Careless Driving and Stunt Driving are not criminal charges, and are prosecuted pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Careless Driving and Stunt Driving are considered the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act. Though they are not criminal in nature, being found guilty of these offences can have a number of detrimental impacts, including jail terms, increased insurance premiums, vehicle impoundment and significant fines.
Mississauga Careless and Stunt Driving Lawyer
Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act outlines the offence of Careless Driving. The section states: 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 and on conviction 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 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.
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
Careless Driving and Stunt Driving is broadly defined under the Highway Traffic Act, as a result, these charges are very common. As noted above, these charges can have a number of detrimental impacts including, jail, increased insurance premiums, vehicle impoundment and significant fines. For individuals in the transportation or automotive industries, these charges can also have consequences for employment. For these reasons, it is important to hire skilled and effective Mississauga criminal lawyer if you have been charged with Careless Driving or Stunt Driving. At Passi & Patel, our Mississauga criminal lawyers have successfully defended a number of Careless Driving and Stunt Driving cases. We have the knowledge and expertise required to get you results. Call us today at (905) 459-0004 if you, a friend or a loved one has been charged with Careless Driving or Stunt Driving and let our Mississauga criminal lawyers assist you.
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