Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan is a partner at NextLaw, and licensed by the Law Society of Ontario.

Is a Stunt Driving ticket a Criminal Offence?

One of the biggest fears we get when speaking to potential clients is “will I get a criminal record if I get convicted of my Stunt Driving charge?”.  The good news, is that the answer is “no”, but the bad news is that the penalties are very similar to criminal charges.  This is referred to as “quasi-criminal”.  This is defined by the Attorney General site of Ontario as:

Quasi-Criminal Offence. A non-criminal offence that carries a penalty similar to that of a criminal offence, but that is subject to less complex court procedures than are criminal offences. For example traffic and workplace safety offences.

This means that, depending on the circumstances of your stunt driving charges, the prosecutor has the right to ask for harsh penalties like jail time or severe fines that sound a lot like criminal penalties.  But, at the end of the day, they will not translate into a criminal record.  Rather they are deterring penalties that will reside on your driving abstract.

Granted, having potential jail-time is a penalty that most do not want to endure regardless of where it appears on your record.  Stunt Driving charges that entail jail time, still send you to the same jails that persons with criminal charges are sent.  Similarly, high fines are still painful to your financial well-being, regardless of whether they are traffic or criminal penalties.

When we represent a client, we treat the penalties just as serious as a criminal proceeding, even if they don’t result in a criminal record.  Our only job is to fight against these penalties in relation to your stunt driving charges.  After all, these are major civil liberties that are at stake.

Will a Stunt Driving Charge prevent me from getting employment?

You will not get a criminal record that would result in losing employment. However, a stunt driving charge can potentially prevent you from getting insured, so it would be very difficult for you to get many jobs that don't involve a car.

How can I possibly risk jail time with my stunt driving charge?

Because Stunt Driving is considered a danger to the public, the lawmakers treat this charge differently, and more harshly than a typical traffic ticket. Severe penalties are given because the lawmakers only want people to drive that follow the rules of the Highway Traffic Act. If you have either driven “without due care and attention”, or “without reasonable consideration” for other persons using the highway, the province is going to punish you.

Try Ontario's Only Stunt Drive Penalty Calculator

This 30-Second questionnaire will help you understand what you will be facing from the prosecutor in court

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