Review of Immediate Roadside Prohibitions

Scales of JusticeThe most significant concern apparent to me with regard to the new Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in BC is that the police are seen to be the judge and jury at roadside. This has been the case since the creation of the roadside prohibition many years ago, the only thing that has changed is the size of the penalty. Few people seem to be aware that this action is subject to review both by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and the courts.

There are three valid grounds for appeal of an IRP action: you did not operate or have can and control of the vehicle, your breath test did not register a warn or a fail and you either did not refuse or had a reasonable excuse for refusing to provide a breath sample. The Superintendent's adjudicator will not consider other reasons for review.

On application for review you will be provided with a copy of the police information that the adjudicator will consider. You may present your case either in writing or when permitted at an oral review. The decision will have one of three outcomes: the driving prohibition is revoked, the period of prohibition is changed or the prohibition is confirmed.

Fees and monetary penalties may be changed or refunded depending on the success of your review.

If you do not agree with the Superintendent's decision, you may apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a review. If you are successful here, the court will state the reasons that the decision is set aside and remit the matter to the Superintendent for a rehearing.

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Yes, judge and jury.  Whatever happened to having to have "reasonable cause"?  If I am not pulled over for any other reason other than a roadside check, do not smell like alcohol, do not have open alcohol in my possession and have indicated that I have not had anything to drink what right to law enforcement officiers have to make me blow? 


Until the federal government allows random breath testing, there currently are no grounds to demand a breath sample unless the officer can form a reasonable suspicion that you have alcohol in your body.

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I imagine the lower limit should make a difference in driving habits. All the better. I see it is possible to have a charge overturned by the courts.

This still makes a cop judge and jury though and how many could afford to go to court? I think the new laws are excellent. I am biased though as I don't drink at all so have no worries. With what you are allowed to contest with it will be hard to get a fair hearing. The Superintendant seems to want to "rubber stamp" anything the cops do. This is not fair and puts a lot of pressure on the cop to make a snap decision. Then again what do the cops care, it is just another day at the office.


Why would you think that the Superintendent uses a rubber stamp? I know of instances from my service where this is definitely not the case.

There really aren't any snap decisions to make here. You do the test, see the result and then apply what the Motor Vehicle Act requires you to do by law.

Again, in my experience there are a lot of cops out there who do care a lot about what happens to people while they are at work and after work as well.

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