Careless Driving and Stunt Driving are provincial offences under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). This means that being convicted of Careless Driving or Stunt Driving will not result in a true criminal record. However, convictions of these offences can still have significant, detrimental effects on your life: e.g. jail, increased insurance premiums, vehicle impoundment and significant fines. If you are charged with Careless Driving or Stunt Driving, your best course of action is still to consult a lawyer to ensure that you receive the best defence against these charges and to minimize or avoid these consequences.
Careless & Stunt Driving Lawyer in Brampton
Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act creates the offence of Careless Driving:
130 (1) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.
Penalty (2) On conviction under subsection (1), a person is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years
Furthermore, where the Careless Driving results in Bodily Harm or Death, the penalty range is increased: a fine between $2,000 and $5,000 and/or a jail term not more than 2 years can be imposed, and one’s driving licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than 5 years. Bodily Harm is defined as any injury that interferes with the health or comfort of a person and is more than transient or trifling in nature. ‘Transient or trifling in nature’ is taken to be a short amount of time and very minimal injury.
To be convicted of Careless Driving, the prosecutor must show that one was driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. In R. v. Chaar,  O.J. No. 5550, a woman who momentarily lost focus and control of her driving on a curved road which she was not familiar with, ended up skidding into a ditch and up on an embankment. On appeal from conviction, it was held that this momentary inattentiveness did not constitute a departure from the due care and attention or reasonable consideration demanded of an ordinary driver, and the conviction was quashed. Likewise, in R. v. Peek,  O.J. No. 6018, a TTC bus driver was found not guilty of Careless Driving after turning on a roadway and hitting a pedestrian who was crossing at that roadway; due to the pedestrian’s short stature and dark clothing which matched her surroundings, the Court found that it was entirely reasonable that the TTC driver did not see the pedestrian.
Section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act creates the offence of Stunt Driving:
172 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, on a bet or wager or while performing a stunt.
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition, the court shall make an order suspending the person’s driver’s licence,
- (a) on a first conviction under this section, for not less than one year and not more than three years;
- (b) on a second conviction under this section, for not less than three years and not more than 10 years; or
- (c) on a third or subsequent conviction under this section, indefinitely.
As of July 1st, 2021, the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act 2021 changed the law on Stunt Driving. Section 172(1) of the Highway Traffic Act creates an offence for driving a motor vehicle in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager. Under the old regulation, “stunts” included exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 50 kilometers per hour. However, the amended regulation now includes as a “stunt” driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 40 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, if the speed limit is less than 80 kilometres per hour. Where the posted speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour, one will commit Stunt Driving by driving 50 kilometres per hour or more over that limit.
Furthermore, the new legislation increases the penalties where a person is found guilty of Stunt Driving. Previously, on a first conviction, the court was obligated to make an order suspending the person’s driver’s licence for a term of not more than two years. On subsequent convictions, the term of suspension was to be not more than 10 years. Under the new legislation, on a first conviction, the person’s licence must be suspended for at least one year, but not more than three years. On a second conviction, the suspension is to be for not less than three years, but not more than 10 years. On a third or subsequent conviction, a person’s licence could be suspended indefinitely. The new legislation also increases the vehicle impoundment period for Stunt Driving from seven days to 14 days.
As with the prior legislation, the penalties for being found guilty of Stunt Driving not only include a licence suspension and vehicle impoundment, but also a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both.
Stunt Driving is a “strict liability offence”, which means that one does not need to intentionally commit the offence to be found guilty. However, Stunt Driving can be defended through the defence of “due diligence”, whereby a defence of reasonable belief in a mistaken set of facts or the defence of reasonable care is available.
Why you should hire Passi & Patel – Criminal Lawyers for your Careless Driving or Stunt Driving Charge
At Passi & Patel – Criminal Lawyers, we know that a charge of Careless Driving or Stunt Driving can have significant impacts on your life; on top of the potential fine and jail terms, a suspended licence or vehicle impoundment can make everyday life very tough. Our lawyers also know that these charges do not necessarily mean you are guilty. Accidents can happen due to things such as a slippery road, a flash of sunlight, jaywalking, etc. Our Careless Driving and Stunt Driving lawyers have years of experience defending against these charges, and we will ensure that we explore every piece of the picture in providing you the best possible defence. If you are charged with Careless Driving or Stunt Driving, call Passi & Patel – Criminal Lawyers now for a consultation at (905) 459-0004.
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