Getting a traffic ticket is never a pleasant experience. Every traffic violation carries an associated fine, but many carry penalty points against your driver’s license and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia classifies some offences as High-Risk Driving Offences. Even with no previous driving record, these serious offences can cause you to lose your license.
If your Driving Record receives too many penalty points, you could receive a prohibition from driving by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. For class 7L (learners) or class 7N (novice) licenses, these prohibitions can come after one single three-point offence.
For high-quality legal advice and a free consultation to understand the potential consequences for your specific type of license, speak to one of the professional traffic ticket lawyers at Jaswal & Krueger.
Legal Services That Protect Your Driving Record
Not all demerit points are created equal. After all, there’s a big difference between careless driving that results in rolling through a stop sign and stunt driving, where excessive speed can put the lives of others in danger.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) treats high-risk driving offences with extra attention, so the severity of your problem will vary according to the traffic violation. Lawyers will always recommend that you call them no matter the offense, but for offenses such as using a cell phone while driving, excessive speeding, and driving without due care and consideration, it would be dangerous not to have a proper criminal defence professional on your side.
For example, did you know that if you still have a Class 7L license (a learner’s permit) or Class 7N license (a novice permit), it is very likely that if you plead guilty to a traffic violation, you may receive a Notice of Intention to Prohibit (which indicates that you have an unsatisfactory driving record) or a Notice of Prohibition, which will seek to suspend your driver’s license for a number of months?
These are the kinds of issues that a professional traffic ticket lawyer will be able to explain to you and fight against in the appropriate circumstances. Find more information on these types of Notices below.
Violation Tickets: The Clock is Ticking
If you receive a violation ticket from an officer, it is important to remember that you only have 30 days to dispute the matter. If you do not dispute the ticket within 30 days, you will be deemed to have pleaded guilty to the offence and it will be on your driving record.
However, when it comes to traffic tickets, there is a way to put them back into dispute if you miss that 30-day time limit or if you fail to show up at a scheduled traffic hearing. You’ll need to complete an affidavit explaining why you failed to dispute the ticket or show up in court. There is a preprinted court form you can fill out, but be aware that despite this simple-looking form, you still need to satisfy some legal principles and you only get one chance to submit it. The lawyers at Jaswal & Krueger can help you with that application to ensure that you have the best chance of taking that offence off your driving record.
DISPUTING A TRAFFIC TICKET – CAN I DO IT MYSELF?
You can dispute a ticket by taking it to ICBC, a court registry or by mail. If you decide to dispute a traffic ticket yourself, you will be provided with a Notice of Hearing in the mail to advise you of the date and time of your traffic hearing. It is your resposibility to update the court if you change your address, otherwise the court will send your Notice of Hearing to an old address and you will be held responsible for not attending court.
It is important that you attend on your court date, or you will be deemed to have pleaded guilty. If you need to change the date, there is a process to adjourn the matter prior to the hearing date. While you can try and ask for an adjournment on the date of the hearing, you will likely have more success by filling out the appropriate paperwork in advance. No adjournment is guaranteed though, as you must satisfy the court why you have a legitimate reason for being unable to attend. If you hire a lawyer on the other hand, they can often attend traffic court on your behalf.
Prior to a traffic hearing, you have the right to see the officer’s evidence, but only if you request it within a reasonable period of time prior to the hearing. This might require sending a letter to the officer’s detachment or tracking down their contact information.
It is possible to have a traffic ticket dismissed because of the delay from the date of the offence until your court date. This type of applicaiton is unique though, and requires that you file Charter Notice and follow the proper procedures to request a judicial stay of proceedings. While you do not need a lawyer for this process, we have extensive experience with this type of applicaiton and the necsesary arguments in court to get the ticket dismissed.
Hiring a lawyer from Jaswal & Krueger will mean that we take care of all of these procedural steps for you. From disputing the ticket to appearing in court on your behalf, the only thing you need to worry about is getting us a copy of the ticket within the 30 day deadline. At Jaswal & Krueger, our team has a thorough knowledge of the court, its rules, and how the legal process can be used in your favor.
Notice of Intention to Prohibit / Notice of Prohibition
If you have an unsatisfactory driving record, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has the power to prohibit you from driving.
If you are prohibited from driving, the process usually begins after receiving either a Notice of Intention to Prohibit or a Notice of Prohibition in the mail. When you receive this letter, it is strongly suggested you call a lawyer, since you only have 21-days from the date on the letter to respond and argue why you should keep your license.
Not only can this process prohibit you from driving, but if you are still in the graduated licensing program, any prohibition will reset your time eligibility before you can take the test for your next license. This means another full year with an “L” or two years with an “N”.
Often these letters can be sent to a new driver after only one driving offence on their record.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Traffic court is one of the areas where many people are self-represented.
Traffic court is set up in such a way that it encourages people to plead guilty to offences and seek a fine reduction. Often police officers will provide legal advice even though they are an opposing party in traffic court. Don’t get your legal advice from an officer that does not understand the full consequences of pleading guilty!
While you may be granted a fine reduction, often the larger consequence is the penalty points on your driving record. Not only can penalty points lead to a prohibition from driving, but they can quickly increase yours fees through the Driver Penalty Point Premium or the Driver Risk Premium. If you follow those links, you’ll see that under the Driver Penalty Point Premium an accumulation of four or more points over a 12-month period carries a one-time fine that starts at $252 and can increase for each additional point to tens of thousands of dollars.
Similarly, the Driver Risk Premium is a fine that is assessed each year for high risk offences on your record. A single conviction of excessive speeding will cost you $461, and two cell phone tickets will cost you $533 per year for up to three years.
If you’re facing a driving offence, the lawyers at Jaswal & Krueger can help you right now. Don’t go to court without us or our legal expertise. Don’t wait, please contact your Jaswal & Krueger driving defence lawyer today!
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