Driving While Prohibited (13:XI)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 21, 2020.

It is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act s 95(1)(a) to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or industrial road knowing that they are prohibited from doing so under:

  • ss 91 (prohibition issued by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for an unsatisfied court judgment),
  • 92 (prohibition against driving relating to fitness or ability to drive),
  • 93 (prohibition issued by Superintendent in the public interest),
  • 94.2 (driving prohibition for driving while impaired by alcohol or refusing to provide a breath sample without reasonable excuse),
  • 215 (24 hour impaired driving prohibition),
  • 215.43 (immediate roadside driving prohibition), or
  • 251(4) (prohibition for driving while failing to hold a license, or while an impoundment notice was issued on the license).

Then the person commits an offence and is liable:

  • on a first conviction, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $2 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both, and
  • on a subsequent conviction, regardless of when the contravention occurred, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $2 000 and to imprisonment for not less than 14 days and not more than one year.
  • The individual's driving record will also be blemished and they will receive a 10 point Motor Vehicle Act infraction on their record.

The term “knowingly” means that Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged knew that they were prohibited from driving. However, service of a prohibition certificate by registered mail, per Motor Vehicle Act s 95(4)(a) constitutes constructive knowledge, even in cases where the accused never reads the driving prohibition: R v Wall, 2010 BCPC 316.

The prohibited driver’s vehicle will likely be impounded if caught driving while prohibited. For more information on vehicle impoundment, please see https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/driving-prohibitions-suspensions/prohibitions-and-suspensions/caught-driving-while-prohibited.

It is advisable that individuals charged with Driving While Prohibited seek out legal advice from a lawyer. It is possible to work out a plea deal with the Crown Counsel to a lesser included offence of Driving Without a Licence pursuant to s 24(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act. The benefits of this resolution are that:

  • There is no statutory minimum driving prohibition;
  • No minimum fine amount; and
  • The individual's driving record will only be blemished with a 3 point Motor Vehicle Act infraction on their record.
© Copyright 2020, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.

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