How police officers check for prohibited drivers

There can be any number of reasons why a police officer might pull a driver over. After
doing so they may also become suspicious that the driver is driving while prohibited and
they are using a licence that does not belong to them. [pullquote]if they
suspect you of driving while prohibited they might want to pursue some additional
charges.[/pullquote]
Driving while prohibited or while your licence is suspended is an offence here in BC under
Section 102 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Anyone who commits an offence under this section and is liable, on a first conviction, to a fine of up to
$2,000, a maximum of six months in prison, or both. A subsequent conviction could result in
another $2,000 fine, jail for up to a year, or both. If you are charged with driving while prohibited
you may also have your vehicle impounded. The charge will remain on your permanent driving
record and could lead to you receiving a longer suspension in the future as well as increased
insurance premiums.

Being banned from the road or having their licence suspended will not stop some
people from driving. Often they will use the licence of someone with a similar
appearance and build to them, such as a sibling, in the event they get pulled over
by a cop.

Police officers employ a number of methods to establish the driver’s identity at the
roadside. Not only is proving ID is an essential element of most traffic tickets, if they
suspect you of driving while prohibited they might want to pursue some additional
charges.

Under Section 70 of BC’s Motor Vehicle Act it is also an offence to use another person’s driver’s licence or fail to allow a police officer to
inspect a licence. Anyone found guilty under this section is liable to a fine of up to
$20,000 – yes $20,000 – or a maximum of six months in jail, or both.
How police detect possible impersonation
Police officers are issued with a Quick Reference Guide which contains a list of
suggestions on how to detect possible impersonation. Officers use this advice to assist
them in telling when someone is lying about their identity.

Here is the list of what police are instructed to do if they suspect you are not the licence
holder, in no particular order:

1. Request registration
2. Ask questions about address
3. Ask whose vehicle it is
4. Ask the registered owner’s address
5. Ask for driver’s full name
6. Get telephone number. Ask a dispatcher to call the number and ask for him/her
or if they know the person stopped (sometimes the person stopped gives a false
name and the actual person will answer the phone)
7. Check the information given on system
8. If the vehicle’s registered owner is not the same as person stopped, run it on the
system
9. Make a detailed physical description, e.g., tattoos, marks, scars
10. Keep extensive notes either in notebook, or better, on the ticket’s officer note
portion
11. Query driver’s licence newer 10-27 (driver’s licence check) have description on
them
12. Ask for place of birth
13. Ask for driver’s record, recent tickets etc.
14. Obtain driver licence history
15. Follow up with registered owner to identify
16. Get the offender to sign the ticket
17. Keep in mind your gut feeling
18. If a camera is available, photograph driver for evidentiary purposes
What to do if you have been charged with driving while prohibited
If you have been pulled over by a police officer and you think they might suspect you of
driving while prohibited, bear in mind you are not obliged to answer all of their
questions. [pullquote]you may politely say your lawyer told you
not to answer any of their questions bar those in the Schryvers Test.[/pullquote]

This case established that there is a burden of proof on the driver, to a certain extent, to identify themselves to
an officer at the roadside. It also established a checklist officers use, known as the
Schryvers Test, to assist in properly identifying the driver.
In order to fulfill your obligations under the Motor Vehicle Act, you must do three things
correctly:

● Present your driver’s licence
● State your name
● State your address

If you do these three things, you have fulfilled your obligations under the Motor Vehicle
Act. The Courts have interpreted that this should be sufficient for the officer to identify
you and check you are not impersonating another driver. So if you are nervous about
answering all of the police officer’s questions, you may politely say your lawyer told you
not to answer any of their questions bar those in the Schryvers Test.

Get help from a lawyer

If you have been charged with driving while prohibited, you should contact a driving lawyer as
soon as possible. A lawyer knows the complex legal issues and arguments that are involved in
defending a driving while prohibited charge. You should learn about your rights and your
options.

At BC Driving Lawyers, we have experience of defending these types of cases and we know
precisely what police should have done in order to identify you at the roadside. We love to drive
and we know how important it is to protect your driving privileges. If you are charged with Drive
While Prohibited, we are the law office for you.

Call us today for a free consultation on 604-608-
1200.

Contact us

Vancouver - Downtown
837 Beatty Street
604-608-1200
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Suite 510, 450 SW Marine Drive
604-608-1200
Richmond
5800 Cedarbridge Way
604-608-1200
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250-384-0008
Kelowna
Suite 20, 1638 Pandosy Street 250-860-2744