Driving in Canada is a privilege, not a right, and bad driving can lead to the loss of your driver’s license and worse consequences – convictions under the Motor Vehicle Act and the Criminal Code. Driving offences range from the mundane (speeding tickets and other moving violations under the Motor Vehicle Act) to the very serious (impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death under the Criminal Code). However, the trend in British Columbia is to prosecute most illegal driving, including drinking and driving or DUI, under the Motor Vehicle Act unless serious injury or death results.
As a result of provisions in the Motor Vehicle Act that allow police to impose an “immediate roadside driving prohibition” (IRP) and impound a vehicle for impaired driving, the number of prosecutions under the Criminal Code has plummeted. That being said, the consequences for certain driving offences under the Motor Vehicle can be severe. An IRP for driving with a blood alcohol level exceeding 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood will typically result in a 90 day suspension of one’s driver’s license and a 30 day impoundment of the vehicle involved. Driving while prohibited by an IRP is punishable by a $500 minimum fine and a mandatory 1 year driving prohibition. On a second offence, a mandatory 14 day jail sentence is imposed.
Don’t underestimate the legal consequences of driving charges, whether under the Motor Vehicle Act or the Criminal Code. Contact an experienced Vancouver criminal defence lawyer for a consultation if you are under investigation or you have been involved in an accident that you are worried may lead to charges.
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