Convicted in Alberta — can I drive in B.C.?

The basis of this story comes from an inquiry posed by a young man who moved to Alberta for work and was convicted for drinking and driving.

The basis of this story comes from an inquiry posed by a young man who moved from B.C. to Alberta for work and was convicted for drinking and driving.

He lost his job and was forced to move back home. The Justice of the Peace at the courthouse in Alberta advised that his driving prohibition was for the province of Alberta and that this should not stop him from obtaining a B.C. driver’s licence when he returned home. The Justice of the Peace was not correct.

Anyone who is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle by the law of a province and drives commits an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Put more simply, if you are prohibited from driving by the law of any province, you are prohibited from driving anywhere in Canada. If you choose to drive and are convicted, you will have a criminal record.

When this young man visits an ICBC Driver Service Centre to regain his B.C. driver’s licence he will be asked if he is currently prohibited from driving in another jurisdiction. If he answers honestly a check will be made with the Alberta authorities. The confirmed impaired driving conviction will be entered on his driving record and he will be automatically prohibited from driving in B.C. for one year from the date of the Alberta conviction. If he lies and is caught, other criminal sanctions will result.

Continuing to drive without a licence, prohibited or not, will only serve to make the problem worse. There are significant fines, possible jail sentences, vehicle impounds and further prohibitions.

While the consequences of this young man’s poor decision look significant for him, it is nothing in comparison to the potential harm his choice presented to both himself and others. Driving while impaired by alcohol, legal or illegal drugs is still far too common on our highways. Never drive while your abilities are impaired.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. More: drivesmartbc.ca

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