Motor Vehicle Offenses
These offenses can be under the Federal Criminal Code of Canada, or under various Traffic Safety Laws enacted by the provinces. In B.C. the Motor Vehicle Act sets out various offenses and procedures in place to confiscate vehicles or take away driving privileges. People frequently ask if the Charter of Rights apply to these processes, and the short answer is in most cases, it does not. The Courts have held that there is no right to drive, and therefore the Province can draft laws that many people will consider unfair. In B.C. we have something called an IRP, and an ADP. An IRP is an ‘Immediate Roadside Prohibition’, which occurs if a driver refuses to provide a breath samples on the side of the road. Tessmer Law recently applied for a review of a IRP, and was successful in setting it aside because the driver had a reason for not blowing. We have also successfully got IRP’s overturned because the officer didn’t explain to a driver he had a right to a second blow in a different device. An Administrative Driving Prohibition is a 90 day driving prohibition that occurs 21 days after the incident, where the driver was required to accompany the officer to the police station to provide a sample of breath into an approved instrument. These instruments provide an actual numerical value to blood alcohol concentration. The paperwork is a little more complicated for the police officers and many times they make mistakes, leading to a quashing of the decision to prohibit the driver from driving.
We also handle simple speeding tickets and other motor vehicle infractions where you can have a trial before a Justice of the Peace, or in some cases a Provincial Court Judge.
The more serious motor vehicle offenses are of course in the Criminal Code of Canada including driving while prohibited, drinking and driving, dangerous driving and criminal negligence causing death. You are entitled to full disclosure of the Crown’s case against you, and all the rights and freedoms provided by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including a trial by jury in the most serious of cases.
Stanley Tessmer was once the center of a story on drinking driving cases in the Vancouver Sun which brought to light his excellence in this area of the law.