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Challenge Speeding Tickets with Your Rights as a Citizen – No More!

This blog entry was jumpstarted by my leisure reading of a very well written article, “B.C. moves to eliminate court trials for traffic violations – Process criticized for stripping motorists of constitutional rights”, by Ian Mulgrew in the Province on April 8, 2015.

This Blog is meant to elaborate and expand on some of the fundamental issues already addressed in that article with the proposed changes to Our Provincial Laws in regard to the Motor Vehicle Act.

It not intended to provide legal advice but only opinion on a prevalent topic in criminal law.

The Ministry of Justice will be initiating a two-phase change to MVA infractions.

1. There will be a new Electronic Ticketing and Online Payment System. (In the Process)

2. A new administrative hearing system (On Its way with no definitive date)

Basic Framework

1. Dispute Resolution

2. A less fair but more “efficient” trial process without the right of appeal or Judicial Review. 

Unintended Consequences

While the new adjudicative process intends to target our most dangerous drivers and deal with them in a faster and more efficient manner. Ironically the new MVA framework has the potential to over penalize drivers within the penalty point system via minor infractions that attract points but do not necessarily indicate “dangerous” driving.

Citing Accessibility To Citizens

The Provincial Government has made their stance clear, your rights protected by the Charter have a cost element, and the Provincial Government does not think the existing costs warrant protecting those enshrined rights.

The Ministry of Justice cites that Citizens will have greater “accessibility”. Basically, the Ministry intends to make the system for pleading guilty and taking your penalty, faster and more efficient.

On the flip side of the coin, anyone who wishes to seek relief given their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or has a valid defence for their actions; their Accessibility to a fair process is being significantly constrained by the proposed administrative process.

Adjudicator’s under the new IRP system are by no way unbiased as they are appointed by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicle’s and have very little experience understanding the rules of evidence or the trial process.

Under the new proposed system, the officer who wrote the ticket is not even the person who needs to submit the report for a hearing, any other officer may do so on their behalf. Basically the written ticket is the only piece of evidence that need be submitted on their behalf.

The issue becomes, when penalties exist with points that can result in civil liability, forfeiture orders, license suspensions, driving prohibitions, and future criminal sanctions with the potential for Jail time, should we not be valuing the system that has the teeth to create serious impacts on our citizens day to day lives?

Why Now? Why not Wait?

With the Initial Roadside Prohibition Legislation currently being challenged in the Supreme Court of Canada because of its use of Administrative Law to tackle a Criminal Law problem, why is the provincial government rolling out a similar system to deal with the Motor Vehicle Act?

Simply put, if BC’s IRP legislation is struck down by our highest court the new MVA legislation likely faces the same fate.

Why not wait until they know there new system has a likelihood of withstanding constitutional challenge?

While the Provincial Government cites “system efficiencies” to justify implementing the system for Motor Vehicle Act Offences. It is entirely inefficient to be rolling out Phase 2 when it has uncertain potential to be challenged and struck down.

What will it cost tax payers when the BC Government has spent money to rollout a program destined to fail? I am sure we will never be privy to that number without an Freedom of Information Act Request, should that be the result.

 

Comments and Information appreciated-

Zack Myers

 

 

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