As mentioned in our last article, Serious Highway Traffic Act and Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act Offences, penalties for being convicted of a serious offence at court can result in a fine in the tens of thousands of dollars, a suspension of your driver’s licence, or even jail. It is not uncommon for a defendant to be charged by the police but not understand the consequences of a conviction or how to legally pursue any legitimate defences. Unfortunately for defendants that attempt to protect their rights on their own at court, they can readily find themselves unnecessarily convicted and issued higher penalties than those negotiated by defendants with legal representation. Let’s take a look at a one of the most serious offences that was not discussed in our previous article…
Arguably one of the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act is Stunt Driving (alternately worded as Race Motor Vehicle). There is a broad range of circumstances where this charge can be issued against a defendant; the two most common circumstances are where either one or more vehicles are racing with each other on a roadway or where a single vehicle is traveling at 50 km/h or greater over the posted speed limit. The immediate consequence of being stopped by the police and charged with this offence is that your vehicle will be impounded and your licence will be suspended immediately at roadside. These immediate penalties are without your defence being presented in a court of law and can be applied against you whether you are in fact guilty or innocent.
A conviction under HTA s. 172 for Stunt Driving results in a 6 demerit point penalty being applied against your driver’s licence. A 6 demerit point penalty is the second largest penalty that can be issued, with 7 demerit points being the maximum penalty. If your licence is a class 1 or class 2 licence (i.e. G1 or G2), any conviction resulting in 4 or greater demerit point penalty will result in ‘escalated sanctions’ being issued against your licence (either a licence suspension or licence revocation depending on your previous driving record).
The insurance repercussion for a conviction under HTA s.172 is that you will usually be removed from standard insurance coverage and be forced to seek out high risk insurance coverage. It is also possible that the driving history record of the roadside suspension alone may trigger insurance problems even if the offence itself is thrown out at court. Depending on your insurance company and driving history, high risk insurance will generally start at $5,000 to $7,000 per year until you can again qualify for standard insurance. The best and most accurate information regarding insurance repercussions can be found by specifically speaking with your insurance broker.
At court, a conviction can result in a total payable fine (the base fine plus the 25% victim fine surcharge) ranging from $2,500.00 up to $12,500.00. At the discretion of the court, a jail term of not more than six months may also be issued. On a first conviction for Stunt Driving, your licence may be suspended by the court (separate from any MTO licence suspension due to demerit points) for up to two years. A second conviction under HTA s.172 can result in a licence suspension up to ten years depending on how long ago your previous conviction occurred.
Even the minimum total payable fine of $2,500.00 can be a crippling financial burden for the average individual or family…let alone the increased costs to remain insured or the costs of having your licence suspended and no longer being able to drive for personal or employment purposes. However, in such cases it is possible to make an application to the court to argue undue financial hardship that can potentially reduce the fine to either the minimum fine or below the minimum fine depending upon your income and expense levels.
If you have been charged under Highway Traffic Act section 172 for Stunt Driving or Race Motor Vehicle, you may wish to immediately seek out legal assistance to determine what can be done minimize or eliminate the penalties that you are facing. Our OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services team can generally review your case and provide basic information about your charges and the court process within as little as 10 to 15 minutes. We offer a no cost, no obligation review of matters by calling our toll-free number at 1-844-647-6869, via email firstname.lastname@example.org, through our website, or at any of our offices in person.