Increasing punishment for cell phone tickets
On October 20, 2014, British Columbia amended the laws under the section 214.2 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Previously, if you were charged with talking on a cell phone, you received a $167 fine with no points. Under the new amendments, you receive 3 points on your license in addition to a $167 fine. This means that it can contribute to you having to pay ICBC for Driving Point Premiums and increase your risk of being prohibited from driving under the Superintendent of Motor Vehicle’s Driver Improvement Program.
If you are a class 7 novice driver, you may also be charged under section 25(15) of the Motor Vehicle Act and issued with a $167 fine and 3 points on your record. Furthermore, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles will be likely to look at prohibiting you from driving if you are found guilty of the offence. If you have to serve a driving prohibition, you will have to restart the class 7 “N” period of two years and be on driving probation for the duration.
There are defences available to this ticket, but it’s not easy to meet the burden of proof. If you are simply observed holding your cell phone while operating a vehicle, this is often sufficient to ground a conviction for the offence. The officer does not need to prove that you were actually talking, texting or using the phone or electronic device. An excuse such as an emergency phone call will not carry much weight in court unless you were on the line with 911.
Once this charge is on your driving record it can influence your ability to get a job, keep your license and could influence your future treatment by police during traffic stops.
It is important that you take proper steps now to ensure that this offence does not end up on your driving record. Call us at 604-608-1200 to consult about disputing your distracted driving or other traffic ticket. If you simply pay the ticket this offence stays on your regular driving record for 5 years and it remains part of the internal record for forever.