Driving Criminal Offences
Stunt driving is a strict liability offense in accordance with the supreme court of Canada’s classification of regulatory offenses. Accordingly, the defenses of due diligence and reasonable mistake of fact are available to those accused with stunt driving/racing.
Is stunt driving a criminal offense – Illegal street & drag racing charges?
There are exceptions, but generally, most prosecutors are not willing to reduce this offense to a lesser one! The most common offer from the prosecution is that if you plead guilty as charged to the offense of “Stunt Driving” they will agree to ask for a fine.
A conviction for Stunt Driving or Racing has both serious personal and financial consequences.
Stunt Driving and Racing are very serious offenses and can have very serious consequences if you are convicted. Unlike Dangerous Driving or Impaired Driving which are criminal offenses, stunt driving is an offense under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act. However, even as a traffic offense, Stunt Driving, and Racing carry some significant penalties, including a minimum of $2,000 fine. The substantial fines and potential for a driver’s license suspension mean that it is essential you retain legal representation to assist you to resolve the charge against you.
Stunt driving penalties:
- Immediate roadside suspension of your Driver’s Licence for 7 days. Seven days seizure of the vehicle that you were driving, regardless of who owns it. This also means that if the vehicle is a rental, you will be responsible for an additional 7 days of rental fees. To get the vehicle back, you will have to pay towing charges and storage fees for the seven days that could cost thousands of dollars.
- For the first offense of stunt driving or racing, the penalty includes a minimum Fine
- License suspension up to 2 years (for a Second Offence – up to 10 years Licence Suspension) or, if your license is not suspended, you will automatically receive 6 Demerit Points from the Ministry of Transportation. At the end of your driver’s license suspension, you will have to pay $150.00 to the ministry of transportation to get your driver’s license back.
- Jail sentence up to 6 months.
Is stunt driving a criminal offense & penalties explained by a defense lawyer?
Stunt Driving can include any of the following acts;
- Driving a motor vehicle 50km/h over the posted speed limit.
- Driving a vehicle with an intention to lift some or all of the tires from the surface of the road. (For those driving a motorcycle, lifting either your front or back tire off the surface of the road is considered stunt driving.)
- Driving a motor vehicle with the intention to cause one or more of the tires to lose traction with the surface of the road. (This could include squealing your tires from a stopped position.)
- Driving a vehicle with the intention of preventing another vehicle from passing you. (For example, a vehicle pulls into another lane to pass you and you speed up to prevent the vehicle from passing you.)
- Driving a vehicle with the intention to spin the vehicle without maintaining control of it.
- Driving a motor vehicle while there is a person in the trunk.
- Driving a vehicle while not sitting in the driver’s seat. (This would include a passenger momentarily taking control of the steering wheel for the driver.
Penalties for stunt driving and racing
Simply being charged with stunt driving or racing has significant consequences. If you are charged, you will be required to surrender your driver’s license and it will be suspended automatically for 7 days. Your motor vehicle will also be towed and impounded for a period of 7 days. You will also have to pay the fee for having your vehicle impounded for 7 days.
Additional consequences if convicted of stunt driving or racing
In addition to the penalties listed under the highway traffic act, a conviction will also result in a significant increase in insurance costs. If your license is suspended you will also have to deal with not being able to drive for a period of time. A driver’s license suspension can have a significant impact on your personal life, as well as your employment. In addition, you will also have to pay a $150 administrative fee to have your driver’s license reinstated.
Defending charges of stunt driving and racing
What defenses may be available to you on charges of stunt driving or racing will depend upon the facts of your case. For example, if you are charged with driving 50km/h or more over the speed limit, the fact that you did not realize you were going that fast or that you did not intend to drive that fast is not a defense. In these circumstances, a defense that may be available to you is the accuracy and reliability of the radar equipment.
For other forms of stunt driving, such as losing traction, causing the vehicle to spin, or causing one or more tires to be lifted from the surface of the road, your intention at the time you committed this act could provide you with a defense. In these cases, the surrounding circumstances (weather conditions, road conditions, location or road you were driving on) could have a significant impact on whether a defense is available to you.
A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will be in the best position to advise you of any defenses available to you and defend you against your charges.