Why many people lose their IRP hearing
We collect a lot of internal BC Government documents by various means. Most of the documents that we obtain are from RoadSafetyBC dealing with IRP Immediate Roadside Prohibitions for drunk driving.
The BC Government is downright gleeful about it. You see, it’s a trick. It catches most people who get an IRP. Not only is it a trick, it’s a trap.
It’s fascinating what we learn pouring through internal Government documents. For example, in the most recent big story about unlawfully issued IRPs that we broke a few weeks ago, the material obtained indicated that the Government spent countless hours trying to figure out how to mislead the public in case the secret ever got out. We had pages and pages of working documents drafted to help the Justice Minister spin the story to the media.
The Segers disclosure
In the days after we completed our submissions in the BC Supreme Court test case on whether Segers applies to IRPs, the Government disclosed documents that revealed what’s really going on when it comes to the issues in that case. It was deceitful to disclose, after the hearing had taken place, the evidence that the Court needed to make the right decision. The Government plays dirty pool so often that they don’t even seem to know right from wrong.
Still, we learned a lot from that particular package of disclosure including why many people lose their IRP hearing. The BC Government is downright gleeful about it. You see, it’s a trick. It catches most people who get an IRP. Not only is it a trick, it’s a trap.
Why many people lose their IRP hearing
It’s the saddest thing. But the reason why many people lose their IRP hearing is because they don’t file for review in the 7-day period.
That may seem like a difficult connection, but stay with us as we explain. The numbers bear this out.
In any given month about 1500 people are issued an Immediate Roadside Prohibition in British Columbia. Of that, only about 300 people apply for a review of their IRP. Of that 300, about 30% to 50% are successful on review.
That’s a huge number of successful reviews.
(Noteworthy is that if you took our office out of the calculation the success rate would drop to half that. Our win rate is better than double the average; an average that is inflated because of our win rate.)
Implications of the overall success rate
Think about that overall success rate for a second. Say 301 people sought reviews of their IRPs, as was the case in August 2015. And 109 were successful, as was the case in August. That means that the success rate was better than 35%.
Now, what about the 1177 people who didn’t apply for a review? The success rate for them is zero. If you don’t apply for a review you can’t win.
What would happen if those 1177 people did apply for a review? Well, first thing you need to assume is that the rate would remain the same. Guilt or innocence are rarely issues that decide IRP cases. The scheme isn’t particularly good at sorting out guilt or innocence. Usually we succeed on issues that are random in the sense that the police or the Government aren’t good at correcting or identifying them, they’re unusual in that you may not have seen the same issue before or after, and they’re technical meaning, for example that blowing two Fails doesn’t stack the case against you.
We figure that the average win rate would be higher except that most people who try to conduct the review themselves miss the actual issues in their case and try instead to argue compassionate grounds.
Most people succeed for unexpected reasons
In most IRP reviews we succeed for a reason that the average person would never figure out and often for reasons that are completely counter-intuitive.
Whether there will be such an issue in any given IRP case falls to an essentially random distribution. That being the case, you can assume that the win rate will stay near the average of between 30% and 50%. So if more people filed for reviews, more people would be successful. Which means that for August perhaps more than 400 people in BC ended up with IRPs who could have won on review.
Isn’t that sad? In reality why many people lose their IRP hearing is simply because they didn’t put up a fight.
Let’s look at some of the tragic numbers.
In June 2015, BC police issued 1328 IRP suspensions. Of those 272 people applied for review of their IRP. The success rate in June 2015 for the province was about 47%. What that means is about 490 more people could have won in June if they challenged their IRP.
Lets go back to May 2015 when the win rate was smaller. In that month BC police issued 1561 IRPs for DUI in BC. Of that only 264 people applied for review of their IRP. 94 people succeeded in a decision rendered that month, so about 35%.
Do the math and about 450 people ended up with an IRP they could have avoided if they challenged the prohibition. In July the number is about 490 and in August about 420.
So the reason why many people lose their IRP hearing is that they don’t fight the IRP. In fact, most people lose because they don’t fight it.
Meanwhile, the Government is delighted
We learned in the Segers issue disclosure that the Government is delighted about the fact that most people miss the 7 days to apply for the review of their IRP. The Government wins because people are ignorant of the process.
The disclosure talks about how most people are confused about the time period. It talks about how the Government takes advantage of the confusion to discourage people from applying for a review.
It’s really dirty.
Last week Sacha succeeded in a 90-day IRP review in which the officer lectured our client not to bother trying to challenge the IRP because they always completed the paperwork correctly. We’re thumbing our nose at that officer at this very minute.
We think it’s dishonest and beyond dirty for the Government to set up a trick and take advantage of it. That’s what they’ve done with the confusing and ridiculously short 7-day period to apply for a review.
Tell your friends: dispute that IRP!