Governing Legislation and Resources for Motor Vehicle Law (13:II)

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Motor vehicle law in BC is governed by several different pieces of legislation. This section briefly outlines these sections, and more information on the operation of this legislation is contained throughout the chapter.

A. Motor Vehicle Act

The Motor Vehicle Act, RSBC 1996, c 318, or “Motor Vehicle Act”, is the primary piece of provincial legislation (law) that creates offences related to operating a motor vehicle in British Columbia. The Motor Vehicle Act is a lengthy act, and it is not possible to provide a complete summary of all of its provisions in this chapter. This chapter endeavours to provide a summary of the most common Motor Vehicle Act issues, and to provide resources for further research.

B. Other Provincial Acts/ Regulations

C. Criminal Code

The Canadian Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, is the federal legislation that sets out most of the criminal offences in Canada, in ss 320.11 to ss. 320.4. The Criminal Code sets out several criminal offences related to driving, details of which are set out later in this chapter. Further information on criminal offences and procedures in general can be found in Chapter 1: Criminal Law.

It is worth noting, as discussed above, that there is significant overlap between the Criminal Code driving offences and the Motor Vehicle Act. In appropriate circumstances, the Crown may stay the proceedings under federal (criminal) legislation if the accused is prepared to plead guilty to a corresponding or similar charge under provincial legislation. This is often in the accused’s best interest if the Crown has a strong case as no criminal record will result upon conviction of a provincial offence.

D. Resources

1. Online Resources

a) BC Ministry of Transportation/RoadSafetyBC Website

The Ministry, including its agency RoadSafetyBC, provides a wealth of online information on motor vehicle law, including information on the Motor Vehicle Act, driving prohibitions and suspensions.

Online Website

b) ICBC Website

The ICBC website provides information on driver licensing.

Online Website

c) University of Victoria Law Centre Guide to Defending Traffic Tickets

Although out of date, the Law Centre’s summary provides a useful overview of the process for disputing a Violation Ticket.

Online Website

2. Services

d) Lawyer Referral Service

The Lawyer Referral Service, operated by the Access Pro Bono Society of BC, can provide referrals to lawyers practising in the area of your issue. The first 30-minute consultation is free, with fees after that point agreed between the lawyer and the client.

Individuals with specific questions related to motor vehicle law, or who are concerned about the effect of a ticket or conviction on them, should consult with a lawyer practising in the area.

Online Website
Phone 604-687-3221

Toll-free: 1-800-663-1919

e) Legal Services Society/Legal Aid

Legal Aid is available to individuals who are faced with significant consequences after a criminal conviction. These include jail time, or immigration complications that could lead to deportation. Legal Aid is also available where individuals have a physical or mental condition, illness, or disability that makes it impossible for an individual to represent themselves.

Online Website
Phone 604-408-2172

Toll-free: 1-866-577-2525

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

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