Officers write tickets to drivers rather than owners for a reason

A few thoughts from Tim Schewe on traffic tickets.

A few thoughts on traffic tickets:

Arrest someone, fight with them, throw them in jail and see them through to penalty in criminal court seems to be business as usual for the police, but write someone a traffic ticket and it’s like you’ve called their mother a bad name.

Those drivers who admit to an error are willing to pay the price of the ticket as long as they don’t get any penalty points.

The trouble is, if you plead not guilty and are found to be, the justice presiding has no control over penalty points. They are assessed by ICBC in response to the conviction.

The only way to avoid penalty points is to be convicted as the registered owner of the vehicle involved in the offence rather than as the driver.

Police officers write tickets to drivers rather than registered owners for a good reason.

Bad driving behaviour deserves to be recorded so that the driver can be dealt with appropriately if they continue disregard the rules. Registered owner violations are not recorded so there is no continuing accountability. Penalty points are incidental to the driving record.

Many drivers hope to successfully dispute a violation ticket for reasons including such things as the officer not asking them to sign the ticket, that vehicle details have been left blank or or incorrect in some way, the radar reading was not recorded on the ticket or a spelling error has been made. In most cases, these things are not immediately fatal to a successful prosecution.

There is plenty of advice and misadvice on the internet to use in planning a ticket dispute.

Consider your research source carefully before you decide to rely on it.

Give preference to trusted sources such as websites for BC law firms and avoid information from the United States or counsel from discussion topics written by people with unstated qualification.

Better still, take advantage of the Canadian Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service.

It is educated and economical.