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Keeping a clean driving record

When you get your first ticket, you might feel bad. You might think you made a mistake, and you should just pay the ticket. Before you pay the ticket, we want you to think for a moment about the importance of keeping a clean driving record. In BC, there is no way to have convictions or points removed from your record through any government program such as further education. Once a conviction is on your record, it’s there forever and it can hurt you for years to come.

If you have a full license, such as a class 5, and you receive a distracted driving ticket, such as holding an electronic device, and you simply pay it, that ticket will go on your driving record along with 4 demerit points. “No big deal,” you might think at the time. Yes, you can expect an insurance increase but it’s only money. But what happens if you get another ticket?

When most people get one ticket, they inevitably conclude that they will be very careful and take care not to get another. It’s human nature. It doesn’t always work out that way, however.  The future is impossible to predict. The next time a police officer observes some poor driving behaviour, they may take enforcement action because of the conviction.

For example, if an officer sees an unlawful u-turn, they may search the license plate and find the driver was recently convicted of another offence. The assumption is that the driver hasn’t learned, so the officer may decide to take the time to pull them over and write them a ticket. This is one of the ways even good drivers end up with a bad driving record starting with just one ticket.

When one ticket turns into two

The scenario above is more common than you might think. When one ticket turns into two, the powers that be in the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles look at the driving record and they see a pattern of bad driving. They start watching and they may take corrective action. For example, one high risk ticket, such as a cell phone, and another moving violation in a short period may suggest that there is something wrong with the driver. Depending on the offences and the time in between, they may prohibit the driver from driving due to an unsatisfactory driving record.

Defend all traffic tickets

Because the consequences of a traffic ticket can be significant, we in British Columbia have a right to the presumption of innocence, to have a trial and to challenge the evidence presented by the police. And when it comes time for the trial, the police must prove the essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. One small aspect of the process, properly identified, may lead to an acquittal of the ticket. This is where the powers of a defence lawyer come to play.

Defence lawyers wield these legal rules as part of their day-to-day job. Driving defence lawyers wield these rules with particular knowledge of the essential elements. Identifying and considering the evidence on the essential elements as the evidence is presented in court, and knowing how to reveal the right evidence during the course of the trial, is a particular skill.

To keep a clean driving record, you need to defend any traffic tickets you are issued and succeed in court. Your driving lawyer will typically notify the court that you dispute the ticket, and then schedule a trial of the matter. When it comes time for the trial, the obligation is on the prosecution to prove the offence. Your lawyer may poke holes in the case or merely identify for the court where the evidence fails to prove the charge. If you succeed, there is no conviction recorded on your driving record.

Keeping a clean driving record is more important than ever in BC because even one ticket can start an accumulation of convictions on your driving record. Starting at 4 points, ICBC indicates that your insurance premiums will be affected. Any pattern of unsatisfactory driving will cause the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles to review your record and consider a prohibiting you from driving.

Our job: keeping your driving record clean

If you get even one ticket, get in touch with us. We defend ticket after ticket for good drivers just like you. Our job is to keep that ticket from appearing on your driving record and we’re very good at what we do. We’re the BC Driving Lawyers. If you got caught, call us.