Stunt Driving

Ontario cracked down on street racers and aggressive drivers with the 2007 law, Bill 203, which hikes fines as high as $10,000 for drivers caught going 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.

The law also allows police to suspend an offender’s driver’s licence and impound their vehicle for a week. And it packs the threat of jail time — a maximum six months.

Furthermore, your insurance premiums will skyrocket up to a whopping 100% rate increase for the next three years, that is, if any insurance company will accept you and for insurance after having a conviction for stunt driving and/or racing. 

In addition to the immediate seven-day suspension of your driver’s license, if convicted of street racing and/or stunt driving a second time your license could be suspended for upto a maximum of 10 years. 

If you receive a ticket for street racing and/or stunt driving, it is in your best interest to get legal representation because there are many consequences to pleading guilty for a street racing and/or stunt driving ticket.

Legal representation will be able to decide if there is enough evidence against you to convict you or if the prosecutor may be able to plead your case down to a lesser charge in order to save your license so you can get back and forth to work in addition to saving you money you may not have.

SUMMONS TO COURT

ASummons under the Provincial Offences Act and this includes all Highway Traffic Act matters, you can appear in person or by agent. In practical terms, your paralegal can appear on your behalf and you are not required to attend court except at trial and in some instances on plea date

About your ticket: You have been given a “Summons” whose sole job is to get you in front of a judge. The actual charging document is something the office must remember to type up on a yellow 8″x10″ piece of paper called “The Information”. He must also remember to have a judge sign this AND the back of the Summons “confirming” that you have been properly given (or served) the Summons.

If he has failed or made an error in any of these additional steps, then it is plausible for your charge to stall and never got off the ground.

That is why it is very important that we attend for you.

Once we have viewed this document at court and are satisfied that all is in order then the process can continue.

Your case will then likely be put over for about 4-6 weeks time. (“To be spoken to” only – not a trial date). The prosecution should provide us with a package of documents called “Disclosure”. This usually consists of a copy of the officer’s memo book about what happened and how they intend to prove that you committed this offence. It is not uncommon for us to have to send a letter to the prosecutor’s office seeking further, legible disclosure. Failure to produce this disclosure in a timely fashion is often a basis for winning your case.

** IMPORTANT ** If your driver’s license is or was a “G2″ (Novice Driver) on the day you got this ticket then your license will be suspended by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) for 30 days if you accumulate 4 demerit points at once. (From the day of conviction). In other words: Even if you manage to get a reduction from 6 points down to 4 points and avoid a conviction for Stunt Driving, if your license was G2 on the offence date, the MTO will suspend your license for 30 days as a result of the 4 points – from the day of the conviction at court.

Should you wish to have a trial instead of resolving to a lesser offence, or should the prosecution not be willing to discuss or negotiate a resolution, then we will set a date for trial.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, “Stunt” driving can mean:

The Penalties under the Highway Traffic Act.

Even if a person is not convicted of any of these stunt driving or racing offences, that person will still suffer from a) a 7 day administrative driving suspension, b) a 7 day vehicle impound, and, c) impound fees.

If convicted, those consequences become much worse and will include: a) a very hefty fine ($2,000.00 to $10,000.00), b) longer driving suspensions (up to 10 years in some cases), and c) 6 Demerit points. 

The Highway Traffic Act states, under section 172(2) that:

Every person who [commits the offence of stunting or racing] is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence may be suspended,

In addition to these crippling sanctions, a person has to worry about the costs associated with reinstating licences, victim fine surcharges, impound fees, massive insurance rate hikes (or possible ineligibility), and the inconvenience of not driving for whatever period of time may be imposed.  As inconvenient and costly as it may have been to be charged, it will pale in comparison to the costs and inconvenience of being convicted of these offences.

Defences to stunt driving and racing under the Highway Traffic Act: 

The penalties for stunt driving are significant and can include large fines, driving suspension, or even incarceration. Speaking to a lawyer can assist you in understanding what you options and defences may be.

There are many defences that can apply for stunt racing or driving. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all defence for a category of offence like stunt driving or racing.  Depending on what the police are alleging you did, certain defences may or may not apply.

Many people believe, for example, that if they tell the Court that they “thought’ they were going under 50km/h then it is a defence  – yet by itself, it is not.   Without getting into complicated readings of subsections and legal definitions of “reasonable diligence”, it is enough to say that it really takes someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law to advise a person what defence may apply.

Depending on the specifics of the allegations for stunt racing, some of those defences may include:

Again, none of these defences fit every case that comes before us.  Considering the consequences of a conviction, obtaining a legal opinion may be one of the best decisions you ever make.  

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. The author(s) posting these article(s) are not responsible for any loss, damages, convictions or fines as a result of using these article(s) or any content in these article(s). Use at the reader’s risk. Please consult a lawyer or a paralegal if in doubt. These articles are for the purposes of informing the average person.