The goodfirm ICBC lawyers want to show the consequences of failing to dispute a ticket within the required time limits. In Fraser v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2016 BCSC 2427, a new driver was given a 5 month driving prohibition after failing to dispute two tickets. The prohibition had severe consequences.
In Fraser, a new driver failed to dispute two tickets within the 30 day time period. Under section 16 of the Offence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 338, she was deemed to have plead guilty to the two driving offences. As a result of those two offences, the superintendent of motor vehicles issued a 5 month driving prohibition. Although she was required to notify ICBC of her new address under s. 31 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318, she failed to do so and did not receive the notice until 2 months later.
She retained counsel and her lawyer was successful in having ICBC review the tickets. The ICBC supervisor ended the 5 month prohibition pending the outcome of her dispute over the tickets, but continued to show the prohibition on her record. As an N driver, the prohibition on her driving record would mean that she would have to restart the 2 year N driving period before getting her Class 5 license.
She brought a petition in the Supreme Court requesting a reconsideration of the not to remove the prohibition from her record. In legal terms this meant seeking a judicial review of the superintendent’s decision on the basis that the refusal to remove the prohibition was unreasonable and a violation of her Charter right to be presumed innocent of the traffic violations.
ICBC claimed that the new driver was the author of her own misfortune in that she failed to dispute the ticket within the time limit and also failed to update ICBC with her new address. ICBC argued that driving is a privilege, not a right, and therefore not protected under the Charter.
Mr. Justice Blok found that the superintendent could have removed the driving prohibition from the new driver’s record but chose merely to end it. That decision was open to the court to remit the matter for reconsideration if the court felt that the superintendent ought to have considered Charter values in deciding what to do about the prohibition. Relying on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Baker, he found that the superintendent is given deference as an administrative decision maker. However, that decision must still be made in accordance with the principles of the Charter including the right to be presumed innocent. Because the superintendent failed to consider this, the Mr. Justice Blok found the superintendent’s decision to be unreasonable.
However, the story does not end here; Mr. Justice Blok did not order the prohibition to be removed. He simply remitted the decision to the superintendent to reconsider the decision in light of the presumption of innocence. There is still a possibility that the same decision could be made again. The take away lesson is that failing to dispute a ticket within the time period can have severe consequences.