I have a summons for “stunt driving” but wasn’t performing a “stunt” with my car. Will this get thrown out if I hire you?
It sounds like you have been charged under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act for what is commonly known as Stunt Driving or Race Motor Vehicle:
172 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence may be suspended,
(a) on a first conviction under this section, for not more than two years; or
(b) on a subsequent conviction under this section, for not more than 10 years. 2007, c. 13, s. 21.
There is a fairly broad legal definition of what constitutes a “race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.” The most common image that comes to mind for the average person would be two cars involved in a high-speed street race. However, the most common reason for drivers in Ontario to be issued this charge is for a single driver having exceeded the posted speed limit by 50 km/h or more. We frequently assist clients charged under this section of the Highway Traffic Act of all ages and from all walks of life. Don’t feel embarrassed, you are not alone.
The first thing that you will notice on your summons is that you have a court date. This hearing is called a “First Appearance” hearing. They are generally very brief and your attendance should not required if you have obtained a licenced legal representative. Most Stunt Driving cases will generally go through 3 to 5 court appearances and on average take 6 to 12 months to resolve.
We understand that being charged by the police is stressful, let alone the thought of having to appear at court to speak to a Justice of the Peace or argue against a trained and experienced Provincial Prosecutor. By retaining a licenced paralegal to represent you, you will have the benefit of an experienced and trained court agent to do this work for you. Ideally, where possible, we try to resolve cases without the need for a client to attend court. Certainly if we can argue to have your charge withdrawn outright or reduced to a lesser offence, there should be no need for you to step foot in a courtroom.
To answer your question as to whether or not your Stunt Driving offence will get thrown out at court, the fairest and most honest answer would be: at this point we don’t know. Disreputable companies may try to provide you with unfounded promises and guarantees to take your money, however a good paralegal will always be honest and candid with you to empower you to make the best decisions in protecting your financial and legal interests.
What we would do on your behalf is to first appear at court for the first appearance hearing and to file with the Provincial Prosecutor’s office for a full disclosure of their evidence. Once we have received and reviewed that disclosure package, we will be able to review with you the merits of the Prosecutor’s case and the pros and cons of the various ways forward from that point. You are the defendant, you are the person that will have to bare the consequences of a conviction, you need an honest and experienced legal opinion so that you can make the best, most informed decision in guarding your financial, licencing, and insurance interests.
As shown above, HTA s.172(1) carries very high fines as well as potential licence suspension and imprisonment. A conviction would also result in a 6 demerit point penalty and a record of conviction being entered into your driving record. Stunt Driving charges will also generally result in no longer qualifying for standard insurance coverage. Given the severity of these potential penalties, it is important to vigorously defend your interests at court. If the offence can not be argued to be withdrawn outright, we can negotiate on your behalf with the Provincial Prosecutor to determine if a plea deal could be reached to a lesser offence. We can then review with you the merits of any offers to resolve or whether proceeding to trial may have a reasonable legal basis for success.
We offer a no cost and no obligation initial consultation for potential clients. We can provide you with a reasonable and fixed cost for beginning-to-end legal work for your case. Generally this cost is significantly less than the minimum fine pending at court should you be convicted, let alone the higher end of the range for potential fines. Our staff would be happy to speak with you via our toll free number 1-844-647-6869 or by email at email@example.com to either review your matter by telephone or book an in-office appointment.