There is some real confusion out there as to when or how your court date will proceed with COVID and delays. Hopefully, this article can
Stunt Driving. What Do I Do Next?
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The 30-Second Ontario Stunt Driving test will help calculate the penalties you will be facing from the prosecutor in court
Your ability to keep driving depends on what comes next. I’ll explain everything about your traffic charge and develop a strategy that will change everything – FREE!
Your ability to keep driving depends on what comes next. I’ll explain everything about your traffic charge and develop a strategy that will change everything – FREE!
What is a Stunt Driving charge in Ontario? What is a Racing charge in Ontario?
Understand the law. To know how to fight a Stunt Driving charge in Ontario or a Racing charge, it’s important to understand the law that you have been charged under.
You’ve been charged under the “Highway Traffic Act” of Ontario. There are lots of laws you need to follow when you drive. Many of these laws can be found in the “Highway Traffic Act” of Ontario.
What speed is considered Stunt Driving (or Racing) in Ontario?
Under the Highway Traffic Act, you are Stunt Driving (or Racing) when your speed is greater than 50km / hour over the stated speed limit.
Stunt Driving (or Racing) is covered under section 172 of the “Highway Traffic Act” of Ontario. You can read the exact language of the charge here.
Being charged with Stunt Driving or Racing, does NOT mean you are guilty.
- Unless you have been convicted in court, your Stunt Driving or Racing charge is an allegation that is not yet proven.
You will need to appear in court – When you were charged with stunt, the police gave you a summons to appear in court.
- You got what looks like a standard traffic ticket. Depending on how the officer laid the the stunt driving charge, it can be a simple ticket, or it can be a summons compelling you to appear in court.
- On the summons, the police officer will have written the date, the time and the location of the court where you need to appear for your Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
- The court date may be online. Due to COVID-19, many court dates will not be in person. If that’s the case, the court will inform you of how to virtually attend your court date.
Your court appearance is NOT your trial date – The summons directs you to appear in court for a court date called the “First Appearance.”
- The Stunt Driving “First Appearance” is NOT a trial. This court date is the first time you appear before the court for your Stunt Driving charge.
- The legal process for your Stunt Driving charge may take multiple court appearances before your case is resolved.
- The complete legal process may take days, weeks, months, sometimes over a year to resolve.
Read below, Chapter 9, for more about the legal process you face when you get a Stunt Driving or a Racing charge.
What is the Penalty for Stunt Driving in Ontario?
The penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing are severe.
The penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing are found in section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario
Here is a summary of the penalties:
- Fines: The minimum fine is $2,000. The maximum fine is $10,000.
- Demerit Points: 6
- Jail: Up to 6 months of file
- Probation: Up to 2 years.
- License Suspension: Up to 2 years.
Your insurance rates will dramatically increase. When you are convicted of Stunt Driving or Racing, your insurance company will place you in a “high-risk” category. And the impact of being “high-risk” will be dramatic insurance rate increases.
Can you go to jail for speeding?
For a regular speeding ticket under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act, the answer is no. You cannot go to jail for speeding.
However, if your speed is higher than 50km per hour above the speed limit, you are no longer just speeding. You are Stunt Driving or Racing your vehicle. In this case, yes, it is possible to go to jail.
Why are the penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing so harsh?
- The penalties are severe because Stunt Driving or Racing in Ontario is considered a “public safety” offence. Here’s what that means.
- A typical car weighs about 4,000 pounds (or about 1,800 kilograms). That is a lot of weight to be moving on a set of wheels.
- Don’t think of it as a car. Think of your vehicle as a weapon. A 4,000-pound weapon. That can kill a person. That can put someone in a wheelchair. That can cause property damage.
- In the context of driving a 4,000 weapon, the Ontario lawmakers made a public policy decision. They simply do not want people driving a vehicle at fast speeds. Doing so poses a real danger to society (remember, think of a 4,000-pound weapon).
- Because Stunt Driving is considered a danger to the public, the lawmakers treat this charge differently and more harshly than a typical traffic ticket. Stunt Driving or Racing is classified in a different section of the Highway Traffic Act. This section is known as Part III offences. They are much more serious than “regular” traffic offences.
- Severe penalties are given because the lawmakers only want people to drive that follow the rules of the Highway Traffic Act. And creating harsher punishments sends a message to the public that society will not accept dangerous driving behaviour.
- Yes, the province will charge you with incredibly severe penalties. Yes, the lawmakers know this is harsh. Yes, the lawmakers know that you might not be able to absorb these penalties. And, if you are convicted with these penalties, then you lose your ability to feed yourself and your family. Yes, the lawmakers know that. But, that is the price you will pay when you pose a risk to the public.
Why are the penalties listed as a range and not fixed? (For example, there is potential license suspension up to 2 years or fines up to $10,000.)
The penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing in Ontario are purposely defined by the lawmakers as a range. In other words, the penalties are not fixed.
This is very different than the penalties for simple speeding under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act. With simple speeding, the fines and demerit point penalties are fixed. There is no discretion with what your penalty is going to be.
However, if you are charged with Stunt Driving or Racing, the penalties that you are subject to have a very wide range. These penalties are NOT fixed because of the severity of the Stunt Driving or Racing charge. The more severe your case is, the more severe the penalty will be.
Who decides on what the penalty will be?
The Justice of the Peace is the final decision maker on what your penalty will be.
However, the Prosecutor (who is the person working for the Ontario government that is in charge of prosecuting the case against you), does have a say in what the penalty will be. But, ultimately, it’s the Justice of the Peace who will decide.
What factors determine what the penalty will be?
There are many factors that go into the decision making process about what your Stunt Driving or Racing charge penalty will be. Some of these factors include:
- How fast the speed you were going. Generally, the higher the speed, the more severe the potential penalty.
- Whether you have previous convictions of Stunt Driving or Racing charges. And generally, what your driving record looks like.
- If there was an accident. And if there was, was anyone hurt or killed.
- Where the incident happened and what time of day. For example, speeding during the week near a school will generally be treated harshly. Or, if the offence happened in a residential area.
- How your interactions were with the Police officer. Confrontational actions will factor into the penalty.
Is Stunt Driving or Racing a Criminal Charge?
No. Stunt Driving or Racing is not a criminal charge. It is an offence under Part III of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.
A conviction of Stunt Driving or Racing under the Highway Traffic Act, while serious, will NOT result in a criminal charge.
While jail is a potential penalty for stunt driving or racing, it is not a criminal charge.
The Criminal Code of Canada does have charges that are focused on driving such as Dangerous Driving. So, if the Stunt Driving or Racing event is so severe, the Police may decide to pursue charges against you under the Criminal Code of Canada.
What is the difference between getting charged with Speeding and Stunt Driving or Racing?
When you travel at speed greater than the stated speed limit (assuming this is true), you are guilty of speeding under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act. And, when you are convicted, most of the time, you get a fine and demerit points.
However, everything changes when you drive in excess of 50km per hour above the stated speed limit. At speeds above 50km per hour, the lawmakers move your actions into a different (and much more serious) charge of the Highway Traffic Act, section 172 (which covers Stunt Driving or Racing).
There are 4 critical differences between getting charged with a “non-serious” speeding charge (section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act) and Stunt Driving or Racing (section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act).
- Difference #1 – Your vehicle gets towed and impounded for 7-days. And you have to pay all expenses associated with the towing and impoundment.
- Difference #2 – Your driver’s license is automatically suspended for 7-days. So, even if you have access to a different vehicle, you can’t drive it because your drivers license will be suspended. And, even if you do NOT get convicted of your Stunt Driving or Racing charge, this 7-day suspension stays on your drivers record.
- Difference #3 – You’re facing a much more serious legal process than a simple speeding ticket. Your legal process is simple. In fact, you can deal with it by physical mail or even online.
- However, with a Stunt Driving or Racing charge, you are facing a “quasi-criminal” process.
- You legally must attend court, get the evidence against you, and potentially face multiple court dates that may last on a timeline of up to 18 months.
- Difference #4 – You’re going to face very serious penalties. If you are convicted of Stunt Driving or Racing, you will face very serious penalties. Penalties include fines, demerit points, license suspension, and possibly probation and (in more serious cases), jail time.
Read above, Chapter 2, for more details on the penalties.
Why are there significant differences between a simple speeding ticket and getting charged with Stunt Driving or Racing?
It comes down to public safety.
The best way to understand the logic is to understand that a typical vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds.
Imagine that 4,000 pounds as a weapon on wheels. Now, imagine that 4,000 pounds on wheels going really, really fast. And, imagine what damage that 4,000 pound weapon (going really really fast), can do to another car. Or what would happen if that 4,000 pound weapon hit a person. Obviously, the potential impact is significant.
The lawmakers decided, from a public policy perspective, that they don’t drivers going really fast given the potential harm to the public.
To prevent this behaviour, the lawmakers decided that when a driver goes 50km per hour above the stated speed limit, they will create very harsh penalties in order to prevent other people from driving in this reckless manner.
So, the lawmakers created section 172 under the Highway Traffic Act, to harshly punish anyone who goes faster than 50km over the speed limit.
What Impact does Stunt Driving or a Racing conviction have on your insurance?
Bottom line. A conviction on a Stunt Driving or Racing charge in Ontario will significantly impact your insurance payments.
- The reason all has to do with risk. Insurance companies decide on how much you will pay based on your driving risk profile. The higher the risk, the higher the premium.
- Stunt Driving or Racing is one of the most serious driving offences under the Highway Traffic Act. The insurance companies know this. And the serious nature of the charge will be reflected in what you pay in premiums.
Can insurance companies check your driving record?
Yes. Insurance companies price your insurance based on how risky a driver you are. And, one of the most important ways they assess how risky a driver you are, is based on your driving record.
Can insurance companies refuse to insure you?
Yes. When you are convicted of Stunt Driving or Racing, you are considered a “high-risk” driver. An insurance company may then decide that you are too risky of a driver and may refuse to insure you.
How far back do insurance companies look at your driving record in Ontario?
3 Years. Your Stunt Driving or Racing charge will remain on your driving record for three years.
How can you beat your Stunt Driving or Racing charge in Ontario?
Anyone can fight their Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
And it may be possible to win. And in some cases, it may be possible to get your charges withdrawn, even if you’re guilty.
How can you get your Stunt Driving or Racing charge withdrawn (or dismissed)?
If there is a big mistake with your Stunt Driving or Racing charge, it may get withdrawn.
And, there are 2 types of mistakes that can happen with your charge: Fatal Errors, and Minor Errors.
If your charge has a “Fatal Error”.
- These are errors that would impact the core of the charge itself.
- These mistakes cannot be fixed.
- Your charge would be withdrawn. Your case would be over!
If your charge has “Minor Error”.
- These errors can be fixed by the court. And, the case against you continues.
Where can you find the mistakes?
In your disclosure! The disclosure is all the evidence that the court has against you and will be used to prosecute the case against you.
- These mistakes are typically found in your disclosure. That’s why it’s so important to get your disclosure and read it over.
Something missing? If you believe there is some evidence or information that is missing, then you should request to get that missing information. Speak to the Prosecutor to find out how to order the missing disclosure.
The Prosecutor, upon seeing the Fatal Error, may decide to withdraw the charge.
Or, the Justice of the Peace, upon seeing a Fatal Error, may rule that the charge be dismissed.
What are your chances of getting the charges withdrawn?
Be realistic. It’s a small chance that your charge may have a “fatal error”, but it does happen. And it’s worth finding out.
I have a reason why I was going so fast. Can I use this reason as a defence to fight my Stunt Driving or Racing charge?
There are valid defences to fight a Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
However, most “excuses” are NOT defences. Because a Stunt Driving or a Racing charge is a public safety offence, the lawmakers made it very difficult to “win” these cases. That means most excuses won’t get you off this charge.
Excuse #1 – “Everyone else was driving that speed too.”
No, this is NOT a defence.
- Many clients believe they were following other speeding drivers.
- Police have the right to ticket ANY driver for exceeding the posted limit.
- It does NOT matter whether other drivers were at this speed as well. The Prosecutor only needs to prove that you drove “in excess of 50khm over the posted speed limit”.
Excuse #2 – “I can’t lose my drivers license and pay crazy insurance rates.
No, this is NOT a defence.
- Many clients have to drive for work. Or, for their family. Or for medical reasons. And losing a driver’s license can be devastating to your personal and work life.
- However, the penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing are severe for a reason.
- The lawmakers want to send a strong message to the public that you have to follow the rules of the road. And if you don’t follow the rules, then you will face serious consequences.
Excuse #3 – “It was an emergency, I had to drive that fast.”
No, this is NOT a defence.
See logic above.
Excuse #4 – “My speed didn’t hurt anybody. I don’t understand the big deal.”
No, this is NOT a defence.
The fact that no one was hurt has no legal meaning. See logic above.
Excuse #5 – “I didn’t commit a crime. The penalties are crazy.”
No, this is NOT a defence.
Yes, the penalties are severe because the lawmakers want “responsible” drivers on the road. And for those people that do not drive responsibly, the law will punish them appropriately.
Who are the people that will be involved in my Stunt Driving or Racing case?
To get the best outcome for your stunt driving or racing charge, it’s important to know the people involved in your stunt driving or racing case.
How does our court system work?
Our court system works like a “boxing match” or “MMA fight.”
Our court system is designed to have two people fighting it out with a referee to make sure each side is following the rules. And, that referee will also decide on the outcome of your case.
Who are the people that matter in my stunt driving or racing case?
There are 3 important people that matter in your stunt driving or racing case.
Important Person #1: You – You have been charged under the Highway Traffic Act. You are known as the “Defendant.”
- You can either defend yourself or have a lawyer or paralegal defend you.
- If you have a lawyer or paralegal defend you, it’s important to make sure that they are licensed by the Law Society in Ontario and their license is in good standing.
- Important Person #2: The Prosecutor – The Prosecutor is representing the Ontario government. If your case goes to trial, then the Police Officer will be asked to attend your trial to provide the evidence.
Important Person #3: The Justice of the Peace – The Justice of the Peace is the “referee.”
- The Justice of the Peace will decide your case’s outcome (whether you are guilty or not guilty).
- If you are found guilty of Stunt Driving, that Justice of the Peace will also decide on the penalty or sentence against you.
- And, if your Stunt Driving case does not go to trial but is resolved by a plea agreement, then the Justice of the Peace will need to approve the plea agreement and will be the final decision maker regarding the penalty.
What role does each person play in my stunt driving or racing case?
These 3 important people each have an important role in your stunt driving or racing case.
- Your Role – You have been charged with a stunt driving or racing offence.
Your job is to defend yourself against the charge. If you hire a lawyer (or paralegal), your lawyer’s job will be to defend you.
- The Prosecutor’s Role – The Prosecutor is NOT your friend. Yes, they may be nice. They may be pleasant to deal with. But their job is NOT to be your friend. His or her job is to convict you of the stunt driving or racing charge. First, the Prosecutor needs to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges against you. If there is, then the charges against you will proceed.
The Justice of the Peace’s Role – He or she is the “referee” in your fight.
- The Justice of the Peace is NOT advocating for you.
- The Justice of the Peace is NOT advocating for the Prosecutor.
- The Justice of the Peace is like a referee. The Justice of the Peace is there to make sure that all the rules are being followed.
- And, the Justice of the Peace will be the one who decides whether you are guilty or not.
How much power does the Prosecutor have in your Stunt Driving or Racing case?
The prosecutor has a lot of power in your Stunt Driving case.
As you read above, the Prosecutor is not your friend.
The Prosecutor’s job is to convict you of the Stunt Driving or Racing charge against you.
Convicting You (Sorry, It’s Pretty Easy)
- It’s the Prosecutor job to prove you committed the offence of Stunt Driving or Racing according to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
- Unfortunately for you, it’s relatively easy to convict you of this charge.
- Generally, the Prosecutor needs to prove that at the time of the offence, you were travelling at a speed of over 50km/h over the posted limit.
But, that’s not the end of the story (and this part is REALLY important)
The Prosecutor needs to make 2 decisions.
- 1st Decision – Whether they have enough evidence to get a conviction (generally, pretty easy to do in these cases).
- 2nd Decision – Even if there is sufficient evidence, they need to decide whether “it is in the interest of justice” to pursue the charge given the circumstances.
- This 2nd decision is REALLY important because the law gives the Prosecutor the power to decide whether to move ahead with the charge.
- If they move ahead, then that means on conviction, you are going to have to face the serious penalties associated with Stunt Driving or Racing.
- If, however, the Prosecutor decides it does NOT make sense to move ahead, the Prosecutor may then drop the charges as they are not in the public interest nor the interests of justice.
- Sounds good, right? It does sound good because it is good.
- However, the Prosecutor is the ONLY person who can decide to proceed with the charges.
- That is WHY the Prosecutor has a lot of power. The Prosecutor will determine whether to proceed with the charge (or not).
- The Prosecutor matters. A lot.
- If the Prosecutor decides NOT to give you a break, well, that is NOT good.
- But, it’s NOT over!!!! It may be possible to convince the Prosecutor why it does make sense to give you a break.
- Getting the Prosecutor to change their mind does happen. But, there are a lot of factors that go into making that decision.
- Obviously the facts of your case matter. But there are other factors that may play a huge role in the Prosecutor’s decision. These include the jurisdiction in which you were charged and who the Prosecutor is.
- Get free advice, call a lawyer. The good news is that you can get free consultations.
What is the legal process you face when you get a stunt driving or racing charge?
What should I expect when going to court for my stunt driving or racing charge?
The most important thing to remember with any charge – whether you’ve been charged with Stunt Driving, or Racing, — is that you are presumed innocent.
- It’s the government’s job to prove you are guilty. You do not need to prove you are innocent.
- To prove the charges against you, the government must go through a very specific legal process. This legal process starts with what is called a “first appearance.”
How long does it take for my stunt driving or racing charge to proceed against me in the courts?
The charges against you will take time. The legal process does not happen overnight. However, the courts cannot take forever to prosecute the case against you.
- Generally, the courts have up to 18-months to bring the charges against you to trial. If your case goes beyond that 18-month time period, it may be possible to get your charges withdrawn because your right to have your case heard within a reasonable period of time has been breached. This is a constitutional argument that you should speak to your lawyer about.
What are the key court appearances that I will face during my legal process?
As your case proceeds through the court system in Ontario, you will face a series of court dates that include:
First Appearance – This is the first time you appear before the court for your Stunt Driving charge. It’s not a trial.
- To Be Spoken To or Set Date Appearances – The case against you will take time. For example, your lawyer needs to get all the evidence, prepare a defence, etc. The same is true of the Prosecutor prosecuting the case against you. They need time to prepare the case against you, respond to your lawyer, etc. The courts require updates to the process to ensure the process is moving forward. These court updates are heard in court, and these court dates are called “To Be Spoken To” or “Set Appearance” court dates.
- Judicial Pre-Trial – In some cases, you may have a formal court date called a judicial-pre-trial. This court date is effectively a resolution meeting between you and the Prosecutor. If a lawyer represents you, then the meeting will happen between the Prosecutor and your lawyer. At this meeting, the issues surrounding your case will be discussed. Potential case resolutions will also be discussed.
- Trial – A trial is where the charges against you will be heard in a courtroom in front of a Justice of the Peace.
- Sentencing – If you are found guilty (or enter a guilty plea), generally, the Justice of the Peace will immediately decide on the penalty. In some cases, the Justice of the Peace will decide on the penalty at a future court date.
What is disclosure?
Disclosure is all the evidence that the Prosecutor will use against you as they try to convict you on your Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
Disclosure includes all the Police Officer notes, witness statements, and technical documents including the notes regarding the radar device.
Am I entitled to all the evidence in my case?
And, it’s important to know that the disclosure you get at your First Appearance may not be complete.
And it is critical to get complete disclosure to properly assess your case’s strengths and weaknesses to mount an effective defence.
What do I need to know about going to court for the first time?
Your first court date is called a “First Appearance”. This is the first time you will appear before the court for your Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
When you were charged with Stunt Driving or Racing, the police officer gave you a summons with your court details for your first appearance. The details will include the date, time and the court where you need to appear.
Due to COVID-19, many court dates will not be in person. If that’s the case, the court will inform you on how to virtually attend your court date.
Here is a list of most of the courts which handle Stunt Driving or Racing charges.
Barrie, Belleville, Bracebridge – Muskoka, Brampton, Brockville – Leeds & Grenville, Caledon East, Cayuga – Haldimand,Chatham – Kent, Cobourg – Northumberland, Cochrane, Cornwall – Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Durham, Dryden, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Frances, Goderich – Huron, Gore Bay, Guelph, Haileybury – Temiskaming Shores, Halton Region (Burlington – Halton Hills – Milton – Oakville), Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo Region, Lindsay – Kawartha Lakes, London, Mississauga, Napanee – Lennox & Addington, Newmarket – York Region, North Bay, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa, Owen Sound / Walkerton – Grey Bruce, Parry Sound, Pembroke – Renfrew, Perth, Peterborough, Picton – Prince Edward County, Richmond Hill, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Simcoe – Norfolk, St. Catharines – Niagara Region, Stratford – Perth, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto East, Toronto South, Toronto West, Welland – Niagara Region, Windsor, Woodstock – Oxford. You can find a complete address list here
What is going to happen at my First Appearance in court?
Here’s what’s going to happen at court appearance for your Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
Meet the Prosecutor and get your evidence – You are going to meet with the Prosecutor. And, that Prosecutor is going to give you the evidence, which will be put into your Disclosure.
Your meeting with the Prosecutor may be very brief because you are simply checking in to let the court know that you are there. In some cases, there may be time to speak with the Prosecutor about your case. Whether there is time (or not) to speak about your case is the decision of the Prosecutor.
After meeting with the Prosecutor, you have 3 options to consider for the next steps.
- Option #1 – You can enter a guilty plea. The case will end that day. Most of the time, the penalties (e.g. fines, demerit points, driving suspension, etc.), will start that day.
- Option #2 – Set a trial date. You can fight the Stunt Driving or Racing charge and set a trial date.
- Option #3 – Get a delay (usually 3 to 6 weeks) to get legal advice.
There is NO downside to ask for this delay. It’s important to understand the charge you are facing, the evidence the court has against you and the penalties that you face. Take the time to make an informed decision.
Lastly, a new court date will be set. Assuming you did not enter a guilty plea, you will appear before the Justice of the Peace and a new court date will be set.
- That new court date will either be to give you the time to get legal advice. Or, you will have set a trial date.
- In either case, it’s important to get the proper legal advice to make an informed decision.
What is the difference between disclosure and evidence?
Practically, they are the same thing.
Evidence are the facts upon which the prosecution will use to try to prove the Stunt Driving or Racing charges against you.
Disclosure is the “package” of evidence that will be given to you at your first appearance.
Disclosure typically includes a synopsis of the police summary of the case against you, the police officer’s notes, witness statements and a screening form (which an offer for resolution).
Why is disclosure so important in my Stunt Driving or Racing case?
- Because the penalties for Stunt Driving or Racing are so serious (read above), our legal system is designed to give you everything you need to defend yourself properly.
- The only way to properly defend yourself is to get all the evidence that the province has against you.
- Once you get that evidence, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you. You can then make an informed decision on how you want to proceed with your case. And, if you decide to fight the charges, you can then put together a proper strategy to fight the charge (because you have all the evidence).
- The only way to guarantee that you get your evidence is to force you to go to court, i.e. to force you to go to your first appearance.
Why is there a delay after getting charged with Stunt Driving or Racing and my first court date?
- First appearances are usually scheduled for 4 to 6 weeks after the police charge you. This time delay allows the police to properly gather all the evidence that has to be included in your disclosure.
Can I get all the evidence against me?
You legally have the right to get all the evidence that the court has against you.
Getting all your evidence is NOT a choice of the prosecutor or the court. The court must give you all the evidence. If you do not get all the evidence, it may be possible to get the charges against you withdrawn.
Will all the evidence be ready at my first appearance?
Occasionally, the evidence against you may not be ready by the time you arrive at your first appearance.
In this case the court will set another court date to give the court and the prosecutor more time to get the evidence.
However, if after a few court dates you still don’t have your disclosure, the Justice of the Peace may dismiss the charges against you.
When I get my disclosure, is that all the evidence?
Not necessarily. And this is a very important point to know.
Even when you get your disclosure, that does not mean that you have all the evidence against you. In fact, your disclosure package may be missing some key evidence.
If you suspect there is missing evidence, you can ask the court and the prosecutor, for that additional evidence.
Getting ALL your evidence is critical for you to be able to make an informed decision on how you want to proceed with your case.
Will the Police Officer that charged me be at my First Appearance in court?
The Police Officer is not required to be at your First Appearance. If your case goes to trial, then yes, the Police Officer that charged you will be called upon to give the evidence that he or she has against you.
Is this First Appearance my trial date?
No. Your “First Appearance” is not a trial. It’s the first time you appear before the court for your Stunt Driving or Racing charge.
If you decide to go to trial, then your trial date will be set at some point in the future. That date may be days, weeks, or many months in the future. But your trial will NOT happen on your first appearance.
Do I have to attend my First Appearance?
If you have hired a lawyer, then no. You do not need to attend your First Appearance because your lawyer will attend on your behalf.
If you have not hired a lawyer, then yes. You will need to attend your First Appearance.
Can I have someone who is not a licensed lawyer attend on my behalf?
Maybe. For the first appearance, you may be able to have someone attend on your behalf. However, you should give that person written permission that they are allowed to attend on your behalf and include the reason why you are not able to attend.
Pro Tips – How to Make Your Court Appearance Go Smoothly
Tip #1 – What to bring to your Stunt Driving or Racing court date
- If it’s your first appearance, bring the court summons or ticket the police officer gave to you when you got charged. This is helpful in the event the court cannot find your file.
- If you have any evidence that contradicts your charge, bring that too and show it to the Prosecutor.
Tip #2 – Get there early
- The earlier you get to court for your Stunt charge, the earlier you will be able to leave. This is especially true with busier courts.
- Try to get there at least 30 minutes before start time.
Tip #3 – Confirm you are on the court docket
- With every court date, there is a list of everyone that needs to appear. That list is called a “court docket”.
- Confirm you are on the list. Sometimes you are not. If you are not on the court docket, don’t leave. Show the Prosecutor the summons and ask what you should do next.
Tip #4 – Get in line
- When you get to court, make sure you find the line. It’s common for people to show up early and not get in the right line. Or, wait around while other people form a line.
- If you miss the right line, this may add a few hours to your time in court.
Tip #5 – It may take hours
- Be prepared to be in court for hours before your stunt driving charge is heard. Hopefully, it will be quick, but you never know.
Tip #6 – Keep your emotions in check. Even if you’re angry.
- Getting charged with Stunt Driving or Racing is stressful.
- But it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Everyone in the court has a job to do. You are now in a legal process and you need to ride it out.
Tip #7 – Make sure you stay after meeting with the Prosecutor.
- After you meet with the Prosecutor, you cannot leave.
- You must have your case heard before a Justice of the Peace.
Tip #8 – Take notes
- Make sure you get the prosecutor’s name. And if possible, their contact information.
- And, take note of your next court date appearance (date, time and courtroom). The courts will NOT send you notice of your next date so you need to write that down.
How Do I Fight a Stunt Driving Charge?
The most effective way to fight the charge is to hire an experienced lawyer. The results of your stunt driving charges rest with analyzing your disclosure or evidence, speaking with the prosecutor and determining the next steps. An experienced legal professional knows best how to navigate the complex court system to minimize the penalties for your charges.
How Does Stunt Driving Affect Insurance Increases?
A Stunt Driving charges (section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act) is a very damaging conviction on your driving abstract. For insurance companies, this is a serious moving violation, and could result in dramatic increases or possible outright refusal of insurance.
How Long does stunt driving stay on your record?
Generally, driving infractions will affect your insurance policy for up to 3 years. As far as your driving abstract, it will always remain.
How Do I Get Stunt Driving Charges Dropped?
In order to get your charges dropped, there would have to be a fatal error in the province's disclosure or evidence. If this is the case, a legal professional would argue to have the charges dismissed.
After you have a stunt driving charge, you will want to start “interviewing” legal professionals for information and/or representation. I have handled over 5,000 phone