Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer Number: 777
Dangerous driving and criminal negligenceRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 777
Dangerous driving means driving in a way that endangers other people, and it is a serious offence under the Canadian Criminal Code.
What is considered dangerous driving?
There do not have to be other people around for a driver to be charged with dangerous driving. The only requirement is that a driver drove with reckless disregard for public safety, so that there was a danger to the public who were either present or who might have been expected to be present. The police will consider all the circumstances of the driving, including the nature and condition of the place where the offence took place, and the traffic in the area, when they determine whether someone should be charged with dangerous driving.
If the police lay a charge following an accident, it will likely be for dangerous driving, criminal negligence, or careless driving.
Like dangerous driving, criminal negligence is also an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. An individual is criminally negligent who, (a) in doing anything, or (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.
The first time you are convicted of a driving offence under the Criminal Code, including for dangerous driving and criminal negligence, you will receive a one-year licence suspension. Your licence will be suspended for three years if you are convicted of a second Criminal Code offence. If you are convicted of a third offence, you will get a lifetime suspension from driving with the possibility of a reinstatement after 10 years only if certain requirements are fulfilled. You will be suspended from driving for life with no chance of reinstatement if you are convicted for a fourth time.
Dangerous driving is punishable by a maximum jail term of five years. If you are found guilty of dangerous driving that causes bodily harm, the penalty is a maximum jail term of ten years. If you are found guilty of dangerous driving that causes the death of someone, the penalty is a maximum jail term of 14 years.
The offence of causing bodily harm by criminal negligence is punishable by a maximum jail term of up-to 14 years. If someone is killed, then the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.
Convictions under the Criminal Code will remain on your driver’s record for a minimum of 10 years.
Careless driving and careless driving causing bodily harm or death
The offence of careless driving is committed when a driver drives without reasonable care or attention to other drivers. The offence of careless driving causing bodily harm or death is committed when a driver drives without reasonable care or attention to other drivers and causes bodily harm or death to any person. Both are not offences under the Criminal Code, however, they are offences under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. If you have been charged with either of these offences, you will be convicted if the facts show that you were driving without proper care and attention. The penalties for careless driving and careless driving causing bodily harm or death can include fines, jail time, licence suspension, and demerit points on your licence.
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