I want to talk to you a little bit today about dangerous driving under s. 249(1) of the Criminal Code. Our firm represents a lot of people who are charged with dangerous driving. It’s a dual procedure offence so the Crown can elect by indictment when it’s a much more serious case or perhaps you have a lengthy criminal record for doing dangerous driving or if it’s a more minor case they can elect summarily.
It does have severe consequences even on a minor dangerous driving charge where there’s no injuries and it is at the lesser end of the scale so it’s not terrible driving but it’s still dangerous. You’re going to for sure be facing a significant fine plus 30% victim fine charge. At the minimum you are going to face a one year driving prohibition and up. By the way, the Ministry is going to also take your licence for one year. They run at the same time. We call that concurrently under the criminal system but the driving prohibition could be lengthier than that.
Now the dangerous driving itself is defined as a marked departure from the reasonable standard of care which a prudent person would take in that situation. So let me give you an example, driving through a 40 or 50 kilometres speed limit at 100 kilometres an hour is dangerous driving per say. So very excessive speeding can be dangerous driving in other words. Obviously weaving in and out over a course or period of time is dangerous driving, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic extensively but it has to kind of take place over a bit of time period. It can’t be a momentary lack of attention. For example careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act is defined as a momentary lack of attention or not being duly attentive to the roadway. For example, reaching for your cell phone and getting into an accident. That’s not dangerous driving. That’s not a marked departure over a certain period of time. It’s momentary. Far different consequences obviously from careless to dangerous. Criminal versus merely a traffic ticket worth 6 points.
We’re often able to negotiate a dangerous driving charge down to a careless driving charge which is a great result for the client. In many cases we don’t feel the driving’s dangerous. It might be close to the limit. For example, you know a person could perhaps be charged at 150 kilometres an hour, 160 going dangerous. That’s arguably not dangerous on the 401 certainly inordinately high speeds probably of over 200 there’s a certain level that is going to be considered going dangerous or weaving in and out of traffic extensively on the 401 and getting in a motor vehicle accident. Could you face a jail term for a garden variety dangerous driving where there’s no injuries and no one killed, obviously you’re in jail for those, you could. An accident on the 401 where there’s quite bad driving might attract that. Speeding excessively, I am talking far beyond the stunt level of driving. Stunt driving and racing by the way is at 150 but somebody going 220 on the 401 with some kids in their back seat for example, they are looking at a short jail term. Every situation is different. The judge is going to look at your background, your driving record and prior criminal record and we are going to try and negotiate the best possible result for you. Hopefully that’s a careless driving or maybe that’s winning your case. If you’re driving is in kind of in that grey area and it often is, where the Crown can’t prove that marked departure for various reasons. So in a nutshell that’s how we approach a dangerous driving charge and some of the consequences you could be facing if you pled guilty.