What Is The Penalty For Dangerous Driving?

Like all criminal charges, the penalty for dangerous driving can vary depending on the circumstances under which the charge was made. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, penalties for a dangerous driving conviction can include jail time, a fine, a driver’s licence suspension, and a driver’s licence suspension (minimum one year). 

That said, if you are charged with dangerous driving, the worst penalty may not be the sentence you get when you are convicted. As a criminal charge, a conviction for dangerous driving means you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life (unless you apply for and receive a pardon). A criminal record can affect your ability to travel outside of Canada, find a job, go to school or even be a volunteer.

It all adds up to mean that, if you have been charged with dangerous driving, you need the legal advice of a criminal lawyer with experience and expertise in defending against dangerous driving convictions so you can minimize the effect it has on your life. 

Maximum Penalties for a Dangerous Driving Conviction 

Officially known as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving charges are levelled against a person who operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

It is a hybrid offence, which means that it can be considered a less serious summary conviction, or a more serious indictable offence. Of course, penalties for summary convictions are generally lower than those for indictable offences.

  • Maximum penalties for a conviction of dangerous driving are a fine of $5,000 and/or a jail sentence of six months. 
  • The maximum penalty for a conviction of dangerous driving causing bodily harm is five years of imprisonment.
  • The maximum penalty for a conviction of dangerous driving causing death is 14 years of imprisonment.

In addition to the penalties imposed by the courts, the Highway Traffic Act stipulates a mandatory one-year license suspension for a dangerous driving conviction. License suspensions may be longer, including being suspended indefinitely, for repeat offences and/or those for dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death.
If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.

Police Crack Down during Ontario’s Thanksgiving Weekend

In light of a recent report, Ontario police are cracking down on dangerous driving during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first Thanksgiving since the Ontario government passed stiffer penalties for distracted driving, which include up to $1,000 in fines and three demerit points.

The report describes the main causes of traffic-related casualties between 2011 and 2015, and states that the great majority of the 1,507 deaths on the road Continue reading

7 Tips to Avoid Aggressive Driving Behaviour

Aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise in Ontario. According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey, “Canadian drivers are increasingly annoyed by construction projects, fellow motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.” The survey also found that a significant percentage of motorists had been on the receiving end of discourteous behavior. “As many as 82 percent of those surveyed had encountered a driver who failed to signal, 73 percent had been tailgated and 63 percent hadn’t been allowed to merge into traffic.”

Aggressive-driving behaviours, such as speeding, failing to give the right-of-way, tailgating, and cutting off someone too closely, may cause other drivers on the road to become frustrated and angry thus contributing to a potential road-rage fueled conflict between drivers.

“Aggressive or careless driving such as cutting off other drivers, speeding, tailgating, talking on cell phones and not using proper signals is almost always what incites road rage,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist with ICBC.

An angry driver may attempt dangerous retaliatory action. Avoid becoming angry on the road by following these tips:
1. Know what makes you stressed while driving and combat it by getting fresh air, breath and count to ten, or listen to relaxing music
2. Make a conscious decision to leave your issues behind you when driving
3. If you are on a long road trip, take a break from driving every few hours
4. Don’t challenge or instigate another drivers, or retaliate for what you believe to be aggressive driving behaviour
5. If someone else’s driving annoys you, don’t try to prove a point to the person. Leave that to the traffic enforcement police
6. Don’t take the mistakes and driving behaviours of others personally
7. Avoid laying down the horn at other drivers, unless absolutely necessary for safety concerns like potential collisions. A light tap on the horn is usually sufficient to signal the other driver.

Remember that if you are a courteous and respectful driver, you are less likely to find yourself in a road rage situation. To reduce those occurrences when a driver is lost and more likely to increase the road rage of others around them, plan your route in advance. Be polite and let other drivers in front of you when they are signaling that they would like to do so. And most importantly, remember that we all share the road, let’s be respectful to each other and avoid collisions or arguments that will just further anger and upset everyone involved.