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Stunt Driving vs Dangerous Driving

Stunt vs. Dangerous Driving in Ontario: Consequences, Penalties & Key Differences Explained

Understanding Stunt Driving vs. Dangerous Driving in Ontario

Are you confused about the difference between Stunt Driving and Dangerous Driving in Ontario? You’re not alone. These two charges may sound similar, but they carry very different consequences. Dive into this guide to learn the essentials about these two offenses and their respective penalties.

Stunt Driving in Ontario: What You Need to Know

Under the Highway Traffic Act’s Section 172(1), Stunt Driving is a serious offense. If charged and convicted, here’s what you can expect:

  • License Suspension: Your driver’s license can be suspended for anywhere between 1 to 3 years.
  • Hefty Fines: Get ready to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.
  • Demerit Points: You’ll get 6 demerit points added to your driving record.
  • Potential Jail Time: In severe cases, you could spend up to 6 months behind bars.
  • Mandatory Courses: You’ll have to take a Driver’s Improvement course.
  • Insurance Woes: Expect significant insurance premium hikes once your suspension ends.
  • Immediate Consequences: Upon the charge, you’ll face a 30-day license suspension and a 14-day vehicle impound.

Dangerous Driving in Ontario: The Criminal Aspect

Dangerous Driving, as defined by the Criminal Code, implies you operated a vehicle “in a manner that is dangerous to the public.” The penalties are more severe:

  • Criminal Record: A conviction here means a permanent mark on your record.
  • License Suspension: A mandatory 1-year suspension of your driving license.
  • Imprisonment: You can be jailed for up to 5 years.
  • Financial Setbacks: Fines ranging between $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Demerit Points: Just like Stunt Driving, you get 6 demerit points.
  • Probation: Criminal probation could be on the cards.
  • Insurance Impact: Your insurance premiums can skyrocket for at least the next 5 years.

Who Decides the Charge: Stunt Driving or Dangerous Driving?

The decision rests with the trained police officers. Typically, if you exceed the speed limit by a significant amount (50km or more on roads with an 80km+ limit or 40km or more on roads with a limit under 80km), you’ll likely face a Stunt Driving charge. But, in cases with excessive speeds or exceptionally risky behavior, an officer might choose the Dangerous Driving charge instead.

Stunt Driving vs. Dangerous Driving: The Key Difference

The most prominent distinction is the outcome on your record. While Stunt Driving affects only your driving record, a Dangerous Driving conviction results in a criminal record. This criminal record can impact your job prospects, ability to travel abroad, immigration status, and more.

What are the penalties for Stunt Driving and Dangerous Driving in Ontario?

Stunt Driving, under the Highway Traffic Act's Section 172(1), can lead to penalties such as a 1-3 year license suspension, fines between $2,000-$10,000, and up to 6 months in jail, among others. Dangerous Driving, as per the Criminal Code, can result in a criminal record, a mandatory 1-year driving license suspension, up to 5 years of imprisonment, and fines between $1,000-$10,000, among other consequences.

How does a Dangerous Driving charge differ from a Stunt Driving charge in Ontario?

While both charges are serious, the primary distinction is their impact on your record. Stunt Driving affects only your driving record. However, a Dangerous Driving conviction leads to a criminal record, which can affect job prospects, the ability to travel abroad, immigration status, and more.

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About Jon Cohen, Partner
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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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Next Law publishes these articles and videos as a service to our website visitors for general informational purposes only. These materials do not, and are not, intended to, constitute legal advice. You should not act upon any such information without seeking professional counsel.