In Canada a dangerous driving is a charge you can receive when law enforcement authorities find you operating a motor vehicle, a seagoing vessel, aircraft or railway equipment in a way that is dangerous to the general public.
Essential Considerations For Successful Conviction
The Crown Prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this charge successfully:
- You were found operating a motor vehicle, a seagoing vessel, aircraft or railway equipment;
- How you were using the car demonstrated a significant or marked departure from the standard of a reasonable and prudent individual; and
- How you were driving was dangerous to the public
To determine your reckless driving behaviour in the presence of the public, the court needs to consider all the circumstances of your alleged offence. This includes the total amount of traffic, and the nature, condition and use of the area where you were operating your vehicle.
If the court finds your driving action to be equitably dangerous under the circumstances, the judge will convict you of this offence. It is worth noting that the Crown Prosecutor does not need to prove that you put someone in danger to convict you of this offence. Instead, the mere risk that a person could have been hurt or put in trouble can be enough for them to convict you of dangerous driving.
To find you guilty of a dangerous driving charge, the Crown Prosecutor must also prove that you had the mental intent to perform the offence. For this reason, they will have to demonstrate that you recognised or ought to have realised that your driving could have put the general public in danger. However, you preferred to drive carelessly anyway.
Dangerous Driving Charge Punishment
In Canada, dangerous driving is considered as a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown can choose to prosecute you summarily or by indictment. If the Crown decides to prosecute you summarily, you can face up to a maximum of six months jail time. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, you may face up to five years in prison.
If your dangerous driving resulted in the death or bodily harm of another individual, you would face a much more significant penalty. If you get convicted of dangerous driving, causing physical injury, the court will charge you with an indictable offence, coupled with a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. If the court convicts you of dangerous driving, causing bodily harm, and the physical damage occurred while you were street racing, you will face a maximum penalty of fourteen years in prison. If the court convicts you of dangerous driving, causing death, you will get charged with an indictable offence and be liable for up to fourteen years of jail time.
Besides a conviction for dangerous driving, you can also expect that you will receive a fine and a driving prohibition. The monetary penalties can go up to $5000, and the driving prohibition can run as long as three years.
Slaferek Callihoo is an experienced criminal defence law agency based in Edmonton, Alberta that deals with a range of criminal cases in an increasingly professional manner. Visit our website to learn more about our expert legal services or contact us for legal consultation.