Q&A - Novice Driver & Impaired Driving

New Driver Signs 2011Hi, I am a 17 yr old high school student. I live in British Columbia. I have a novice driver's license and I got pulled over when I was drunk. I blew a fail and got a 90 days suspension. I also have to pay more than $1700.

my question is where do they expect me to get that kind of money? I am only a high school student and my parents were not helping me since I was in grade 10.

is there any chance to reduce the amount?

I have been freaking out, thinking about it all night. I couldn't sleep since I got caught and I've been thinking about suicide,

I am so hopeless. Am I ever gonna get my license back?



There are methods of contacting the superintendent for a review and some standard "hardships" that may be applied to shorten the period.
You should read this site carefully and use search, DriveSmartBC has covered these topics many times.

Unfortunately since you are an N driver, and you were caught with FAIL - you will have an extreme prejudice against you by the reviewers.

Ultimately such fines are not barred by any statute of limitations - they will remain on your record and will be due whenever you request a driver's license or insurance (unlike insurance debts). You can still own a vehicle (i.e. be the owner on the regie), but you will not be able to drive it or insure it under your name.

My first recommendation would be for you to contact legal experts - Paul Doroshenko from Acumen Law imho is a good one.
A free consultation is definitely worth your time in this case.

As well, being a young guy, this puts you in a precarious position - most of the non-minimum wage jobs available to young guys at the easy-entry level would require some sort of transportation or license - so personally I would advise that you prepare to stick it out until you are in-position to pay off your debt and meanwhile develop the skills and experience for jobs that do not require license/car.

CSR, Sales, Marketing and Warehousing may be your forte for the next however long it takes.

P.S. Should you decide to drive while prohibited - you will get a criminal record and the car you were driving will be impounded for 3 months. If you are caught driving once your prohibition expires, your car will be impounded for 7 days, and you will get a ticket for no driver's license, and you will need somebody with a license to pick it up from the impound. Get caught 3 times driving with no license - you'll get a much longer prohibition, and the impound times will be extended. Also - you pay about $70 per day of impound (for "storage fees") - so if you get impunded for 3 months - be ready to gift the car you were driving to the impound lot.


Ethan, in your situation I would recommend you call ICBC Licensing in Victoria 1.800.950.1498 and speak to someone directly about your situation.

You should be prepared, I think, to voluntarily surrender your Driving License for now - you might as well, they're going to suspend or prohibit you anyway, given the circumstances - and explain the situation to them, asking for their recommendations on how to best proceed.  Don't even consider getting behind the wheel of an automobile again until all of this is effectively dealt with and you're at the point some time in the future where you once again hold a valid license; this is going to take a while, but that's the consequence of your actions.  But you must not put yourself or anybody else at any further risk by driving without a valid license, because the consequences of that could be utterly devastating.

If you haven't got $1,700 then heck, they can't get it out of you, that simple.  But what they potentially could do is start adding interest at a considerable rate per year, and you need to mitigate the damage as much as possible.  The fact that you're not an adult may work in your favour.

You should probably contact the Ministry of Children & Families; the least they should be able to do is provide you with some solid counselling with regard to your situation.  You might also talk to someone at Enquiry BC and ask for advice on any other government support that may be available, they will have that information and knowledge and get you connected.

I realize that things must look bleak for you right now, but you should realize how fortunate it is that you didn't injure or kill anyone, and understand that in years to come things will only get better; have faith in the future, I mean this.


To add to Competent's post and mine

I do not believe that there will be interest charged on the actual fines - at least not in my experience.

But to add to my post, the main point of why you should not drive: No Insurance

You personally will not be covered with-out a valid license, you will not be covered for damages to your passengers, and will not be covered for the damage to 3rd parties in a potential accident regardless of fault. ICBC will pay out generously on your behalf and will charge potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to your "tab". They will pursue you for the debts in such case - meaning they will take you to court - the Judge will make an order against you. If you fail to pay (hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions potentially) - ICBC will ask court to go after your wages, your assets, your inheritance or any other worth-while entitlements. And, there will be interest charged on those additional monies and you will owe court costs, recovery costs and administrative fees.

I still say, before you talk personally to any officials in the ICBC or The Office Of Superintendent of Motor Vehicles - talk to lawyers.
Recently there were several dozens of proven cases of defective breathalyzers used - and lots of convictions got repealed.
Even if the breathalyzer used on you was fully functional there are other "straws" that lawyers have been able to grab on.

It may be perceived somewhat unethical to run to lawyers to save your skin, but this is what every one of the people at ICBC or RCMP would do (and have done) in your situation - that's the rules of the game - you owe a duty to yourself to protect your interest. Every successful person in the world will second that notion - despite some maybe calling it low, unethical or "don't do the crime if you can't do the time" crowd.

Also, I in no way support getting into a vehicle drunk, and should your conviction be proven through legal process with all your options and "straws" exhausted - I support the punishment you are entitled to receive.

Another personal note


Keep in-mind, nothing that ever happens to you is the end of the world, except for the actual end of the world - fat chance - its been here before us - and has a great chance to remain after us.

I think your best course of action to remedy the situation, aside from a free legal consultation, is getting a stable job. $1,700 seems like a lot of money for a 17 years old, and it really is - no matter the age. If you ever feel so inclined and are interested in working inbound call centre CSR, or light duty warehousing, you can pass along your updated resume to DriveSmarBC and Cst. Tim, being a super nice man he is, will forward it to my e-mail, and I'll make sure to get in-touch.

There's more to impaired driving than fines and losing licence

Suicide? I don't mean to be mean-spirited, but really you should be jumping up and down for joy. Had you gotten into an accident you would have been liable to pay any damage out of your own pocket, cause INSURANCE DOESN'T COVER DRINKING DRIVERS! (They pay the money to the victim, then try to collect off you, for the rest of your life.) Could easily have been $17,000 for damage to your parents' or another vehicle, plus you would likely be charged with a criminal offence and end up with a criminal record. Then how would you feel? But the worst case scenario is if you got into an accident and severely injured or killed another person. In that case, you could have been facing jail, a criminal record, and $1.7 million in damages. Then how would you feel? By the way, the money you owe is probably just the beginning to get your licence back. You will also be expected to take a Responsible Driving Program, which you have to pay out of your own pocket. There's another $900. Then they'll make you instal an ignition lock, which requires you to blow into a device sober in order to start the vehicle. Another $2,500. Then they tack on demerit points which you have to pay on top of regular insurance. A few more thousand dollars. (These demerits go away if you surrernder your licence and wait a few years.) You may be able to avoid some of those consequences by simply not driving until you are older (and taking an approved driver training course.)

You didn't kill anyone, you're not in jail, and you don't owe hundreds of thousands of dollars, so you got off VERY easy. Thank your lucky stars it wasn't WAY worse.

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