If you’ve recently opened your male and found a letter telling you the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is about to suspend your license, you are probably considering writing a review letter to ICBC to get the prohibition revoked or reduced. Writing a review letter to ICBC can be extremely difficult, and it may be wise to seek legal advice before writing the letter.
This blog post will explain some of the things that you should keep in mind when writing a review letter to ICBC.
Your Driving Record
The reason you are receiving the Notice of Intent to Prohibit letter is because of your driving record. You may only have a few tickets, but because some tickets are considered high-risk offences, or carry a high number of points, even just a few tickets can cause you to get one of these driving prohibition letters from ICBC.
When responding to the letter, you will need to address your driving record. There is a fine line between taking responsibility for your actions while providing an explanation as to why or how the ticket occurred, and looking like you are trying to avoid responsibility for the ticket.
BC Supreme Court judgments have ruled that adjudicators in reviewing the review letter to ICBC have to consider the underlying circumstances that led to the ticket. But that does not mean they will consider your innocence if you claim that you did not commit the infraction or that you had a defence. You had the option to dispute the ticket in court.
A lawyer who is experienced in writing review letters to ICBC can help to navigate the delicate balance between providing an explanation and attempting to avoid responsibility for the ticket on your driving record.
Your Personal Circumstances
One of the things that an ICBC adjudicator will consider in determining whether to accept the review letter to ICBC is whether your personal circumstances justify cancelling or reducing the prohibition. They will ask whether your need to drive outweighs the public interest in prohibiting you from driving based on your driving record.
This is a very high burden to meet.
If you are writing a review letter to ICBC, you need to do more than simply state that you need to drive for work. There is a high level of evidence required to demonstrate that you have a legitimate need to drive. Lawyers in our office who are experienced in these letters can help you to identify what evidence is helpful in your case. This can include public transit schedules, taxi receipts, work contracts, letters from employers, your work or school schedule, and medical evidence pertaining to frequent medical appointments.
By working with a lawyer, you will be able to identify what evidence you require to establish the high burden of showing that your need to drive outweighs the public interest in prohibiting you from driving.
Because the review letter to ICBC is focussed on whether you continue to pose a risk to the public, steps that you take in rehabilitation of your driving record can be critical to your defence. We frequently recommend that our clients take steps to address the convictions on their driving record.
Steps toward rehabilitation can include taking driving courses, such as those focussed on the use of electronic devices while driving or courses that pertain to safe driving overall. There are some online companies that offer defensive driving courses that you can take from home, at your own pace. Our office can provide links or recommendations if you require them.
In addition, you could consider writing an essay or taking an in-car defensive driving course. An essay should focus on the driving behaviour that has led to the need to drive. This is another reason that having a letter from a lawyer when doing your review letter to ICBC is helpful. The lawyer can set out your personal circumstances, the background to your tickets, and the steps that you have taken toward rehabilitation. This can stand separate and apart from your essay, and may be viewed as more impactful to the adjudicator considering your review letter to ICBC.
Otherwise, you run the risk that your essay becomes melded into your review letter to ICBC and the adjudicator does not fully appreciate the work that you did not rehabilitate yourself.
Other Options Available to You
One thing a lot of people may not know is that they have other options available to them, other than writing a review letter to ICBC.
If there are tickets on your record that you have not yet paid, you may qualify to file a late dispute of the tickets. This is a complex process and requires a very specific type of evidence to demonstrate that you are entitled to a late dispute of your traffic ticket. Lawyers in our office are able to help with this.
Always Consult a Lawyer
No matter what, if you are considering writing a review letter to ICBC, it is critical that you consider consulting with a lawyer and understanding your options and obligations before attempting to go at it alone. If you write the letter yourself, and you are not successful, it is a lot more difficult to successfully dispute the prohibition after-the-fact.
If your review letter to ICBC is not successful, your next option is to start serving the prohibition and appeal to BC Supreme Court. These appeals are rarely successful, as they are based on the material put before the adjudicator. If that material was not sufficient or compelling, it can be hard to win an appeal as new evidence is typically not allowed.