immediate roadside prohibition

immediate roadside prohibition

immediate-roadside-prohibition

The Motor Vehicle Act sets out a legislative scheme by which motorists can have their licenses suspended.

This post sets out the specific provisions of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) legislation, explains how the scheme works, and why the IRP regime is often used in lieu of criminal charges in British Columbia.  To fully understand why the IRP regime has displaced criminal proceedings, it is also necessary to understand the British Columbia Crown Counsel Policy that was brought into force at the same time as the IRP regime was implemented in 2010.

Why an Immediate Roadside Prohibition is Issued in Lieu of Criminal Charges

At the same time as the IRP regime came into effect, the BC Crown Counsel Office passed a policy that very significantly reduced the number of cases that would be approved for criminal prosecution in British Columbia.  The policy recognizes the significant consequences imposed by the IRP regime on a driver who blows a “fail” or who fails or refuses without reasonable excuse to provide a breath sample into an Approved Screening Device.  Those consequences are discussed in detail below.  In recognition of these penalties, the policy provides that where a driver has been subjected to an IRP and related consequences, a prosecution for an impaired driving offence is generally not in the public interest unless aggravating circumstances apply.  Those aggravating factors are set out in the policy and include:

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December is a busy time of year for all of us. Friends and families come together, enjoy good company, food and wine… and maybe beer… and vodka… and a long drive home. It is no surprise that impaired driving rates are highest in December. In fact, there were an estimated 24,000 cars stopped at BC police check one December Friday night alone. Inevitably, your chance of receiving an Immediate Roadside Prohibition or being charged with a driving offence is exponentially higher during the holiday season.

An Immediate Roadside Prohibition (commonly referred to as an “IRP”) is a driving prohibition issued under the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act to drivers found to have a blood alcohol concentration of 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood (50 mg% or 0.05 BAC) and above. These prohibitions begin immediately, and can vary in length from 3 days (if you blow a WARN) to 90 days (if you blow a FAIL or refuse to provide a breath sample).

If you receive a 90 day prohibition, your vehicle will also be impounded for 30 days, and you will be responsible for the costs associated with towing and storage. This is accompanied by a $500 fine, a $250.00 license reinstatement fee, and a referral to the Responsible Driver Program, which costs over $800. Another possible consequence of an IRP is a referral to the Ignition Interlock Program, which will cost you over $1000, plus maintenance fees.

What many people don’t know about Immediate Roadside Prohibitions is that you have 7 days to dispute them. If you do not respond within 7 days, your IRP will be confirmed, it will remain on your driving record, and you can look forward to paying all those fees listed above! Not exactly the type of gifts you had in mind this holiday season! It is very easy to get caught up in all the holiday madness and forget this crucial deadline.

If you or someone you know have received an Immediate Roadside Prohibition or have been charged with a driving offence, contact Filkow Law at 604-558-8778 for proper legal assistance. Filkow Law is a leading BC law firm experienced dealing with drinking and driving offences.

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BC Police forces have begun using the new Alco-Sensor FST for use in Immediate Roadside Prohibitions.  This new breathalyzer has several important differences over the previously used versions.  The new version has been designed to attempt to limit the amount of user-errors by the police that were being observed and leading to unreliable results.

First, the device is programmed to not accept a sample if it is expired.  It is also programmed to not accept a sample if it is outside of the now-expanded temperature range.

Secondly, the device has a completely different set of messages that are possible compared to the old devices.

Related: “I am being arrested by the police. I need to speak to a lawyer”

This will likely eliminate many of the factors that would historically lead to unreliable test results with previous devices, but there are still some factors that can indicate whether an FST reading is reliable or not.

If you have received an Immediate Roadside Prohibition, it is very important to have an experienced lawyer review your case and get proper legal advice as to whether your test results can be relied upon.

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