Disputing use of electronic device ticket in hope of penalty reduction

Hi all,

I hold a N license and got a voilation ticket for the use of electronic device (I looked at the phone at a red light and got caught :( )

I filed a late dispute for this ticket accepting the allegation but requesitng a penatly reduction on my so far clean driving record.
With the recent changes in rules, the ticket now comes with 4 penalty points whihch will trigger dirving prohibition for 3 months ( New drivers with more than 3 points are sent a letter by the Superintendent of Police with an intent to prhibit from driving for 3 months )

I now have a court date for May 30th and every lawyer I talk to regarding this case tells me I should not have agreed to the offence in first place and should have disputed the alegation becuase the court cannot reduce the points, the points come with the ticket : which makes sense. But, when I had called ICBC to know about the repurcussions of this ticket before disputing, one of the ICBC call centre agents herself suggested me to dispute the ticket, accept my mistake and request a reduction in the points . In retrospective, I feel I should not acted just on one advice. 

I am ready to pay the fine but find the penalty points and consequent prohibtion extreme :( . Not to mention how it will reset my GLP clock (I am due to take the class 5 test in Feb 2018)

Now that I have already accepted the allegation, what options do I have to get the penalty points reduced. I am considering: 

1) If the police offier shows up : Acknowledge my mistake and request the police officer  to A) best case : withdraw the ticket B) Atleast change the ticket from driver to registered owner. I am also planning to take the defensive driving course to try and present how seriously I took this. But my question is :

  • Since I have already accepted the allegation, will either A or B I mentioned above help me with reduction in points and make the acceptance in my dispute affidavit void?
  • In case of B) will I then still have to proceed with trial? 

2) If the police officer doesn't show up : I guess I would then be left with no options to get the points reduced and can only try and plead to the judge . Are there any other opitons in this case? 

3) One lawyer even mentioned I might be held in contempt of court for requesting reduction in pentaly points. Is that true? I find that unreasonable , how can being truthful about one's offence be taken in the wrong side :/ . I feel the lawyer was trying to scare me into paying him $1000 for represneting the case. 

I would grealty appreciate any advise on this matter. The consequent prohibition if things dont go well  is really stressing me out as I have my grandmother visiting in a couple of months. So not having the license to get her around will suck :(





Successful defense against an allegation starts at the scene.
As a driver of a motor vehicle in BC you are required by law to carry a driver's license and proof of insurance and to hand it over upon request as well as to state to the attending Police officer, truthfully, your name and address. That is it.

Failure/refusal to hand over & state your name and address can be potentially treated as obstruction of justice; but any extra information like admission of guilt will be very welcomed by the Police officer. They will also be open to hear any other admissions of crimes and misdeeds, and will gladly press charges for any admissions that they have reasonable cause to believe to be truthful.

They love talking to you, because with the every extra word you say you are incriminating yourself deeper and deeper. Hint: Don't talk past what is required. Politely decline to comment on any further questions, citing that anything you may say could be used against you in a court of law. Don't answer direct questions other than your name and address, politely decline: I'm sorry officer I cannot answer questions about the allegation because anything I may say could be used against me in a court of law.

Now, here's where I think that lawyer may've gotten the vibe about the contempt of court, and it may not relate to "asking to remove penalty points", it's a little more complex than that. You are an admitted offender. You have relinquished any bargaining power the moment you said you did it. If you act as if your admission of guilt is in any way honorable or constitutes some sort of valuable consideration that should be reciprocated by some kind of a concession, you are either very naive or very bold. Being bold in the courtroom without merit = contempt of court. The only way to rid yourself of these points is to either be found not-guilty or to plead guilty as the registered owner (the car has to be under your name, otherwise the owner would have to also agree to the charge). The officer would have to agree to charge you as the registered owner, and they would have to fill out a physical form for you.

They may consider to agree to do that for you, in-exchange for you pleading guilty, and because the allegation against you maybe a bit fuzzy - not a sure bet - so to save themselves the trouble of potentially letting you walk, they might think that filling out a form is not that bad of a prospect as compared to presenting a case against you. However, since you've given away your only bargaining chip - admission of guilt - there is no incentive for either the Police officer or the judge to pander to your groundless demands; especially when it comes to filling paper forms with an actual pen.

Neither the judge nor the officer owe you anything, but you do, and, you know, you're a new driver who was touching a cell-phone while dirving. And it's not like thats a recent change, so you know, distracted driving is touted as the 2nd or 3rd most common reason for road deaths in BC.

Also, the officer not showing up is a myth from years ago. Nowadays the court schedules cases by officer - they aren't there just for you.

I think if you ask the officer to dismiss your ticket in this case they will probably say "How about NO?"

Research, Then Ask

Quite a bit of this has been dealt with here in the forums already. I will encourage you to use search and do some reading on your own first.

Since you have a court date set I expect that you can change your plea to not guilty at that time. Make sure that you tell the officer when you arrive for court so that this is not a surprise.

Odd that the lawyer would suggest contempt. I would not be hiring them.

My best guess ...

There doesn't seem to be any mitigating reason for the penalty to change, particularly as you're an 'N' driver. In some ways, the (unusual) 4-demerit penalty was aimed at Class 7 drivers, to dissuade mobile phone use by those with the least driving experience.

There's no logical reason to shift the responsibility to the vehicle owner - you're the one who had the phone in his hand.

If the police officer doesn't show up, and you have contested the allegation, then it might get thrown out (probably would, is my guess). But if you have accepted the allegation then that point is moot.

'Superintendent of Police' ? Perhaps, the OSMV aka RoadSafetyBC would be the relevant authority.

If you've managed to drive for 15 months without receiving any other ticket, and wish to have the three month prohibition changed/reduced/suspended then that would be the agency with the discretion to do so, should they be inclined to for some reason. You would need to appeal to them.

But I figure you're probably toast, to be honest.


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