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Questions & info about the Motor Vehicle Act. Mature discussion only.

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Old 11-05-2010, 09:27 AM   #1
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Sebberry's "grey areas".

So despite never having been pulled over for anything ever, sebberry seems quite sure that traffic enforcement is all black and white, and that cops have neither the legal nor mental ability to use their own discretion... well, here's a little story:

Couple weeks ago, my wife and I signed up for some volunteer work, and as part of the process, had to get our criminal record checks completed, which involved allowing the police to take photocopies of our ID. Somewhere in all that, my driver's license got into a coat pocket rather than back into my wallet...

Fast-forward to yesterday, as I was driving to Kelowna in my work van, and ran smack into a road check just before the Peachland turnoff. The first thing the cop noticed was my badly cracked front windshield... so he naturally asked for my driver's license. Uh....

After much unsuccessful digging through my wallet, I told him that my license must have been left at home, and why... I suspect he grasped the irony of the situation. Fortunately, he accepted my birth certificate, which he used to look up my DL#.

In the end, I got away with a box 3 notice... no ticket for not having my license, no fine for the broken window. It COULD have been an expensive trip... but the cop was actually smart enough to use HIS OWN discretion, recognize an honest mistake, and that throwing the book at me really wouldn't have served any greater purpose.

So much for the theory that Interior cops like to particularly target out-of-town drivers, too.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #2
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I was pulled over for going 80 in a 50 zone at 1 in the morning on Steveston Hwy before. I thought for sure I was gonna get hit with fines. I couldn't find my insurance papers either so he only took my DL and spent what seemed like 15 minutes, during which time I managed to find my insurance papers (I hid them so well that I forgot where they were).

I waved my insurance papers to him when he was coming back and then he took the insurance papers and went back to his vehicle. He came back and gave me everything back, and told me that he was going to give me a ticket for not having my insurance papers but he'll just toss it since I found my papers. Then he handed me a warning for speeding and told me to slow down.

So yeah, it's not black and white. He did follow me from No. 3 road all the way to about No. 5, where I was turning off to get onto Hwy 99 so I had to really watch my speed.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:32 PM   #3
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Well, if we are using examples to illustrate how "black and white" an officers view of the law is;

A few years back, I was taking a lot of online post sec courses, but I still had to attend class for mid-terms and finals. At the time, my car was not running and for the most part, I was taking the bus or carpooling.

The school was roughly 3 hours away, and physically impossible to access without a vehicle as the public transit system doesn't link the 4 communities I had to cross together.

I had bought a beater that morning, simply to get to class and was pulled over by a traffic officer who had run my plates and pulled up that the vehicle I was driving was different than what was listed. He started off that I was driving illegally and that this could be a potentially stolen vehicle, all but accusing me of criminal activity.... Until he made calls and confirmed that the insurance was in fact switched over and legal.

I've never had (been convicted) of a point violation ticket in my driving history (about 4 years at that time)

I drove away with:
- Failure to Display N
- No Front Plate
- Failure to Produce Insurance
- Inspection Notice for a Cracked Windshield

Everything else that was possible was on there despite the fact that the original "offense" was not; good ole discretion eh. Ultimately it cost me thousands due to having to reduce my course list the follow semester and stay an extra 6 months.

I'm obviously going to get accused of being rude as the reasoning behind an officer being harsh, but in fact quite the opposite, I was more than humble, attempting to be as helpful as possible, though still trying to reason with him. His justification as stated exactly to me, was simple "Driving is a privilege, and the sooner you learn that, the better. You gotta pay to play". And while ultimately he is right and while officers do have discretion, there is no law, or recommendation, no mandate for them to use it. For a police officer, it DOES boil down to black and white - let the courts sort out the grey....
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:52 PM   #4
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^What's your point? You were actually guilty of all those things, weren't you?
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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I drove away with:
- Failure to Display N
- No Front Plate
- Failure to Produce Insurance
- Inspection Notice for a Cracked Windshield
Those are all pretty black and white offenses though, and with that many all at once no wonder you didn't get the benefit of the doubt.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:00 PM   #6
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^What's your point? You were actually guilty of all those things, weren't you?
His point is the officer could have let him go like in your case, yet instead had the book thrown at him.

If I was an officer I would probably throw the book at anyone with an 'N' too, especially if it is not displayed. Those in graduated licensing are proving their ability - with that many items wrong, it only proves inability.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:02 PM   #7
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Its really give and take on the cop

I got pulled over in Delta with 3 friends in my car because we "matched the description of a bunch of teens in the areas knockin over mail boxes"

When asked what the description that was given was I was told they look like you guys

I got let go but that was after they called for back up, threaten to strip search me and get the k9 unit to "tear me apart", harass me for living in Vancouver and a 2 hr long delay

I have also had nice cops were the let me go with a warning for violations I actually did commit (speeding and no N and too many ppl)

and before you guys accuse me of being rude to the police officer I was very polite until he started threaten me and trying to search my car and me.

cops are people in the end and we all have bad days its just they are in a position of power and some take it out on regular people and other cops dont
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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So let's take a look at this from the Cop's point of view. He sees a beater with a cracked windshield (and possibly other defects?) go by, runs the single plate on it and they don't match. Past experience has shown him that this usually means a stolen plate or stolen car or an uninsured car because the vehicle has not been transferred. Driver does not produce the registration to disprove a possible stolen vehicle/plate but tells Cop that he just bought it that morning. Does not produce the completed tax transfer form (as required by law) that would have showed the transfer had been done legally. Cop then has to spend his time phoning to confirm that the transfer had been legally done (don't know how this could be done as the ICBC database had not been updated ), checks the driver's history and finds other violations on it...maybe a previous fail to display N? Driver had not produced registration, had not displayed N, had not displayed front plate and beater car had a cracked windshield. Issued VTs for the 1st 3 violations and an inspection notice (not sure if #2 or # 3) for the windshield (and other defects???).

As far as this costing you thousands goes, you could have made payments on the VTs and replaced the broken windshield...or even contested them to stall off having to come up with the money. Court dates now are at least a year away in the LMD. Were there other defects that would have cost you more money to bring the car up to the minimum safety standards? Should people be permitted to operate unsafe vehicles because they are going to school and can't afford it?


If the driver had displayed both plates, displayed the N, had produced the registration or fully completed tax transfer form with both registrations, chances are he would only have received a #3 N&O for the windshield. Real easy to stick a plate on a car, real easy to bring the paperwork from a just purchased car deal, real easy to slap a N on the back. That's what I would have done in those circumstances. Just a thought on how we sometimes dig our own graves.

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Old 11-05-2010, 02:19 PM   #9
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Just a thought on how we sometimes dig our own graves.
...and then try to blame it all on the guy who's dancing on it
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
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I'm not sure how this thread specifically relates to my grey areas... I think Soundy simply siezed the oppertunity to attack my views.

Allowing people like Soundy to proceed without a ticket for the broken windshield only serves to reward people who fail to promptly repair their cars and piss off the people who do.

I've had my windshield replaced three times, each time I made the appointment within an hour of the damage occurring.
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:56 PM   #11
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Hey sebberry, you one of "those" people who thinks 9/11 was an inside job? Seems there's a lot of imaginary "gray area" there too!
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Old 11-05-2010, 02:57 PM   #12
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So let's take a look at this from the Cop's point of view. He sees a beater with a cracked windshield (and possibly other defects?) go by, runs the single plate on it and they don't match. Past experience has shown him that this usually means a stolen plate or stolen car or an uninsured car because the vehicle has not been transferred. Driver does not produce the registration to disprove a possible stolen vehicle/plate but tells Cop that he just bought it that morning. Does not produce the completed tax transfer form (as required by law) that would have showed the transfer had been done legally. Cop then has to spend his time phoning to confirm that the transfer had been legally done (don't know how this could be done as the ICBC database had not been updated ), checks the driver's history and finds other violations on it...maybe a previous fail to display N? Driver had not produced registration, had not displayed N, had not displayed front plate and beater car had a cracked windshield. Issued VTs for the 1st 3 violations and an inspection notice (not sure if #2 or # 3) for the windshield (and other defects???).

As far as this costing you thousands goes, you could have made payments on the VTs and replaced the broken windshield...or even contested them to stall off having to come up with the money. Court dates now are at least a year away in the LMD. Were there other defects that would have cost you more money to bring the car up to the minimum safety standards? Should people be permitted to operate unsafe vehicles because they are going to school and can't afford it?


If the driver had displayed both plates, displayed the N, had produced the registration or fully completed tax transfer form with both registrations, chances are he would only have received a #3 N&O for the windshield. Real easy to stick a plate on a car, real easy to bring the paperwork from a just purchased car deal, real easy to slap a N on the back. That's what I would have done in those circumstances. Just a thought on how we sometimes dig our own graves.

I'm not attempting to say I didn't contravene the acts, or weasel out of them. It's simply a rebuttal to Soundy's argument, that officers use discretion and that black and white enforcement of the law - at least in the traffic scene - is rare.
Soundy, blaming the guy, would require that I maintain he did something wrong - which I definitely don't. He was right and upheld the law to a "T". From my experience, which actually is a fair bit more than your everyday driver/citizens, the black and white is very much a go to response for most traffic officers.

Just because I resent him for it, doesn't mean I believe he was "technically" incorrect.


To a few of Zulu's points though;

I did have the transfer form and my old vehicles registration and insurance paperwork - I was in a hurry and had mixed up the paperwork. Which is actually what made it so that my car wasn't towed instead - that was the original threat; towed car and a jolly ride back to the precinct.

I also never stated who he called - I simply remember him sitting in the vehicle for quite some time, talking on the phone and saying he had confirmed that the insurance was in order.
Also we both know, prime and the ICBC database aren't live synced, so ICBC very well could have had the information already processed.


"Past experience has shown him that this usually means a stolen plate or stolen car or an uninsured car because the vehicle has not been transferred"

I don't have numbers - but let's be realistic. The amount of "new/transferred" vehicles registrations per year, FAR outstripe the number of no insurance/stolen/bad tags/plates". I should hope that the go to response for leo's when encountering mismatched plates/car is not that the driver is a criminal, otherwise you are going to have an awful lot of pissed off folks.

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Old 11-05-2010, 03:04 PM   #13
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Hey sebberry, you one of "those" people who thinks 9/11 was an inside job? Seems there's a lot of imaginary "gray area" there too!
No, I think terrorists flew planes into buildings, or at least that's what CNN told me.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:15 PM   #14
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I'm not sure how this thread specifically relates to my grey areas... I think Soundy simply siezed the oppertunity to attack my views.
Actually, it specifically relates to your views that there ARE no grey areas.

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Allowing people like Soundy to proceed without a ticket for the broken windshield only serves to reward people who fail to promptly repair their cars and piss off the people who do.
How would my broken windshield piss on anybody but me? You don't have to look through it.

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I've had my windshield replaced three times, each time I made the appointment within an hour of the damage occurring.
Tell that to the owner of the vehicle, ie. the company. I've been bugging them about it since it happened.

Would you like a cookie?


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I'm not attempting to say I didn't contravene the acts, or weasel out of them. It's simply a rebuttal to Soundy's argument, that officer's use discretion and that black and white enforcement of the law - at least in the traffic scene - is rare.
Actually, I was speaking in rebuttal to sebberry's repeated assertion that cops are neither able or willing to use discretion.

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Soundy, blaming the guy, would require that I maintain he did something wrong - which I definitely don't. He was right and upheld the law to a "T". From my experience, (which actually goes a LOT further than your everyday driver/citizens) the black and white is very much a go to response for most traffic officers.
Maybe that's just YOUR experience. In 28 years of driving, I've had my share of traffic tickets (mostly speeding), but only once or twice were they ever for the full amount related to the offence. Most times, the cop has been "nice" enough to write it up for the lowest offense, rather than what I was really doing.

There's only been one "bad" exception where the cop assumed my car was a piece of crap because of its appearance (he went so far as to tell me my car was "ugly"), despite it being completely roadworthy and mechanically sound.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:30 PM   #15
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The MVA is pretty specific as to what is and is not permitted. I don't think there are any parts in there that leave anything up to the officer's discretion.

The big issue that I have is when that discretion isn't applied with consistency.

I'm sure that there have been many times where you have driven by a cop at speeds in excess of the speed limit, but because you were "going with the flow" he didn't care. I'd guess those speeding tickets you did get were given when you were going with the flow too?
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Old 11-05-2010, 05:34 PM   #16
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I was just wondering if you produced the fully completed tax transfer form, registration for the donor car and the new car and a bill of sale? You are required to produce all these and it tells you this on the back of the tax transfer form. If this was done then you had "produced the registration". Miss any part and you are in trouble.

"[I don't have numbers - but let's be realistic. The amount of "new/transferred" vehicles registrations per year, FAR outstripe the number of no insurance/stolen/bad tags/plates". I should hope that the go to response for leo's when encountering mismatched plates/car is not that the driver is a criminal, otherwise you are going to have an awful lot of pissed off folks.[/QUOTE]"

My experience, and that of most of my fellow LEOs is that "beater" cars running with single plates on them are invariably....uninsured because the plates don't belong to them, uninsured because the tax transfer forms have not been completed (these cars pass from "owner" to "Owner" with the paperwork never being legally transferred), stolen, taken without owner's consent, in poor mechanical condition , driven by unlicenced/suspended/prohibited/impaired drivers, driven by drivers with criminal records of other types, in poor mechanical condition, containing stolen or contraband goods, alcohol, drugs etc etc etc.... To find a situation not falling under these conditions is the exception, not the rule. I would say that about 90% of my stops of these types of vehicles fell under these conditions, with an incomplete transfer/stolen plate being the most common. I can honestly state that I can only remember stopping less than a handful of cars that had the temporary plate use paperwork properly done. Most common problem was the previous owner just signing ther tax transfer form without dating it, listing odometer reading, name and address of new buyer, complete VIN etc.

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:15 PM   #17
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I think too many people view Police discretion as letting someone off or giving them a "break".

Discretion does not mean no tickets....

discretion: "the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment"

Every single situation is different... I've given people a verbal warning for speeding after pacing them for over a kilometre at 140km/h in a 90 km/h zone. I've also issued VT's to drivers rolling through a stop sign that afforded them with 100% visibility of potential traffic around the intersection.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:27 PM   #18
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Every single situation is different... I've given people a verbal warning for speeding after pacing them for over a kilometre at 140km/h in a 90 km/h zone. I've also issued VT's to drivers rolling through a stop sign that afforded them with 100% visibility of potential traffic around the intersection.
How on earth can you possibly justify that sort of inconsistent enforcement?
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:01 AM   #19
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For various reasons based on the totality of circumstances unique to each incident. Given each situation, after stepping back and taking everything into consideration, sometimes a VT is the right thing to do and sometimes not (according to my judgement).

Obviously the two incidents were on opposite ends of the spectrum and those end results aren't an everyday occurrence - but they can happen for a reason.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:15 AM   #20
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For various reasons based on the totality of circumstances unique to each incident. Given each situation, after stepping back and taking everything into consideration, sometimes a VT is the right thing to do and sometimes not (according to my judgement).

Obviously the two incidents were on opposite ends of the spectrum and those end results aren't an everyday occurrence - but they can happen for a reason.
Care to share some examples? Cars aren't getting impounded for rolling stops, but they are for 40km/hr over, so your logic and actions seem to contradict everything we've been told so far by the safety people.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:25 PM   #21
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Solicitor General Rich Coleman wants B.C. police to lighten up in the way they apply tough new drinking laws, he told The Province on Monday, to the relief of hard-pressed restaurant owners.

I don’t think a lot of discretion is being used,” Coleman said of police forces’ response to the new tougher penalties introduced by his government last month, which gave officers the power to impound drunk drivers’ vehicles for seven days and impose fines.

From: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Cole...#ixzz14p4qKA6g
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:09 PM   #22
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i met a few cops that felt like throwing the book at someone. (I had a thread on it)

That's how I lost my llicense. And almost my job.


I'm always nice. Always courteous. I never dick around with a PO.


After all of that, I sit on the bus for a month, watching morons speed/cut/race/almost hit pedestrians. Sometimes no one sees, and sometimes I see the cop drive the other way and not look back.

i don't like it one bit.


On top of that, I had another try to ding me with no seat belt the day after I got my license back, when I had one on. That officer got the full bag of shit from me.
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #23
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"Solicitor General Rich Coleman wants B.C. police to lighten up in the way they apply tough new drinking laws, he told The Province on Monday, to the relief of hard-pressed restaurant owners.

“I don’t think a lot of discretion is being used,” Coleman said of police forces’ response to the new tougher penalties introduced by his government last month, which gave officers the power to impound drunk drivers’ vehicles for seven days and impose fines. "

Sounds like a political statement rather than one from somebody who has seen what impaired drivers do to others and themselves doesn't it? Some might ask if an upcoming opening for the preems job might have something to do with a Govt. review of the new legislation?
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Old 11-10-2010, 03:38 PM   #24
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Sounds like a political statement rather than one from somebody who has seen what impaired drivers do to others and themselves doesn't it? Some might ask if an upcoming opening for the preems job might have something to do with a Govt. review of the new legislation?
If I'm not mistaken, Rich Coleman was an RCMP member many years ago. I don't know how long he served for or in what capacity, but I would suspect that he knows the dangers of drunk drivers.

And as for this being a political statement, the optics of a rise in alcohol-related deaths isn't exactly what any politician wants tarnishing his image.


BTW - Coleman states that 90 percent of drivers who blow a warn are receiving a three day impoundment. What percentage of drivers who blew a warn before this law took effect were considered drunk enough to be given a 24hr driving prohibition?
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:09 PM   #25
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If I'm not mistaken, Rich Coleman was an RCMP member many years ago. I don't know how long he served for or in what capacity, but I would suspect that he knows the dangers of drunk drivers.

BTW - Coleman states that 90 percent of drivers who blow a warn are receiving a three day impoundment. What percentage of drivers who blew a warn before this law took effect were considered drunk enough to be given a 24hr driving prohibition?
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Before entering public life, Rich was governor of the BC Kinsmen, president of the Aldergrove Chamber of Commerce, Langley’s 1988 Volunteer of the Year, and a director on several volunteer boards. As a member of the Aldergrove Kinsmen Club in the 1980s, Rich oversaw the volunteer fundraising and construction efforts that built the Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Centre, a vital community facility which houses a preschool, library, workout area, and meeting space. The Club was also involved in building a successful housing project in Aldergrove. Rich is a life member of the Kinsmen.
http://www.richcolemanmla.bc.ca/inde...ction_id=1122&

he WAS the Minister of Public Safety, but I'm not sure how much he learned from that.
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