charges recommended against our client. No jail. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Assault; Uttering Threats.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for the court to enter a conviction.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to steer our client through a course of rehabilitation and was able to persuade Crown counsel and the Court to grant our client a conditional discharge.  No criminal conviction.

R. vs. T. F. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Breach of Probation (no contact).
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove that our client intended to breach the "no contact" order that he was subject to.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel that our client bumped into the complainant accidentally. Crown counsel entered a stay of proceedings, bringing the matter to an end. No criminal record.

R. vs. T.X. – Insurance Fraud Investigation.

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: In light of the rehabilitative steps our client completed, whether there was a public interest in proceeding with this child discipline/assault case.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to rely on the extraordinary circumstances of the case and our client's commitment to ongoing family counselling. He was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: In light of the rehabilitative steps our client completed, whether there was a public interest in proceeding with this child discipline/assault case.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to rely on the extraordinary circumstances of the case and our client's commitment to ongoing family counselling. He was able to persuade Crown counsel to enter a stay of proceedings. No 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.