Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP) and Administrative Driving Prohibitions (ADP) in British Columbia are issued by police officers under the authority of the Motor Vehicle Act. With some of the toughest impaired driving laws in Canada, British Columbians face roadside prohibitions for driving over 0.05, and lengthier prohibitions for driving over 0.08.

Roadside Prohibition Definition

Issued under the authority of British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act, a roadside prohibition is a notice given by police officers to motorists who are considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, banning them from driving for one, three, seven, 30, or 90 days.

What is a Roadside Prohibition?

You may receive a roadside prohibition from a peace officer if you are considered to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. Such prohibitions may also be issued up to two hours after you stop driving if there is cause to believe you were driving impaired. British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Act creates multiple driving prohibitions, including 24-hour roadside prohibitions, Immediate Roadside Prohibitions and Administrative Driving Prohibitions.

24-hour Roadside Prohibition

A 24-hour roadside prohibition is a 24-hour suspension of your driving privileges, beginning at the time you are served with the notice. Police do not require a failed breath sample (for alcohol-related prohibitions) or coordination test (for drug-related prohibitions) to issue 24-hour roadside prohibitions, though you can request either of these tests if you believe neither alcohol nor drugs impaired your ability to drive.

If you are issued a 24-hour roadside prohibition, the police may also impound your vehicle for 24-hours. You will be responsible for the cost of towing and storing your vehicle. You cannot recover these costs even if you successfully challenge your 24-hour roadside prohibition.

Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP)

An Immediate Roadside Prohibition is an alcohol-related driving prohibition that results in the suspension of your driving privileges for three, seven, 30, or 90 days. Effective as soon as it’s issued, the length of your prohibition depends on the results of your breath samples and whether you have been issued a prohibition in the past.

Breath samples are taken by an approved screening device. For “Warn” and “Fail” readings, which correspond to a blood alcohol content of over 0.05 and over 0.08, respectively, police must offer you an opportunity to provide a second breath sample using a different device. The lower of the two results prevails.

Three-day, Seven-day and 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP)

Even if the result of your breath sample is a “Warn”, the police may prohibit you from driving. On your first notice of prohibition, you will likely receive a three-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. On your second notice of prohibition within five years, you will likely receive a seven-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. On your third notice of prohibition within five years, you may receive a 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition.

Your driving prohibition starts as soon as you are issued the prohibition. For three- and seven-day prohibitions, the police may or may not impound your vehicle. For 30-day prohibitions, the police must impound your vehicle for the duration of your 30-day suspension. Unless you successfully challenge your prohibition, you will be responsible for the costs of towing and storing your vehicle.

90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP)

You will receive a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition if police believe you are impaired by alcohol and the result of your breath test is a “Fail”, or if you refuse to provide a breath sample.

Your driving prohibition starts as soon as you are issued the 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition. Police must impound your vehicle for 30 days. Unless you successfully challenge your prohibition, you will be responsible for the costs of towing and storing your vehicle.

90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP)

An Administrative Driving Prohibition differs from an Immediate Roadside Prohibition in that it is typically issued at a police station, based on the results of a more reliable analysis of your blood alcohol content than is produced by a roadside breathalyzer. Administrative Driving Prohibitions are often issued in addition to criminal charges arising from the same incident.

You may be issued a 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition if you fail an alcohol breath test, your blood drug concentration is above 0.08, or you refuse to provide a breath or blood sample without a reasonable excuse. You may be issued an Administrative Driving Prohibition within two hours after you stop driving if there is cause to believe you were driving impaired. Your driving prohibition takes effect immediately — unless you are granted a temporary seven-day licence, after which your prohibition begins.

Challenging Your Roadside Prohibition

If you wish to challenge your roadside prohibition, you must apply for a review within seven days. Regardless of the type of prohibition you are challenging, you must meet this deadline. Late applications for a review will not, under any circumstances, be accepted.

Challenging Your 24-hour Roadside Prohibition

If you wish to challenge your 24-hour driving prohibition, you must apply for a review within seven days. Late applications for a review will not, under any circumstances, be accepted. If you are successful on review, you will avoid further consequences, like taking part in the Responsible Driver Program, the Interlock Program, or both.

A successful review depends on persuading a RoadSafety Adjudicator that:

  • You were not driving the vehicle or in care or control of it, or
  • You were denied an opportunity to provide a breath sample or coordination test even though you requested one.

Challenging Your Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) or Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP)

If you wish to challenge your Immediate Roadside Prohibition or your Administrative Driving Prohibition, you must apply for a review and pay the required fee within 7 days of the date you were served. Late applications for a review will not, under any circumstances, be accepted.

To apply for a review of your Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition, you must do three things:

  • Attend an ICBC driver licensing centre,
  • Pay the fee, and
  • Schedule a review hearing.

There are two types of review hearings:

  • A written hearing for a fee of $100, or
  • An oral hearing for a fee of $200.

The option to choose a written hearing is only applicable to 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions and Administrative Driving Prohibitions. Choosing an oral hearing will provide more time to prepare your defence.

A successful review requires the identification of a basis upon which to challenge your Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition. The onus is on you to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition should be revoked.

The hardship that will flow from a driving prohibition, including an inability to drive your kids to school or drive to your distant workplace, is not grounds the Superintendent will consider. There are, however, a number of arguments that will be considered, including:

  • The test registered a fail, but it was the result of another factor (rendering the results unreliable)
  • You have evidence that proves you were not impaired at the time your Immediate Roadside Prohibition was issued
  • You have evidence that proves you were not operating the motor vehicle
  • You did not intend to refuse to provide a breath sample
  • You had a reasonable excuse to refuse to provide a breath sample
  • The police officer omitted a mandatory piece of information in the report provided to the Superintendent
  • The report includes errors and inconsistencies that render the results of the tests unreliable

If you are successful upon review of your Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition:

  • Your Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition will be revoked
  • You will be reimbursed for towing and storage fees
  • Your vehicle will be released to you
  • You will be reimbursed for any administrative penalties or licence reinstatement fees you may have paid
  • A record of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition or Administrative Driving Prohibition will not appear on your driving abstract
  • You will not be referred to any remedial driving programs

Roadside Prohibitions in the Motor Vehicle Act

Concerning 24-hour roadside prohibitions:

Regarding Immediate Roadside Driving Prohibitions (IRP):

Roadside Prohibition Penalties

British Columbians face roadside prohibitions for driving over 0.05, and lengthier prohibitions for driving over 0.08. Whether you receive a three-, seven-, or 30-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition for driving over 0.05 depends on whether it’s your first, second, or third offence in the last five years. Driving over 0.08 or refusing to provide a breath or blood sample will result in a 90-day driving prohibition.

24-hour Roadside Prohibition Penalties

  • Possible referral to the Responsible Driver Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possible referral for the Ignition Interlock Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possible increase of prohibition to two months for drivers who receive two 24-hour prohibitions in a two-year period
  • Possible increase of prohibition to three months for drivers who receive three 24-hour prohibitions
  • Possibility of lost work and employment opportunities

Three, Seven and 30-day IRP Penalties

  • Fines
  • Points
  • Towing and storage fees
  • License suspension
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Possible referral to the Responsible Driver Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possible referral for the Ignition Interlock Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possibility of lost work and employment opportunities

90-day IRP Penalties

  • Fines
  • Points
  • Mandatory 30-day vehicle impoundment
  • Towing and storage fees
  • License suspension
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Possible two-year probationary license
  • Possible referral to the Responsible Driver Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possible referral for the Ignition Interlock Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possibility of lost work and employment opportunities

ADP Penalties

  • Fines
  • Points
  • Towing and storage fees
  • License suspension
  • License reinstatement fees
  • Possible two-year probationary license
  • Possible referral to the Responsible Driver Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possible referral for the Ignition Interlock Program (costs are your responsibility)
  • Possibility of lost work and employment opportunities
  • Probable criminal charges in addition to your driving prohibition
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