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IRP FAQ

Immediate Roadside Prohibition Questions

The Most Successful IRP Law Firm Acumen Law Corporation answers some of the most perplexing questions about IRPs.

If you have just received and IRP, you may want to visit our FAQs – Immediate Roadside Prohibitions page where we answer the questions people have when they first receive an IRP.

I looked at the blue papers the police gave me and I don’t think I will succeed. Is there any point in me having a review?

There is very little information about your case that you can gather from the Notice of Driving Prohibition and Notice of Impoundment. The information we need to assess your case is in the police report, which has been forwarded to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. There are typically 10 to 15 pages of material that we look at to see if you can succeed.

Do I have a criminal record? Is this a criminal charge?

No. You do not have a criminal record, and this is not a criminal charge. It is an administrative suspension that pertains to your driving record. The police may charge you with another criminal charge that arises from the encounter, but they do not lay criminal impaired or over .08 DUI charges if they issued you an IRP.

Can I be charged criminally as a result of this?

No you cannot. The Crown Counsel policy is not to approve criminal charges if an IRP has been issued. The evidence collected in an IRP investigation is much different than that which is required for a criminal investigation. You cannot be criminally convicted of an impaired driving offence on the basis of an approved screening device result.

If I dispute the IRP can things get worse for me? Will the police come back and charge me criminally?

No. You have a legal right to review your IRP. You have a constitutional right to challenge the prohibition and the consequences associated with it. It is not lawful for your punishment to increase as a result of challenging this. You will not face any additional penalties if you dispute the IRP. The police cannot charge you criminally because you disputed the IRP. In most cases, they do not even know that you have filed a review.

How do you fight this for me?

It’s our job and we take it very seriously. When the IRP law was introduced in 2010 we decided to devote ourselves to defending these cases because we believe that it’s wrong to punish people on the basis of roadside breathalyzer tests. We think it’s wrong to punish people before having a trial. So we set out to learn everything we possibly could about the process, the science, the legal principles. We’re smart lawyers. Our hard work paid off and now we succeed in more IRP cases than any other law firm in British Columbia.

I have read the grounds for review and I don’t fall into any of them. Is there any point in having a review?

Unless you have seen the police report and attached documents, you do not know whether you fall into any grounds for review. Only an experienced lawyer who knows the law on IRPs can tell you whether or not you may succeed. There are many technical defences and defences that pertain to the operation, maintenance, and calibration of the breathalyzer device that an inexperienced person may overlook. We are always finding new creative arguments to succeed in IRP hearings.

I have an “N” and I know there’s zero tolerance for “N” drivers. If I win my IRP appeal, does that fix it all?

Yes it does. If the IRP is revoked it cannot be considered by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicle, RoadSafety BC or ICBC to give you a further prohibition. If you win on your IRP review, it does not matter that there is zero tolerance for “N” and “L” drivers. If you succeed on the IRP review, not only do you get to keep driving, get your car back and not have to pay the Government, it clears the suspension from your record.

Will I have to do the Interlock and the Responsible Driver Program because I received an IRP?

Although they will not tell you until you have served most of the 90-day suspension, everyone who receives a 90-day IRP later receives a referral to the RDP. The Interlock requirement is determined by the company who operates the RDP program and RoadSafetyBC once the referral has been made. You can challenge a referral to the remedial programs.

If I am unsuccessful in disputing the IRP am I stuck with the Interlock and Responsible Driver Program?

No. We have been successful at forcing the government to create a review process for referrals to the Ignition Interlock and Responsible Driver Programs. You can visit our page about a reconsideration of a referral to the remedial programs for more information about how we can help you.

My name is not spelled correctly on the IRP form. The officer made a mistake about the type of vehicle I was driving. Will I win?

There are limited grounds for review in an IRP dispute. Unfortunately, mistakes of this kind on the form are not sufficient to dispute an IRP as they do not fall into the review grounds the adjudicator is allowed to consider. These are considered merely “clerical errors” and have no bearing on the issues before the adjudicator in a hearing.

If I have a 90-day driving prohibition, I will lose my job. I have a perfect driving record. Can I argue that the IRP is unfair to me?

Adjudicators are specifically prevented from considering your driving history (except in the case of a second or third Warn IRP) and are not permitted to consider grounds of hardship. The only way to succeed in disputing an IRP is to find an argument that falls into the grounds for review set out in the Motor Vehicle Act. If you do not meet one of these grounds for review, hardship or your driving record will not assist you in your dispute. Only an experienced lawyer can tell you for sure whether or not you have a chance at disputing your IRP.

Is there any way to have the prohibition reduced? What about permitting me to drive for work?

The driving prohibition remains in effect for 90 days, 24 hours a day, seven days a week until it is complete or until the prohibition is revoked. There are no reductions if you receive a 90-day driving prohibition. It is an all-or-nothing dispute process.

If I dispute the driving prohibition, can I still drive until the decision comes?

No. The driving prohibition begins immediately when you are served it and continues until it is revoked or the 90 days end. If you are caught driving while prohibited, you face more significant consequences.

The police violated my Charter rights. Will I succeed?

This is difficult to answer. The application of Charter rights in IRP hearings is done in only a very limited context. An experienced IRP lawyer can assess your case and determine whether or not the violation will assist you in your defence. In many cases, the fact that the police breached your rights will not make a difference because of the limited nature of the hearings.

My friend is a law student/police officer and he told me that I have no defence. Why should I get a lawyer if it won’t do anything?

We see many cases like this. IRP defence is technical and nuanced. A police officer is not your friend and is not interested in helping you defend your case. IRPs are not taught in law school and your friend cannot give you a legal opinion. Only a lawyer experienced in IRP defence will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case. There are many variables that may be overlooked by an inexperienced person who is looking at the evidence. You are doing yourself a disservice to rely on the information of someone who does not deal with these on a regular basis.

You guys seem like mean bastards. Should I be scared to call you?

We’re not mean; we’re just intense. That’s usually a good sign if you’re looking for a lawyer, particularly when the lawyer has the expertise in the particular area of law and the right acumen to develop new arguments. Our job is to advocate for our clients. We’re not mean, but we’re tough.

Can I dispute the impoundment of my vehicle?

Yes. However, prior to filing a dispute of your vehicle impound, you should consult with a lawyer to determine whether or not you have a chance of defeating your driving prohibition. If you successfully dispute your driving prohibition, your vehicle impoundment will also be automatically revoked. Your vehicle will be released from the impound lot and the government will pay for all associated towing and storage fees. Your vehicle will not be released any sooner if you dispute its impoundment separately. In most cases the odds of success are considerably higher in the dispute of the IRP.

I have a Nexus pass. Will they revoke my Nexus because of my IRP?

A 90-day IRP is not a criminal charge so there is no reason that they would pull your Nexus pass because of it. The problem is that there is no way to predict how the government will use your IRP against you in the future. For example, 24-hour driving prohibitions were originally intended to never be used to found future punishment, but now that happens all of the time.

IRP Immediate Roadside Prohibitions from Driving

I received a 90-day Immediate Roadside Driving Prohibition (IRP). Should I dispute it?

Yes. If you do not dispute the prohibition you are deemed to accept it. Normally, when we obtain the Report from RoadSafetyBC, we can tell you whether you will win or lose on the review. We have a vast collection of information on specific breathalyzers that the police use as well as a library of successful driving prohibition review decisions. We also have a collection of all of the police breath testing devices used in BC, including four ASD Approved Screening Devices, the Alco-Sensor FST Breathalyzer and the Intox EC/IR II, as well as the equipment to calibrate and test them. On a successful review, your license will be re-instated, your vehicle returned to you and the storage and towing costs will be paid by the BC Government.

How does ICBC find out about my driving prohibition?

The police officer completes a document called an IRP Notice of Driving Prohibition along with a document called the “Report to Superintendent” and faxes the documents along with others to the ICBC Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, which is also calls itself “RoadSafetyBC.”

How do I dispute the Immediate Roadside Driving Prohibition?

Call our office before you do anything. We can start the procedure over the phone. Once we have the facts of your case, an Application for Review is filed at an ICBC licensing office (ICBC Driver Services).

How long do I have to file my dispute?

You have only seven days to file your Application for Review from the date you are served the IRP Notice of Prohibition. If you miss the deadline, you are deemed to accept the prohibition. Many people miss the deadline date because they have been misinformed about the time period. The dispute period is only seven days. The government will not notify you about all of the punishment and costs coming your way until the 7 -day period has expired.

When will they tell me if I succeed on the review?

A decision is to be rendered within 21 days of the date you received the prohibition. If the adjudicator needs more time, they may release your vehicle and issue you a temporary license. If you need more time to collect the evidence to prove you are innocent, and the matter is adjourned, you will still serve the prohibition. Even if you win following the first scheduled hearing, you will likely serve nearly 3 weeks of wrongful punishment.

Should I get a Lawyer for the IRP Dispute Hearing?

Yes. Government material suggests to people that they do not need a lawyer to challenge the prohibition. In our view, they simply want to reduce the chance that you will identify the arguments that are likely to succeed at the review hearing. You have a much better chance of success if you have a lawyer with expertise in defending driving prohibitions. There are a number of reasons to have a Driving Lawyer represent you for your IRP hearing.

 

  1. An experienced lawyer who defends IRPs knows the law and the defences.
  2. At our law office we have a vast library of material concerning the Approved Screening Devices used in BC.
  3. We have a collection of review decisions dating back to the start of the IRP scheme.
  4. We own and know how to test Approved Screening Devices.
  5. We have the equipment to test and calibrate the police breathalyzers.
  6. We are experienced in deciphering police documents and records.
  7. We know the defences that work.
  8. Only a lawyer has privilege.
  9. Often we find defences that no one else in BC ever dreamed of.

 

When a lawyer makes submissions, his or her statements are not evidence. The disputant who conducts their own hearing runs the risk of providing evidence that is used against them to uphold the prohibition.

 

We have accumulated an extensive library of unpublished material on individual ASDs, unpublished IRP review decisions as well as material from the RCMP, various police departments, scientific journals and other organizations that we selectively use to challenge IRPs.

If you haven’t found your question answered here, please visit our FAQs – Immediate Roadside Prohibitions page where we answer the questions people have when they first receive an IRP.

 

We have provided this IRP FAQ to help our guests with some accurate answers to their questions about 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions. If we can be of assistance with any driving matter, DUI or driving prohibition, please give us a call at 604-685-8889 in Vancouver, 604-370-3050 in Richmond, 604-593-8580 in Surrey, 250-384-0100 in Victoria.

IRP FAQ was last modified: by