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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. P.S.A. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to direct Crown counsel to gaps in the police investigation resulting in Crown deciding to not approve any charge in this matter. No criminal record.

R. vs. S.J. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited. Issue: Whether the crown…

R. vs. M.L. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault; Uttering Threats (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client achieved under our direction, whether there was a public interest in proceeding with the criminal prosecution.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the charges.  All restrictive conditions removed. No criminal record.

R. vs. C.S. - Port Coquitlam Provincial Court

Charge: Assault (domestic).
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to point to a lack of evidence with respect to the charge resulting in Crown counsel entering a stay of proceedings. No criminal record.

R. vs. N.D. - Richmond Provincial Court

Charge: Sexual Assault.
Issue: Whether there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to direct Crown counsel to various flaws in the prosecution's case. On the eve of a 4 day trial, Crown agreed to resolve this matter by way of a nine month Peace Bond. No criminal record.

R. vs. B.M. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Driving While Prohibited.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown counsel to proceed on this charge, which carries a mandatory minimum 12 month driving prohibition.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to proceed on the lesser offence of driving without a valid driver's licence. After hearing Mr. johnson's submissions, the court imposed a $500 fine. No driving prohibition.

R. vs. B.C. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the criminal charge.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown counsel to stay the criminal charge. Our client entered into a Peace Bond for a period of 9 months. No criminal record.

R. vs. Z.H. - Port Coquitlam Youth Court

Charge: Assault Causing Bodily Harm.
Issue: Whether, given the history between our client and the complainant, it was reasonable for our client apply  the level of force he used.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade Crown to not approve any criminal charge but, rather, to resolve the matter through Restorative Justice. No criminal record.

Y.Y. vs. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles - Review of Driving Prohibition

Charge: Notice of Intent to Prohibit.
Issue: Whether RoadSafety BC had appropriate reasons to prohibit our client from driving for 4 months.
Result: Mr. Johnson was able to persuade the Superintendent's adjudicator that the 4 month driving prohibition was not warranted. The driving prohibition was reduced to 2 months.

R. vs. R.H. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Assault (x2); Threatening; Breach of Undertaking (domestic).
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether it was appropriate for the Court to convict him.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown to proceed on only a single count of assault. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court granted our client a conditional discharge. No criminal conviction.  

R. vs. D.I. - Vancouver Provincial Court

Charges: Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm; Driving Without Due Care and Attention.
Issue: Whether it was appropriate for Crown to charge our client under the Criminal Code or the Motor Vehicle Act in regard to an accident where our client's vehicle struck a cyclist from behind, causing serious injury.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to provide information to Crown which resulted in Crown proceeding under the Motor Vehicle Act. After hearing Mr. Mines' submissions, the Court sentenced our client to a $1000 fine and limited his ability to drive for 12 months. No criminal conviction. No loss of insurance coverage. No jail.

R. vs. C.G. - North Vancouver Provincial Court

Charge: s. 810 Peace Bond Application.
Issue: Given the rehabilitative steps our client had taken, whether the complainant continued to have fear of our client.
Result: Mr. Mines was able to persuade Crown counsel to withdraw its Peace Bond application. No conditions. No 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.