If you are caught driving way over the speed limit in Ontario, you will be hit with an immediate lengthy driving ban and other harsh punishments after stunt driving penalties were upgraded recently.
The latest changes to driving legislation further differentiate stunt driving from simple speeding. If you are caught and charged with stunt driving, you won’t face a criminal charge, but you CAN go to jail.
Although most charges don’t end up with jail time, a conviction can seriously impact your driving privileges and your finances. Many tickets are thrown out if challenged, so you can avoid the harsh penalties associated with stunt driving.
You need to take any traffic ticket seriously, but you don’t have to simply accept the charge and plead guilty. The stunt-driving lawyers at Friedman Mansour LLP will listen to your story and build a case to challenge the prosecution’s version of events.
If we cannot get your case dismissed or an acquittal at trial, we will endeavour to limit the consequences on your immediate future.
Stunt driving is an offence against Ontario traffic laws, as stated in section 172(1) of the Highway Traffic Act.
In simple terms, stunt driving is a departure from the normal operation of a motor vehicle on the highway. The Act says this:
No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a roadway in a race or contest,
while performing a stunt or
on a bet or wager
Subsequent to recent changes, if you are caught exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 50km/h, you can receive a traffic ticket for stunt driving and your driver’s licence will be suspended roadside for 30 days. Previously, this was seven days.
Driving more than 50km/h over the speed limit accounts for most of the tickets issued for stunt driving in Ottawa – but other alleged offences can also get you in trouble.
According to Ontario Regulation 455/07, being caught driving in the following manner on Ontario’s roads may also trigger a stunt driving ticket:
Any indication of an intention to chase another vehicle
Going at a speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate
Any indication that you are engaged in a competition
Driving without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other drivers or that may endanger any person by,
outdistancing or attempting to outdistance one or more other motor vehicles while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed, or
repeatedly changing lanes close to other vehicles to cut through the ordinary flow of traffic while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed.
You don’t have to drive at 50Km/h over the speed limit to land yourself in trouble. Driving at a speed that is a “marked departure” from the lawful rate is enough.
Some other driving behaviors that will flag the attention of the police are (amongst others):
Driving with a person in the trunk of your motor vehicle
Driving without sitting in the driver’s seat
Driving to prevent another vehicle from passing
Spinning a vehicle or causing it to circle without control
If you are pulled over and charged with stunt driving, the extent of the penalties will largely depend on whether it is your first offense – or a repeat offence.
Regardless of that, you will lose your license at the roadside if you were doing 40 km/h or more over the limit on a road with a speed limit under 80 km/h or driving at 50 km/h or more over any speed limit.
The same applies if you are caught driving at 150 km/h or more anywhere (even on a highway with a speed limit of 110 km/h).
As well as the roadside loss of your license for 30 days, if you are found guilty, you could end up losing your license for up to two years for a first conviction or up to 10 years or even life for subsequent convictions.
Following is the full list of potential penalties for first, second and subsequent offences according to the Highway Traffic Act Ontario:
All the penalties are the same for a third or subsequent offence apart from a potential lifetime driver’s licence suspension upon conviction.
A conviction for stunt driving will also cost you in other ways. For instance, it will hamper your ability to get reasonably priced insurance (you will pay at least three times more per month for at least 3 – 6 years).