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.