In Ontario, there is a law that every driver must be aware of, and that is “stunt driving”. When we hear the term, we often associate it with that of what we see in the media, and that is typically travelling at a high rate of speed. However, it is important to know you could be charged with this serious offence for a slew of other reasons. There are also small details you may have no idea existed that could have a serious impact on your personal circumstances.
Let’s take a look at 5 things most people do not know about stunt driving!
1. Your license is immediately suspended at the roadside if you are charged with Stunt Driving!
In Ontario, when someone is pulled over, they expect the typical requests; “license and registration, please”. However, if you are being pulled over for stunt driving in Ontario, be prepared to have the keys to your vehicle be demanded by the officer. He is not demanding your keys to make a copy for you either, he is demanding your keys because your vehicle is going to be seized by the police! Your driver’s license is suspended on the spot for 7 days, and you’ll have to go to the Ministry of Transportation and pay a $281 reinstatement fee. Even if you are successful fighting this charge, this 7-day suspension will remain on your record indefinitely.
2. Your car gets impounded for seven days — even if it is not your car.
In Ontario, the police do not care who is the registered owner of the vehicle when pulling someone over for stunt driving. The police will impound the car no matter who it belongs to, without hesitation or any remorse. The police do not care how it may affect you or that you may lose your job. Their job is to enforce the law and that is all they are concerned with If you are charged. It’s very important to obtain legal advice if you’ve been charged with this offence. You can obtain a free consultation from a former prosecutor here.
In the past, vehicles towed can include rental cars, company cars, or even the family car. The registered owner will be responsible for paying the outstanding towing and impound fees. You will be able to pick up your vehicle after the 7 day suspension, however, should you fail to do so the impound lot will continue to charge you a daily storage fee. It is not unheard of where individuals have left their vehicle at the impound lot so long, the value to obtain the value actually exceeded the value of the vehicle and they are left abandoned. Do not let this happen to you. Things can get very tricky when the vehicle is not owned by you. Try to keep in mind that our parents tend to be more forgiving than a car rental company with a legal department.
3. Stunt driving involves more than just speeding — it also deals with actual stunts.
Racing, doing a “wheelie” on a motorcycle, doing a burnout, or even simply having your tires skid on some gravel when accelerating are all considered to be “stunt driving”. The charge covers a wide range of conduct that a driver must be aware of.
A “stunt” is a subjective word and it will be up to the discretion of the officer to determine what he believed was a “stunt”. For example, if you’re purposefully not letting someone pass, driving too close, or trying to make someone rear-end you by “brake checking them”, that’s stunt driving. If you turn left at an intersection and cut the traffic off going the opposite direction, it could be argued that is a “stunt” as well.
I often hear clients mention that “well how can they prove I ‘brake checked’ them”. Keep in mind most vehicles now come equipped with dash cams and they are also much more economical now than they once were. You can purchase one and install it yourself for as little as 25$ online. Do not make the mistake to assume “they won’t be able to prove it”. Aside from the charges you would receive under the Highway Traffic Act, you could be held liable for civil charges as well.
4. The speed doesn’t always have to be travelling at 50 or more km/hour. There doesn’t even have to be a speed limit!
In Ontario, it is, or should be well known that speeding by more than 50 km/hour over the limit is considered stunt driving or racing, and can land you in serious trouble with the law. Now what most are not aware of is that you can actually receive a stunt driving charge for speeding LESS than 50 km/hour.
In 2019 the Ontario government enacted a pilot program raising the speed limit on specific 400 series highways from 100 km/hour to an increased 150 km/hour.
With this increase, you would have to travel a minimum of 160 km/hour to receive a charge for stunt driving, right? Wrong! The Ontario government passed regulations regarding the pilot program that is rarely known among Ontario drivers. The government amended the definition of “stunt driving” to include any vehicle that is driving at or above 150 km/hour. Therefore, there does not even need to be a posted speed limit to be charged with this offence.
5. The fine for stunt driving is double the fine for drunk driving. It’s a serious charge.
If you are convicted, the minimum first-time fine for stunt driving is $2,000 and the fine can increase to a maximum fine of $10,000. You could also end up with six months in jail and a 2 year license suspension. It is important to note that a Prosecutor will seek jail time in extreme cases with high speeds or egregious conduct by the driver. However, most cases result in substantial fines and removal of driving privileges. That being said, it is a serious charge and one that should not be taken lightly. It is arguably one of the worst traffic tickets you can receive. In comparison, the first-time fine for drunk driving comes with a $1,000 charge. Take that into consideration if you have the belief “it’s just a traffic ticket”.
Have You Been Charged With Stunt Driving In Ontario?
If you’ve been charged with stunt driving in Ontario you should contact us as soon as possible. We have skill and experience in helping drivers just like you respond to accusations of stunt driving and provide free, confidential consultations to empower you to fight your charges. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Cambridge, Georgetown, London, Windsor and from our home office in Kitchener. Contact us online or call us directly at 1.844.647.6869 or text us a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.