Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offence in British Columbia and can lead to criminal charges, fines, and a driving prohibition.
While impaired driving can be a criminal charge, police officers in British Columbia can instead proceed with an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP).
An IRP is used to combat impaired driving, which allows police officers to immediately suspend a driver’s license for a period of time if they fail or refuse to take an approved screening device test.
In this blog post, we will discuss what an IRP is, how the review process works, and the chances of winning an IRP review.
What is an IRP?
Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRPs) are an administrative penalty for an impaired driving offence in British Columbia. If a police officer believes that a driver is impaired, they can ask the driver to take a breathalyzer test using an approved screening device. If the driver fails or refuses to take the test, the police officer can issue an IRP, which suspends the driver’s license for a period of time ranging from 3 to 90 days, depending on the severity of the offence.
After an IRP is issued, the driver must surrender their license to the police officer and cannot drive a motor vehicle for the duration of the prohibition. The driver may also face other penalties such as fines, the impoundment of their vehicle, mandatory participation in a rehabilitation program, or installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
How Does the IRP Review Process Work?
If a driver wishes to challenge an IRP, they need to act quickly. Drivers have only 7 days from the time the IRP is issued to request a review. Once the review is requested, the driver can choose to represent themselves or hire a lawyer to assist with the process. Having a knowledgeable immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) lawyer on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of the review.
The IRP review takes place through the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, where adjudicators will carefully consider all of the evidence presented by both sides. During the review, the adjudicator will consider the sworn reports of the police officer who issued the IRP. The driver or their representative will have the opportunity to present their evidence and arguments against the IRP. It is important for the driver or their representative to be prepared and ensure that they are presenting evidence for one of the legislative grounds of appeal. For example, an adjudicator is not allowed to consider personal hardship even if the IRP will cause you to lose your job.
After considering all of the evidence presented, the adjudicator will make a decision whether to revoke or uphold the IRP. If the IRP is upheld, the driver will be required to serve the full suspension period and may face other penalties, such as fines and mandatory education or treatment programs. On the other hand, if the IRP is revoked, the driver’s license will be reinstated, and they will not face any further penalties.
What Are the Chances of Winning an IRP Review?
It is important to note that the statistics on IRP review win chances can be somewhat skewed. This is because the majority of drivers who receive an IRP do not contest it, opting instead to simply accept the driving prohibition.
That being said, drivers who do decide to contest their IRP should be aware that the outcome of the review is not guaranteed. The quality of the evidence presented, the strength of the arguments made, and the strict grounds of argument all play a role in the final decision. This is why it is crucial to gather as much evidence as possible, get good legal advice and prepare a strong case for the review.
Tips for Increasing the Chances of Winning an IRP Review
If you are facing an IRP review, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
Gathering evidence is an essential step in building a strong case for your IRP review. Evidence can take many forms, including medical records, witness statements, and dashcam footage. Collecting and organizing this evidence can help demonstrate your innocence or the weaknesses in the case against you.
Prepare for the Review
Preparing for the IRP review is crucial to presenting a strong case. Familiarizing yourself with the IRP review process and what to expect during the hearing can help you feel more confident and better equipped to handle the proceedings. By being well-prepared, you can increase your chances of success and potentially avoid a driving prohibition.
Seek Legal Representation
The most important thing you can do to give your case is to hire proper legal representation. A lawyer who specializes in impaired driving laws can provide invaluable assistance when challenging an IRP. They can help gather and analyze the evidence, and then build a strong case in your favour. They can also help you navigate the complex legal procedures and represent you in front of the adjudicator.