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Lawyer expects few fines to be handed out in new B.C. roadblocks

B.C. RCMP officers stationed on Highway 3 near Manning Park on May 6, 2021. (CityNews)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — This weekend, police will be ramping up enforcement on COVID-19 travel restrictions, so more police road checks are planned around B.C. However, one lawyer says its likely fines won’t be flying.

Vancouver-based lawyer Kyla Lee says police have the power to turn you around and issue tickets — but she doesn’t think tickets are going to become commonplace in the early days. But as time goes on, that might change.

“Some people will get tired of the fact that they can’t travel on the weekend. And we will see down the road more tickets than in the first weekend of the roadblock, she says.

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While the roadblocks are supposed to function more as a deterrent “and less is sort of revenue generation by just automatically issuing tickets to people,” Lee says if you resist an officer’s direction to go home or become belligerent, “then you’re likely going to face the ticket.”

“Police officers have the discretion not to issue tickets, and we’ll mostly be using the roadblocks just to keep people from travelling and get them to turn around,” she says.

If you pull up to a road-check, Lee says an officer will first ask for your name, address, and ID.

“You’re required to produce in the state all of those already under existing laws in British Columbia. And then they’re going to ask you the purpose for your travel. If you don’t answer the question or if you provide a reason for travel but that doesn’t meet the essential travel exception, then most likely you’re going to be given the opportunity to turn around and go home,” Lee explains.

On Friday, Mounties said more than 100 vehicles had been stopped at a roadblock in Manning Park, but no fines were handed out, and no one was forced to turn around.