A driving prohibition for one ticket
It may be hard for many to accept, but looking down to adjust your vehicle heater or adjusting the stereo while driving is, in fact, Driving Without Due Care and Attention. It’s one of the tickets that the BC Driving Lawyers regularly defend (very often successfully) so we know all about it. And so we know that adjusting your stereo or heater controls while driving is considered the offence of Driving Without Due Care, MVA 144(1)(a).
That is, if you’re caught.
But of course, getting caught and getting a ticket for 144(1)(a) isn’t the end of the world. Except for the fact that, with this offence, you can get a driving prohibition for just one ticket.
Although even the slightest inattention to driving might mean the police issue you a 144(1)(a) ticket, it is one of the most serious offences in the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act. The fine can be as much as $2000 and the conviction comes with 6 demerit points — the equivalent of two speeding tickets on your driving record.
But what might surprise you is that you may get a driving prohibition for one ticket in BC, particularly an offence such as Driving Without Due Care. Recently we were contacted by a Novice driver (with an “N”) who was issued a 144(1)(a) ticket. Before contacting us the client simply paid the ticket, thinking that would be the end of it and not knowing the real repercussions of a traffic ticket in BC. Soon after paying the ticket, this individual, with an otherwise good driving record, received a Notice of Intent to Prohibit them from driving for 5 months. Yes, 5 months!
We thought it was insane. An otherwise good driving record, a reasonable amount of driving experience and with just one ticket, which can be for the most minor act, a 5-month driving prohibition.
We also thought it was unwarranted and an abuse of discretion and authority. And sadly, it’s the type of thing we see all the time. The problem is that the general public in British Columbia is unaware that this is how the system works. The BC Government hands down shockingly disproportionate punishment by way of the administrative process in a Government office. Without a trial, and without any of the facts behind the offence, good drivers are punished with lengthy driving prohibitions more often than you might expect.
Certainly the Government has a role in encouraging good driving and discouraging bad driving. However, a driving prohibition for one ticket is cause for alarm in our view. Which is why we take on these cases.
BC Driving Lawyers protect your BCDL
We defend 144(1)(a) Driving Without Due Care and Attention and all other ticketable offences, as well as all types of driving prohibitions and criminal driving cases in British Columbia.