Q&A - Worth disputing the penalty for use of electronic device while driving?

Q&A ImageFirst the background. Got pulled over last week for checking a message on my cell phone. Traffic was bumper to bumper and not moving. The reason I checked my phone was, I let someone I had a meeting with know I would not be able to make it because of the traffic. I rarely ever pick up my phone when I'm driving. I have been driving since the late 70's and this is only the second time I've ever been pulled over and given a ticket. The last time I was pulled over and issued a ticket was over 30 years  ago. So the fine is $167 plus 3 points. I'm willing to pay for the monetary part of the fine since I did check my phone but having 3 points on my license for 5 years seems excessive. Would it be worth it to dispute the penalty point of the ticket based on my driving record? Is the court able to reduce the penalty?


Before you proceed, know

Before you proceed, know this:

It is an automatic offense to touch a cell-phone while driving in BC. So says the law.

Burnaby Mayor found guilty of distracted driving

At any dispute you have the following options:

1) Plea not guilty
- Go though trial
- Listen to the evidence
- Ask witness (officer issuing the ticket) questions based on their testimony
- Cast doubt on the witness testimony
- Offer your own account of the events

2) Ask for time to pay
This option is available either if you plea guilty or not, but you can skip the trial and get to the bargaining
You will have to offer reasonable public explanation into your finances

3) Ask to plea as the vehicle owner
This option requires cooperation of the officer issuing the ticket - they will likely not cooperate if they feel that the trial is in their favor - but you can always attempt to bargain about it with the officer before the court session.

If you have no points on your license, the 3 points will not affect you, unless your total with-in 5 years is over 3, in which case you will have to pay a single Driver Penalty Point Premium.

You will not be able to reduce the fine, its a statutory minimum - presiding Justice of Peace cannot make it smaller, but in some cases they can change the charge to a similar befitting offense with a smaller fine. (i.e. when speeding is with-in 40km/h over - they may charge you for a lower bracket offense up to 39km/h). I don't think there is anything befitting a distracted driving offense.

How gullible are you?

Look, I don't want to get into a head-on argument with another participant here, but your statement 'It's the law' - is misleading inasmuch as it provides a link to a Vancouver Sun article, not the relevant section of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan used to be a lawyer, and made a nice try at a defense.  The judge didn't buy it, and neither do I; the dude was not holding his cell phone while driving because he forgot to put it down, eh?

Separately, I believe the '5-year' reference was not in regard to the demerit points per se, but the length of time that the offense will show up on a Driver Abstract.  It's my guess that the OP is not bothered so much by the fine or other penalties, but by the time it will take before he/she can once again show a 'clean sheet'.

Meanwhile, do you know the difference between a dead skunk lying in the road, and a dead lawyer lying in the road?

Skidmarks before the skunk ...  

Not sure what you are trying

Not sure what you are trying to not argue about - holding a cellphone while driving is a no-no and will get you a ticket - simple enough I think.

Regarding the skunk - was speeding a factor?



You can't dispute points. You either get them (guilty) or you don't (not guilty).

You can dispute the fine and the JJP may choose to lower it.

I won't say more about either of these as they are already discussed elsewhere in the forum.


Thanks|Outrageous for the

Thanks|Outrageous for the options. I saw option 3 when I was doing research but wasn't sure how cooperative the cop would be, but that seems to be my best bet as JP as no power to do away with the points. Also not sure what charge the JP could change it to which would have no points.  Or I could just save myself the hassle and just pay up as I have never had points on my license :)

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