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IMMEDIATE ROADSIDE DRIVING PROHIBITION

Immediate Roadside Prohibitions / IRP

When investigating impaired drivers, police officers in British Columbia now use an Approved Screening Device in almost all cases. If the driver blows over the legal limit, they will be subject to immediate so-called Administrative Sanctions in the form of an Immediate Roadside Prohibition. These are known in the Motor Vehicle Act as Automatic Roadside Driving Prohibitions. Immediate Roadside Prohibitions can vary in length, and in associated consequences, depending on certain factors. They can range from three days to 90 days, with related costs estimated between $600.00 and $4,600.00. What happens at the roadside will determine what kind of prohibition you will receive. The laying of Criminal Charges has been virtually eliminated in BC when a driver blows into an ASD. Although the punishment is almost the same and the effect is more stigmatizing, Criminal Charges are now extremely unlikely in most drinking-driving situations.

3-day, 7-day and 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions

If, after being asked by a police officer to provide a breath sample, you register a ‘warn’ using an Approved Screening Device, you will receive an Immediate Roadside Prohibition. The ‘warn’ range is between .05 and .08 blood alcohol content. If you fall into this range, your Prohibition will be 3 days, 7 days or 30 days in length, depending on your driving record.

If it is the first time that you have registered a ‘warn’, you will receive a 3-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. You will face the following consequences:

  • 3 day prohibition from operating a motor vehicle
  • 3 day impoundment of the vehicle that you were operating
  • Cost of towing the vehicle to the impoundment lot
  • Cost of storing the vehicle at the impoundment lot
  • $200.00 administrative penalty
  • $250.00 license reinstatement fee

All of these consequences are mandatory. You should know that the driving prohibition takes effect immediately. The estimated total cost for a 3-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition is $600.00.

If it is the second time that you have registered a ‘warn’, within a five year period, you will receive a 7-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. This means that you will be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle for a period of seven days. The vehicle that you were operating will also be impounded for seven days and you will be responsible for paying the associated towing and storage costs. You will also receive a $300.00 administrative penalty and a $250.00 license reinstatement fee. The estimated total cost of a 7-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition is $760.00.

If it is the third time that you have registered a ‘warn’, within a five year period, you will receive a 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. This Prohibition comes with more serious consequences. The consequences of a 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition are as follows:

  • 30 day prohibition from operating a motor vehicle
  • 30 day impoundment of the vehicle that you were operating
  • Cost of towing the vehicle to the impoundment lot
  • Cost of storing the vehicle at the impoundment lot
  • $400.00 administrative penalty
  • $250.00 license reinstatement fee
  • Completion of the Responsible Driver’s Program, with an associated cost of $880.00 plus tax
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock device in any vehicle that you operate, for a minimum period of at least one year, with an associated cost of $1,730.00 plus tax

All of these consequences are mandatory. You cannot ‘opt’ out of any. You should know that the driving prohibition takes effect immediately. You will be unable to lawfully operate a motor vehicle in British Columbia until you have served the entirety of your driving prohibition, have completed the Responsible Driver’s Program, have reinstated your license and have installed an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle. You will not be permitted to operate any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device. This includes work and company vehicles. The total estimated cost associated with a 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition is $4600.00.

Can I review a 3-day, 7-day or 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition?

You are able to challenge your Immediate Roadside Prohibition by way of written review. On written review, you will be required to submit a written argument in your defense. This argument is received and read over by an adjudicator at the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. This adjudicator then weighs the evidence that is before them. They will ultimately come to a decision about whether your Prohibition should be upheld or revoked. The adjudicator must arrive at their decision within 21 days of the date that you were served your Immediate Roadside Prohibition.

It is absolutely essential that you file for review within seven (7) days of receiving your Prohibition. You are able to file for review at any ICBC Licensing Branch.

You are entitled to have a lawyer represent you on a written review. A lawyer is able to write a letter on your behalf, making the appropriate legal arguments. In many cases having a lawyer represent you will increase your chances of success on review.

90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions

What is a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition?

You may receive a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition as the result of blowing into an Approved Screening Device and registering a ‘fail’. You will fall into the ‘fail’ range if your breath sample registers as .08 blood alcohol content or higher. You may also receive a Prohibition as the result of failing or refusing to provide a breath sample at the roadside. The police in BC bought 2000 additional ASD units in 2010 and they have significantly increased enforcement for the time being.

You should know that a 90-day IRP is not a criminal charge. It is strictly administrative in nature. You are not in danger of receiving a criminal record. However, the administrative sanctions that will be taken against you as a result of this Prohibition are severe. It will also remain on your permanent driving record.

What are the consequences of receiving a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition?

If you have been served with a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition, there are a number of very serious consequences that you automatically receive as a result. You should be aware of these consequences:

  • 90 day prohibition from operating a motor vehicle
  • 30 day impoundment of the vehicle that you were operating
  • Cost of towing the vehicle to the impoundment lot
  • Cost of storing the vehicle at the impoundment lot
  • $500.00 administrative penalty
  • $250.00 license reinstatement fee
  • Discretionary order by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles that you complete the Responsible Drivers Program, with an associated cost of $880.00 plus tax
  • Discretionary order by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles that you install an Ignition Interlock Device in any vehicle that you operate, for a minimum period of at least one year, with an associated cost of $1730.00 plus tax

All of these consequences are mandatory. You should know that the driving prohibition takes effect immediately. You will be unable to lawfully operate a motor vehicle in British Columbia until you have served the entirety of your driving prohibition, have reinstated your license and in many cases have installed an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle. You may be prohibited from operating any motor vehicle that is not equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device. This includes work and company vehicles. The total estimated cost associated with a 90-day IRP is $4,730.00.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock device is wired into your vehicle’s ignition system. It requires the driver to provide a breath sample in order to start the vehicle. If any alcohol is detected in the sample, the vehicle will be prevented from starting.

The Ignition Interlock device also requires the driver to provide random breath samples while operating the vehicle. If any alcohol is detected in a breath sample, the device will register a ‘fail’. A ‘fail’ result will activate a series of events. It will repeatedly request that the driver turn the vehicle off. If these requests are ignored, the vehicle will be forced to shut down.

The Ignition Interlock device is very sensitive to alcohol. It can detect trace amounts of alcohol in common household substances, such as hand sanitizer and mouthwash. If any alcohol is detected, the Ignition Interlock will register a ‘fail’ reading. The ignition These ‘fails’ are recorded and stored on a central handset, which is later evaluated by a program administrator.

Can I review a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition?

You are able to have your 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition reviewed. This allows you to challenge the legitimacy of your Prohibition. The review is heard by an adjudicator at the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.This adjudicator weighs the evidence and will come to a decision about whether your Prohibition should be upheld or revoked.

It is absolutely essential that you file for review within seven (7) days of receiving your Prohibition. You are able to file for review at any ICBC Licensing Branch.

When you attend an ICBC Branch, you will be asked which kind of review you would like to file for. There are two different types of 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition reviews: oral and written. An oral review costs $200.00. A written review costs $100.00. Each type of review has its own benefits. You will want to select your type of review based on the type of legal argument you have. For this reason, it is beneficial to speak to a lawyer prior to filing for review.

You are entitled to have a lawyer represent you at this review. A lawyer is able to submit evidence and make legal arguments on your behalf. In many cases, having a lawyer represent you will increase your chances of success on review. Lawyers have intricate knowledge of the law and the defenses that may be available to you. A lawyer will be able to assess your situation and give you valuable advice. They will help you to your best evidence forward. A lawyer is also able to submit relevant case law and other documents that may be pivotal in your success.

What happens during a review?

If you have filed for a written review of your 90-day Immediate Driving Prohibition, you will be required to submit a letter to the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles by a specified date and time. If you wish to do so, you are able to retain a lawyer to write a letter on your behalf.

If you have filed for an oral review, you will be required to make oral submissions to an adjudicator. This is done over the telephone and will occur at a specific date and time. Many people who choose to do an oral review also choose to retain a lawyer. In that case, the lawyer will make arguments on your behalf. If you decide to submit your own evidence, it may be done by way of sworn affidavit.

On review, the adjudicator is able to consider:

  • The Report to Superintendent with respect to the Immediate Roadside Prohibition;
  • The Report to Superintendent with respect to the Vehicle Impoundment;
  • The Notice of Vehicle Impoundment;
  • The Notice of Immediate Roadside Prohibition;
  • Any further information that the police officer provides;
  • Any evidence submitted by you or your lawyer.

On review, the adjudicator is not able to consider:

  • Your personal driving history;
  • Any arguments with respect to hardship or your personal circumstances;
  • Any arguments with respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

After considering the evidence, the adjudicator will arrive at a decision. This decision must be given within 21 days of the date that you received your 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. If the adjudicator decides to revoke your IRP, all of the associated consequences are also revoked. The Superintendent will revoke your driving prohibition, cancel the fine, cancel the vehicle impoundment, refund the cost of storage and towing and return your license.


If you receive a Driving Prohibition in British Columbia, you should contact an experienced BC driving lawyer now.CONTACT 604-608-1200.


Convicted under the Criminal Code or Motor Vehicle Act ? See Court Prohibitions…