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Dangerous Driving Vs Careless Driving

Traffic Tickets
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

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There are two main differences between the charges of dangerous driving vs careless driving. Dangerous driving, if convicted, is a criminal charge under the Criminal Code of Canada. Careless Driving, if convicted, is a non-criminal offence under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.

For drivers, that difference is crucial. If you are convicted of dangerous driving, you may have to serve time in prison and you may get a criminal record for life.  For careless driving, as a non-criminal offence and unless the offence is serious, you will likely only be served with a careless driving ticket, and you probably won’t face a jail term.

Dangerous Driving Charges

For you to be charged with dangerous driving, the following must be proved in court, among other circumstances:

  • That the person charged intended to do the driving action
  • The action happened in a public place where there was a likelihood of the public being present
  • The driving action was dangerous, with “wanton disregard for the lives and safety of others”

Dangerous Driving Penalties

The following are among the possible penalties of being convicted of Dangerous Driving, including those handed down by the court and those that the accused might face based on the conviction.

  • A criminal record
  • A potential jail term
  • A one-year driver’s licence suspension
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Difficulty travelling abroad, finding work or even volunteering
  • Insurance rate increases for up to five years

Careless Driving Charges

According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, Section 130(1):
“Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or streetcar on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.”

Careless Driving Penalties

The following are among the potential penalties a driver charged with careless driving can face.

  • Six demerit points that will remain on your driving record for two years
  • A fine ranging from $400 to $2,000 depending on the severity
  • Drivers licence may be suspended
  • More serious offences may incur a jail sentence
  • Higher insurance rates for three to five years

Considering the serious consequences of both dangerous driving and careless driving charges, it is highly recommended that you defend yourself as best you can against being convicted.  X-Copper’s experienced team of former police officers and top criminal defence lawyers and paralegals are ready to fight in your best interests.

To learn more about defending yourself against traffic tickets, check out our recent post “Fighting a Traffic Ticket Starts When You’re Pulled Over”.


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