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Driving while prohibited

You’ve been charged with Driving while Prohibited… Now what?

There are a number ways in which people can find themselves subject to a driving prohibition. It is very common for drivers to be prohibited by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. This can occur for reasons such as failure to comply with the Motor Vehicle Act, for having an unsatisfactory driving record, for license suspensions or cancellations from other jurisdictions, for medical reasons, or for an unsatisfied judgment. We frequently see clients who have been subject to a driving prohibition because they have been deemed to have a “poor” driving record by the Superintendent.

On a first conviction for driving while prohibited you will be looking at a minimum fine of at least $500 and up to $2000.

A “poor” driving record

What is considered “poor” depends on many factors, including the type of license you have. These decisions can be discretionary and may be successfully challenged in many cases.

The Motor Vehicle Act also allows driving prohibitions to be issued in relation to alcohol and/or drugs; Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, Administrative Driving Prohibitions, and 24-hour prohibitions will all result in a prohibition from driving for a specified period of time.

You can also be subject to a court ordered prohibition in relation to a Criminal Code conviction for a motor vehicle related offence. If you are convicted of an applicable offence, you will automatically prohibited from driving under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Service of a driving prohibition

Regardless of what triggered your driving prohibition, you must have been “served” with notice of the prohibition and its duration. In other words, you must be informed of the prohibition in order for it to take effect. This can occur in four ways:

1. by order of a judge of justice on sentencing,
2. acknowledging or signing the notice of prohibition, or by surrendering your driver’s license to an ICBC driver licensing office,
3. receipt by Registered Mail, or
4. personal service (for example, by a police officer).

Driving while prohibited: What it means for you

Driving while prohibited is a Motor Vehicle Act offence that carries serious and ongoing consequences. This offence is always handled in Provincial Criminal Court rather than Traffic Court. A conviction can carry jail time.
Regardless of whether this is your first or a subsequent offence, if you plead guilty to or are convicted driving while prohibited you will receive a driving prohibition of at least 12 months. The driving prohibition can become much greater depending on what the Court orders.

On a first conviction for driving while prohibited you will be looking at a minimum fine of at least $500 and up to $2000. There is also a possibility of jail time up to a maximum of 6 months.

On any subsequent conviction you are looking at automatic jail time of at least 14 days and up to a maximum of one year. This is in addition to a fine of at least $500 and up to $2000.

In addition to the fine and/or jail sentence and driving prohibition you will also be subject to a vehicle impoundment. This can range from a period of 7 days on a first offence to 30 days on a second offence, and 60 days on a third offence. You must pay all costs associated with the impoundment in order to get your vehicle back.

Last but not least, a conviction for driving while prohibited carries 10 driver penalty points that will be added to your driving record. These points are considered to be significantly aggravating and, as a result, you will be required to pay a significant annual Driver Point Premium. RoadSafetyBC can impose a further driving prohibition in addition to the court ordered period.
Driving prohibitions are in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire period of your prohibition. A driving prohibition can therefore interfere with your work and personal life as well as your ability to drive in the future. Once you have a driving prohibition on your record, any subsequent prohibition is likely to be much longer. Put simply, the repercussions for driving while prohibited go well beyond a court sentence.

How we can help

Because a driving while prohibited charge is so serious, it is imperative that an experienced lawyer carefully examine your case to identify the factual and legal issues. The defences to driving while prohibited can be complicated. We know and understand the complex legal issues and arguments involved in defending these charges and have many resources at our disposal to help you succeed your case.

Call us now to discuss your driving while prohibited case.