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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. V.B. – Vancouver Provincial Court

.Charges: Assault; Uttering Threats (domestic).
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 to Crown counsel on our client's behalf which resulted in Crown deciding to enterr a stay of proceedings on both charges. Stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

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

Charges: Assault of a Peace Officer.
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for our client to be granted a discharge for his actions in spitting in the face of an RCMP officer at the Vancouver Airport.
Result: Mr. Gauthier presented information to the Court and after hearing his submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Theft Under $5000.
Issue: Whether Crown could prove the number and value of the electronic devices they alleged our client stole from his workplace.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to allege that the theft involved  only 7 devices worth only $1000. After hearing Mr. Mines submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.

R. vs. M. G. – Sechelt RCMP investigation

Charges: Criminal harassment; Distributing intimate images without consent.
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove the circumstantial evidence they sought to rely on and whether jail was the  appropriate sentence.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to convince Crown counsel to not rely on much of the aggravating evidence and, on our client's guilty plea to not seek a jail sentence. After hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a suspended sentence with probation. No jail.

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

Charges: Criminal harassment; Distributing intimate images without consent.
Issue: Whether the Crown could prove the circumstantial evidence they sought to rely on and whether jail was the  appropriate sentence.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to convince Crown counsel to not rely on much of the aggravating evidence and, on our client's guilty plea to not seek a jail sentence. After hearing Mr. Gauthier's submissions, the Court granted our client a suspended sentence with probation. No jail.

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

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issues: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction and whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown counsel that resulted in Crown electing to stay the proceedings and to end the prosecution. No criminal record.

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

Charge: Assault with a weapon.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown counsel which resulted in Crown deciding to end the prosecution not approve any charges.  No criminal record.

R. vs. J.L. – UBC RCMP Investigation

Charges: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of obtaining a criminal conviction and whether it was in the public interest for police to recommend charges.
Result: Mr. Gauthier was able to provide information to police whic resulted in police closing their investigation. No charges recommended. No criminal record.

R. vs. T.A. – West Shore RCMP investigation

Charge: Assault (Domestic).
Issue: Whether it was in the public interest for the Crown to proceed with a criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Gauthier provided information to Crown Counsel that convinced them not to approve charges against the client. No criminal prosecution. No criminal record.

R. vs. J.S. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault (reduced to common assault.)
Issue: Whether Crown counsel could prove that our client touched the complainant for a sexual purpose.
Result: Mr. Mines was able tp persuade Crown counsel that our client did not intend to touch the complainant in a sexual manner. The Crown agreed to proceed on the lesser charge of common assault and, after hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Judge granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction. No jail. No sex offender registry.

R. vs. N.R. – Sechelt Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether it was in the pubic interest for our client to be sentenced to a conditional discharge for this offence which resulted in a serious facial cut to the complainant.

R. vs. S.K. – Surrey Provincial Court

Charges: Assault; Assault with a Weapon, Breach of a Release Order.
Issue: Whether our client could be released on bail given Crown's concerns for his willingness to attend court and potential to commit further offences.
Result: Mr. Johnston was able to persuade the Judge to release our client on the least onerous conditions.

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.