Avoiding Penalty Points

Violation Ticket TopOne of the recurring themes among DriveSmartBC correspondents involves avoiding penalty points after a driver has received a traffic ticket for committing a hazardous moving violation. Often the driver realizes that they have erred and are willing to pay the fine but want to avoid having penalty points assessed for the transgression. Avoiding penalty points is particularly important to drivers in the Graduated Licencing program who will be prohibited from driving at a low point threshold, but professional drivers and those with a poor driving record are also concerned.

Penalty points are essentially a score keeping method for assigning the level of risk associated with a hazardous moving violation. Disobeying a red light at an intersection is 2 points, speeding is 3 points, careless driving is 6 points and impaired driving is 10 points for example. ICBC and RoadSafetyBC use the penalty point total associated to a driving record to assess penalty point premiums or to impress driving prohibitions, the total cost or length of which depends on the number of penalty points accumulated during a period of time.

To state the obvious, the best way to avoid penalty points is not to be the recipient of a violation ticket in the first place. However, once you have a traffic ticket in hand, there are really only two ways to avoid penalty points. The first is to try and convince the officer who issued it to you to withdraw it and the second is to have the ticket dismissed in court. Once convicted, either through paying the penalty or having been found guilty at trial penalty points will be assessed. The justice cannot impose a fine but reduce or eliminate penalty points.

One other alternative is to agree to a plea bargain with the officer prior to your ticket dispute hearing. An example of this might be if you were charged with careless driving (which carries a fine of $368 and 6 points) you may be able to convince the officer to accept a guilty plea to an included offence with a higher fine and fewer points. Some officers are not comfortable with doing this, but there is no harm in trying.

Reference Links:


A flaw in the points system.

There is a problem wth their system of imposing suspensions based on points received over a period of time.  The problem is drivers who routinely drive a high number of miles compared to the average driver.  I received a suspension oh so many years ago and successfully argued the issue with the Superintendent.

My argument was that at the time I drove 5 times the number of miles in a year then the average driver but did not receive 5 time the number of points.  I backed this up with documents related to the vehicles I owned or drove in the period the points were accumulated. The Superintendtent (his designate) at the time bought the theory. While the suspension was not recinded they did reduce it by one third. 

I still to this day drive far more miles than the average driver but age and I think a less conspicuous vehicle have saved me from collecting points at a rate worthy of notice.  (Knocking on wood). 

Another way to avoid Penalty Points

Another way to avoid Penalty Points is to have the officer agree to amend the original ticket to a Registered Owner offense instead of a Driver offense in return for a Guilty plea. The fine stays the same but no Penalty Points are accessed...similar to a Red Light Camera violation.

Penalty points indicate a risky driver

A point not mentioned directly is the insurance aspect of penalty points.

Yes the point system is a "score keeping method of assigning the level of risk associated with a hazardous moving violation".

That "risk" associates, not only safety of others, but also to insurance.

In other jurisdiction we hear mention of, "if I get a ticket my car insurance will (premium) go up".

ICBC doesn't increase the premium on a vehicle when it's owner or principle operator is convicted of driving offences, ICBC charges each driver more using penalty points.

If police, play "Let's Make a Deal", they are circumventing the system in place where risky drivers pay more.  Police agreeing to lower a charge or charge a "driver" as "a registered owner" do this for whatever perceived reason for the violator, but are also doing a disservice to the balance of motorists, who's yearly premium will have to make up that amount.

The logic of a constable feeling that it would be appropriate to take such action is beyond me.

Police have been placed in a situation that is really outside their area of responsibility, by acting the part of prosecutor on traffic matters. 

Evidence of these types of "plea bargaining" demonstrates that.

Perhaps a level of oversight has to be created before this type of activity increases.

Would we agree with a crown prosecutor negotiating a plea bargain because an accused complained that they didn't want to pay such a large fine ?

As for high mileage drivers feeling they should be rewarded with an increased threshold for penalty point ???

Ridiculous.  The number of infractions a driver commits, per day, per week, per whatever, increases the risks to all, no matter how many or how few KMs they drive.  If you are "prone" to disobeying traffic laws and driving is part of your job, perhaps you should rethink your choice of jobs.

You may be a "professional driver" by the fact that it is part of your job to drive, but you are not a professional.

Re: my5cents

In some cases the Crown evidence is so thin - it makes sense for the officer to have a cooperating disputant agree for the "registered owner" charge as the alternative would be having all the charges thrown out.

If the evidence is thin...

The correct action to take in that case is to call no evidence.

If the case was being handled by a crown prosecutor and he/she was aware that there was not enough evidence to convict they would not accept a plea they would drop the case.

You've proven my point that police should not act as their own prosecutors.

Google Ads