An Alberta driver took to Facebook to vent his frustration in a video after he received a ticket from the Edmonton police on Wednesday.
The post had been shared over 8,500 times as of 11 p.m. Friday night, and it has highlighted a licence infraction some people may not be aware of.
Dave Balay of Camrose, Alta. posted a video to his Facebook page on Thursday in which he recounts being pulled over by police the night before and ending up with a $465 fine for something he said he never expected.
Officers responded to a report of a suspected impaired driver just before midnight on Jan. 25, according to police.
They were told the vehicle was weaving in and out of its lane and occasionally veered onto the shoulder of the road. A police helicopter was dispatched and monitored officers as they pulled the vehicle over on Anthony Henday Drive.
“Apparently, someone had called in and said that I had swerved, so they – ‘Oh, we’ve got an impaired driver here,'” Balay is heard saying in the Facebook video.
He said when officers pulled him over they asked him if he was drinking and he told them he hadn’t.
When they asked him if he was on any drugs, he said he thought to himself, “Well… I won’t mention Cialis to him,” and laughs in the video.
When speaking with Global News on Friday night, he said he told police he wasn’t on drugs and that he wasn’t particularly tired.
According to Balay, officers told him, “‘It’s fine. We can tell you’re not drinking.'”
He said he was driving home from Riviere Qui Barre, Alta., which is northwest of Edmonton, to Camrose, Alta., which is southeast of Edmonton. In total, the drive is about 140 kilometres long.
In the video, Balay said he wasn’t worried as he wasn’t speeding and had no outstanding warrants. He said he passed one of the officers his driver’s licence to take it to his cruiser and waited for the officer to return.
“The young guy comes back and he says, ‘I’m gonna give you a ticket anyway for a mutilated licence.’ I said, ‘A mutilated licence?’ I didn’t even know there was such a thing!”
“I wasn’t upset because it was so ridiculous, so ludicrous,” Balay later told Global News.
The video then shows Balay hold up an Alberta driver’s licence with a crack on the side.
“Whatever, I figure it’s not going to be that big of a ticket,” he is heard saying.
Balay then said he believes a prosecutor might have the fine thrown out if he takes it to court, and that he would rather go to jail for a weekend or do community service rather than pay.
“I’m not working, I don’t have $465,” Balay is heard saying in the video. “You could just give me a warning.”
Balay told Global News he works in the oil sector but he was laid off and hasn’t worked full-time since October.
He also said that it wasn’t that he’s purposely planning not to pay the ticket but that he can’t afford to.
In the video, Balay said he doesn’t believe the cracked driver’s licence made any of its writing difficult to read.
He ended his video rant by saying, “Way to go constable whatever the heck your name…” and goes on to try to pronounce a name he appears to be reading off the ticket.
He later told Global News he had a thermos of coffee with him for the drive home and that if he appeared to have been swerving in and out a lane, it may have been related to the coffee and so he expected a distracted driving ticket, which comes with a fine of $287 and three demerit points.
“I said, ‘You know, I’ve got this coffee here and I might have been pouring it… I was probably pouring a coffee with my thermos and steering with my knee.”
Edmonton police issued a statement in response to the video Friday afternoon. It reads, in part:
“Because of the observations of the witness, the officer had grounds to lay a careless driving charge under the Traffic Safety Act, which carries a penalty of $543 and six demerits. Upon speaking with the driver, who was cooperative, the officer used his discretion to issue a lesser fine for a cracked driver’s licence under the Traffic Safety Act Section 61(2)(a) – A person shall not mutilate, deface, alter, or falsify a document. This fine has a penalty of $465 and no demerits.”
“I’m not sure that I can be charged with mutilation because I didn’t draw on it, I didn’t scratch out any numbers – I didn’t mutilate it,” Balay told Global News.
Balay’s Facebook video had been viewed over 480,000 times as of 11 p.m. on Friday night.
“I’m very surprised that it got that many views or that much interest,” he told Global News. “I don’t think anybody, or very few, people knew (about mutliated licences) prior to when I put that video out.”
“If it is an infraction, then there should be a public service announcement of some sort.”