Dangerous driving or “dangerous operation of motor vehicle” is a criminal offence punishable under section 249 of The Criminal Code, unlike careless driving which is charged under the Traffic Safety Act.
The legal definition of dangerous driving states;
“Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place”. (S. 249.1a)
Simply put, dangerous driving is where your driving shows a reckless disregard for the safety of the public. The dangerous driving must occur in a public place where there is a likelihood of people being present. There does not have to be anyone actually present for the offence of dangerous driving to be committed.
A public place is considered to be any place that the public has access to including, but not limited to highways, roads, parking lots, schools, and shopping malls.
In order to be convicted of dangerous driving, the Crown prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were driving or operating the vehicle;
- You operated the vehicle in a manner that was, or could be reasonably expected to be dangerous to the public;
- That your state of mind was much more careless than a reasonable person’s mind would have been at that time; and
- In case of injury or death, that your dangerous driving caused that injury or death.
To be convicted of dangerous driving, the Court considers all the circumstances of your actions, such as;
- The level of public endangerment;
- Whether your state of mind was more careless than that of a reasonable person;
- The condition, nature and use of the place where the driving occurred; and
- The amount of traffic that is, or might be expected.
There are various degrees of dangerous driving:
- Dangerous driving causing death which is the most serious form;
- Dangerous driving causing bodily harm which is the second most serious form;
- Dangerous driving not causing death or bodily harm which is the least sever form.
Penalty for Dangerous Driving
In case you are found guilty of dangerous driving, you will be required to provide your fingerprints and identification to the police database.
In addition, you might be sentenced as the following:
- Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle Not Causing Bodily Harm/Death:
- If it is a summary conviction, this may result in paying a fine not exceeding $5000 or jail sentence of up to 6 months, or both.
- If it is an indictable conviction, this may result in a jail sentence of up to 5 years.
- Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm: A jail sentence of up to 10 years.
- Dangerous Driving Causing Death: A jail sentence of up to 14 years.
Moreover, your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 1 year or 5 years under The Traffic Safety Act depending on the severity of your sentence under The Criminal Code.
Dangerous Driving Criminal Defence
Our skilled criminal lawyers are experienced with dealing with dangerous driving cases and have had a wealth of knowledge in successfully resolving them. If you decide to choose us as your legal representative for a dangerous driving case, our criminal lawyers will give you their best support by:
- Hearing your point of view of how the events unfolded
- Reviewing the collision reports, legal documents, photographs and any statements from witnesses
- Representing your case at trial
Please contact our Calgary criminal lawyers now if you have been charged with dangerous driving. We suggest you call us as soon as possible to create the best outcome. Our criminal lawyer William Wister has a personal line for emergencies – (403) 331-1325 or book a consultation online.