June 4, 2017
The preparation of an affidavit is the most important part of getting ready for an IRP review hearing. I work with many lawyers on IRPs and all of them spend a lot of time preparing detailed affidavits for their IRP clients and sometimes for witnesses with pertinent evidence. The affidavit provides your side of the IRP story. It’s your chance to ensure the adjudicator gets a balanced reporting of the facts. Affidavits often provide alternative explanations for incidents that an officer has used to try to prove driver impairment.
For example, in one case a driver stopped by police was asked to move his car a short distance off the road to a spot nearby, but hesitated and asked the officer for clarification before complying. The officer used this incident as evidence of confusion caused by impairment. However, through his affidavit, the driver explained that he asked for clarification because the police officer directed him to park in a no-parking zone. Obviously this explanation was an important point for the adjudicator to know.
Police officers are very good at recording evidence that may be consistent with drinking or impairment, after all that is the job they have been trained to do. But sometimes they jump to a conclusion that may not be correct. For instance, an officer may assume your bloodshot eyes have been caused by the consumption of alcohol, and record that in the IRP documents submitted to the adjudicator. But there are many reasons why a person’s eyes may be red or bloodshot, including allergies, colds, exposure to dry and dusty conditions, exposure to smoke or excessive sunshine, lack of sleep, swimming in chlorinated water, not just the consumption of alcohol. Maybe your eyes were bloodshot for a reason other than alcohol. Police may not consider these other reasons for the evidence, but the adjudicator will if you provide them.
In an IRP review, all evidence enters by way of affidavits or sworn police documents. Your affidavit is your only chance to put your evidence before the adjudicator. If you are represented by a lawyer you can rely on them to help you prepare an affidavit that will present your best case for having the IRP revoked.
But what if you are not represented? That’s an issue for some of my clients who can’t afford a lawyer. These clients are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the knowledge and experience of a lawyer specializing in IRPs. But many are able to prepare the affidavit themselves using resources widely available online; they just need to find the correct legal language and format for the affidavit.
The Supreme Court of BC website has a very helpful guide for that purpose:
The guide is provided for people who wish to submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court, but the affidavit can be modified to use it for an IRP review. Some useful points from the guide to help you prepare the affidavit:
1. Don’t hand write it. Print it on 8 ½ X 11 white paper.
2. State facts, not your opinion.
3. Keep it short and to the point.
4. Organize it into numbered paragraphs and numbered pages.
Once the affidavit has been prepared, it must be sworn or affirmed before a commissioner for taking affidavits. This can be done by a Notary Public or Lawyer. Alternatively, you can have the affidavit sworn by a court registry clerk at a Court Registry for $31.
Having this “do-it-yourself” affidavit information online and accessible as a resource makes it not only possible but relatively easy for a non-lawyer to create and swear or affirm their affidavit. There is no reason not to submit one for your IRP review, even if you don’t have a lawyer to assist you.