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COVID-19 & Your Stunt Driving Ticket in Ontario

Stunt Driving Ontario & COVID – Updated 2021

COVID has been with us now for well over a year.  Police are still issuing Stunt Driving tickets in Ontario, but there have been many changes in the way in which your court date, and your charges are being affected by COVID, social distancing and the court administration.  Let’s investigate the significant changes over the past 14 months.

CHANGE 1 – Phone or Zoom court appearances

This started back as early as October 2020.  The Ontario Provincial Court system shut down operations due to the beginning of the COVID pandemic and started to re-open for hearings in September/October 2020.  However, this was very slow and the systems such as phone appearances and Zoom were not yet fully functional.

Slowly but surely, all courts, after 2020 have been evolving to manage hearings, with most courts moving to Zoom in the past few months.  In order to accommodate this, every person that has a Stunt Driving charge got a notice in the mail with phone or Zoom instructions for their appearance.

This new system is constantly updating and court clerks, Justices of the Peace, and prosecutors are doing their best to make this work on such short notice.  Decades of an “in-person” system literally changed overnight.

CHANGE 2 – Your choice of legal representation just got better

Because court appearances used to be “in-person” at the court house, there used to be a “perception” of an advantage to hiring a firm that had an office near the court house.  This wasn’t necessarily the case, but it made logical sense.  If you got a ticket in Sudbury, you would search up representation in Sudbury.

Now, none of that matters.  You can now search up the legal firm that best suits your needs and they can attend court by phone or Zoom anywhere in Ontario.  So, in a positive way, COVID expanded your ability to find the BEST legal representation.

CHANGE 3 – I got a new summons

This is normal.  Because of delays, Police have had to re-summon your court appearance.  Depending on your charge, the summons, the offence, the law requires that you need to be re-summoned in certain cases.  This can be by the Police physically serving you a notice, or by mail.  This is normal.  If you have legal representation, forward this information to them.

CHANGE 4 – Can I get my charge dismissed?

Most likely no.  The long delays between court dates, etc, generally do not constitute a delay that can lead to a withdrawal or a Section 11b Charter challenge.  The reason is that the “Emergency Order” has extended all timelines in the courts, making it difficult to use these arguments.  And, now that the courts are moving into these remote hearings, courts are moving back into a regular flow with each passing day.

So what does this all mean?

Stunt driving charges are confusing at the best of times.  With all these new remote court measures, it can be even more difficult to navigate and understand the court process.  The most tried solution is to hire a legal professional to handle your case.  This way, they will follow your new date.  They will attend your appearances, regardless of whether this is by phone, in-person, or by video.  This will take the pressure off of your daily life, and give you a peace of mind to get through these changes.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on stunt driving charges in Ontario?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been changes to the way stunt driving cases are handled in Ontario. As of 2021, court appearances may be virtual and some in-person appearances may be postponed due to pandemic restrictions. It is important to stay informed and speak with a stunt driving lawyer to understand how these changes may impact your specific case.

Are stunt driving charges still being enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario?

Yes, stunt driving charges are still being enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. It is important to be aware of the laws and to drive safely, as the consequences for stunt driving can be severe. If you have been charged with stunt driving, it is important to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options.

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Jonathan practices exclusively in defending Stunt Driving charges in Ontario.  He is the co-founding partner of Nextlaw and is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario.

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