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What is Stunt Driving and How Can I fight it?

Stunt Driving is one of the most serious offences that can be issued by police under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.  Even before setting foot in a courtroom to argue your defence there are penalties that can severely impact your life.  There will be financial penalties, court penalties, as well as licencing and insurability problems that can impact your personal and professional responsibilities.  If you’ve been charged by the police, you’re going to need to seek out critical information to make sure that you are making informed decisions to avoid legal missteps and protect your interests.

Let’s take a look!

What is Stunt Driving?

One of the most common grounds under which a Stunt Driving offence can be issued is travelling at a rate of speed 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit.  Prior to Stunt Driving laws going into effect, travelling at 50 km/h over the posted speed limit simply resulted in a Speeding offence under section 128 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

The fine for a simple speeding offence is calculated as follows under HTA s.128(14):

  1. is less than 20 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $3 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
  2. is 20 kilometres per hour or more but less than 30 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $4.50 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
  3. is 30 kilometres per hour or more but less than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $7 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; and
  4. is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, to a fine of $9.75 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit.  2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 17 (7).

Fines for speeding in a construction zone where workers are present are elevated to twice the normal amount under HTA s.128(14.1):

  1. is less than 20 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (a) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
  2. is 20 kilometres per hour or more but less than 30 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (b) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
  3. is 30 kilometres per hour or more but less than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (c) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; and
  4. is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (d) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit.  2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 17 (8).

It is important to note that these fines are also subject to a $5.00 court cost plus the victim fine surcharge as follows:

Fine Range ($) Surcharge ($)
0-50 10
51-75 15
76-100 20
101-150 25
151-200 35
201-250 50
251-300 60
301-350 75
351-400 85
401-450 95
451-500 110
501-1000 125
Over 1000 25% of actual fine

Older speeding offences carried no more than a potential 30 day suspension at court for rates of speeding 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit.  However, the following licence suspensions can currently be issued under HTA s.128(15):

(15) Subject to subsection 207 (7), where a court has convicted a person for a contravention of this section and has determined that the person convicted was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, the court may,

(a) suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than 30 days;

(b) upon the first subsequent conviction where the court determined in respect of each conviction that the person was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than 60 days;

(c) upon the second subsequent conviction or an additional subsequent conviction, where the court determined in respect of each conviction that the person was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than one year.  2005, c. 26, Sched. A, s. 17 (9).

A speeding offence at 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit also carries a record of conviction with 6 demerit points against the defendant’s driving record.  Such a conviction can have a very serious impact on insurance rates including being forced to seek out very expensive high-risk insurance.

Stunt Driving (also referred to as Race Motor Vehicle) came into effect in 2007 under HTA section 172 with further specific regulations enacted under Ontario Regulation 455/07.  The simplest definition of Stunt Driving falls under HTA s.172(1) as follows:

Racing, stunts, etc., prohibited

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.

Even to the non-legal eye this definition is suspiciously brief and ambiguous.  If this single sentence definition raised your eyebrow and created more questions than answers, you’re absolutely correct.  To find out what exactly defines ‘a race or contest’ or ‘performing a stunt’ we have to dig into the Ontario Regulations under 455/07.

“Race” or “contest” is defined under Ontario Regulation 455/07 section 2(1) as follows:

Definition, “race” and “contest”

2. (1) For the purposes of section 172 of the Act, “race” and “contest” include any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:

1. Driving two or more motor vehicles at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed and in a manner that indicates the drivers of the motor vehicles are engaged in a competition.

2. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to chase another motor vehicle.

3. Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person by,

i. driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed,

ii. 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

iii. repeatedly changing lanes in close proximity to other vehicles so as to advance through the ordinary flow of traffic while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed.  O. Reg. 455/07, s. 2 (1).

(2) In this section,

“marked departure from the lawful rate of speed” means a rate of speed that may limit the ability of a driver of a motor vehicle to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway.  O. Reg. 455/07, s. 2 (2).

A “stunt” is defined under Ontario Regulation 455/07 section 3 as follows:

Definition, “stunt”

3. For the purposes of section 172 of the Act, “stunt” includes any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:

1. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to lift some or all of its tires from the surface of the highway, including driving a motorcycle with only one wheel in contact with the ground, but not including the use of lift axles on commercial motor vehicles.

2. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to cause some or all of its tires to lose traction with the surface of the highway while turning.

3. Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to spin it or cause it to circle, without maintaining control over it.

4. Driving two or more motor vehicles side by side or in proximity to each other, where one of the motor vehicles occupies a lane of traffic or other portion of the highway intended for use by oncoming traffic for a period of time that is longer than is reasonably required to pass another motor vehicle.

5. Driving a motor vehicle with a person in the trunk of the motor vehicle.

6. Driving a motor vehicle while the driver is not sitting in the driver’s seat.

7. Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit.

8. Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway or in a manner that may endanger any person by,

i. driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to prevent another vehicle from passing,

ii. stopping or slowing down a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates the driver’s sole intention in stopping or slowing down is to interfere with the movement of another vehicle by cutting off its passage on the highway or to cause another vehicle to stop or slow down in circumstances where the other vehicle would not ordinarily do so,

iii. driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to drive, without justification, as close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object on or near the highway, or

iv. making a left turn where,

(A) the driver is stopped at an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal system in response to a circular red indication;

(B) at least one vehicle facing the opposite direction is similarly stopped in response to a circular red indication; and

(C) the driver executes the left turn immediately before or after the system shows only a circular green indication in both directions and in a manner that indicates an intention to complete or attempt to complete the left turn before the vehicle facing the opposite direction is able to proceed straight through the intersection in response to the circular green indication facing that vehicle.  O. Reg. 455/07, s. 3.

It is section 3(7) which is the most commonly used legal basis for police to issue these charges in Ontario:

7. Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit.

However, the legal grounds under which a Stunt Driving or Race Motor Vehicle charge can be issued also include:

  • Competing or racing with another vehicle
  • Chasing another vehicle
  • Driving without due care and attention
  • Lifting some or all of a vehicle’s tires from the road
  • Driving where the tires lose traction with the road
  • Spinning or turning a vehicle in an uncontrolled manner
  • Driving beside another vehicle while in the oncoming lane of traffic for a prolonged period of time
  • Driving with someone in the trunk of the vehicle
  • Driving while not in the driver’s seat
  • Purposely preventing others from passing
  • Purposely stopping or slowing to interfere with other traffic
  • Driving unreasonably close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object on or near the highway
  • Turning left at an intersection across vehicles with the right of way in the opposite direction upon the light turning green.

These extended and specific definitions are clearly much more broad than the general wording listed under HTA section 172.

What are the Penalties for Stunt Driving?

Even before setting foot in a courtroom to argue your guilt or innocence, the mere allegation of stunt driving carries serious consequences (even if your charge is completely thrown out at court).  Your driver’s licence card will be seized by the police and your licence will be suspended for 7 days.  This record of suspension will be permanently entered into your driving history.  Your vehicle will also be towed and impounded for 7 days whether the vehicle belongs to you, a friend or family member, or is a rental vehicle.  The cost for towing and impounding the vehicle can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The  court penalties for stunt driving are much more severe than those that fall under HTA section 128 for speeding offences.  HTA section 172(2) outlines the penalties for a stunt driving conviction as:

(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.

Once the 25% victim fine surcharge is included, the total-payable fine ranges between $2,500.00 and $12,500.00.  That is an enormous range of financial penalty that would be crushing to the average Ontarian let alone a student or person on a fixed income.

Like speeding offences at 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit, a conviction would result in a driver’s record conviction with 6 demerit points and a potentially large impact to insurance costs including being forced to seek out high-risk insurance.  For novice drivers, a conviction for stunt driving would also result in a licence suspension or cancellation under escalated sanctions penalties as follows:

  • For a first offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 30 days.
  • For a second offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 90 days.
  • For a third offence: you will lose your novice licence.  You will need to re-apply for your licence and start all over, taking all tests and paying all fees. You will also lose any time discount you earned, any time you were credited, and any fees you have paid.

How Can I Fight a Stunt Driving Offence?

The most cost-effective and low-stress way to fight a stunt driving or race motor vehicle offence is to hire a licenced and experienced paralegal.  Paralegals know the law and the court system and are licenced through the Law Society just as lawyers are.  Paralegal firms such as OTD Legal specialize in this area of law and are before the courts virtually every day of the week arguing the legal defences of their clients.  While being charged by the police with such as serious offence is naturally stressful and will cause worry and anxiety, the idea of having to appear before the court on one’s own is generally even more so.  Fortunately, most of these cases can be dealt with by your paralegal without you ever needing to step foot in a courtroom.

If you have been charged by the police, you’re going to need to make a number of important legal decisions in the very near future.  A legal misstep at the start of your case can result in either an else wise avoidable conviction or a poorer than necessary outcome at the end of your case.  OTD Legal offers a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation.  Our friendly staff are here to help you and can be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869, email at info@otdlegal.ca, or by text at 226-240-2480.  You can also submit an online consultation request any time of the day or night, and one of our staff will contact you during regular business hours to assist you.

The Ticket for Stunt Driving

What is Canadian stunt driving? It sounds like something daring and dangerous, and it can be both. Stunt driving Ontario means exceeding the speed limit by more than 50km/h or at a rate that exceeds reasonable motor vehicle travel.

Stunt Driving Ticket

What is considered stunt driving? 

While stunt driving Ontario is not a criminal offense, it is a violation of traffic laws, and you face steep penalties if caught. Under the Highway Traffic Act, stunt driving also includes:

  • Two or more vehicles traveling at an excessive speed, as noted above.
  • Outdistancing one or more vehicles while traveling at excessive speeds stated above.
  • Chasing another vehicle or vehicles.

Understanding the Citation

Drivers charged with stunt driving receive three documents from the officer issuing the citation. Each document covers a different aspect of the citation and instructions to follow.

  • The summons to appear in court is the actual ticket and advises that the driver or their representative must appear before a Justice of the Peace.
  • A notice of driver’s license suspension for seven days.
  • Notice that the vehicle will be seized for seven days. 

What to Do Next?

If you were charged with stunt driving Ontario, you probably have questions. Knowing what to do next and what to expect can help ease your stress. 

What are the penalties for stunt driving in Ontario?

Individuals convicted of stunt driving in Ontario can expect to appear in traffic court. The maximum penalties for stunt driving are steep.

  • Loss of driver’s license for two years.
  • Serve time in jail.
  • A fine of up to $10,000. 

Can you fight a stunt driving ticket? 

It is possible to fight a stunt driving ticket, but it’s not easy. Stunt driving is a serious offense with significant consequences for drivers. 

Since stunt driving charges are serious offenses with significant penalties, it may be in your best interest to retain professional legal services. The team at OTD Legal can  help you through the complicated process and help you get the most favorable outcome. 

Getting Your License Back

While awaiting your court date it is possible to appeal for license reinstatement. However, you still have to wait seven days after the original citation before you can apply for reinstatement.

To apply for reinstatement, you must go to a Ministry of Transportation office. There is a $281 reinstatement fee to pay. Even if the courts reinstate your license, the suspension remains on your driving record for three years.  

Getting Your Vehicle Back

You can also reclaim your vehicle after seven days. To recover your vehicle, you need to pay all towing costs and daily impound fees. Expect the total cost to be around $700.

There are two exceptions to consider. Authorities will not release the vehicle if it was stolen or the owner of the car can prove it was taken without their consent. 

In the event a vehicle was taken without consent, the owner can apply for a legal hearing to have the car released early. However, it generally takes more than seven days to get a hearing, so it’s usually not worth the effort. 

Appearing in Court for Stunt Driving

If you’re charged with stunt driving Ontario, there are three dates to look for. Each holds a different purpose, but they are all important. 

Set Date

The first court date is the “set date” where you enter your plea before the court. At the first court date, the prosecutor presents the defendant (or their representative) with the disclosure. These documents include officer’s notes, the defendant’s driving record, and all other pertinent information.

Should the defendant plead guilty, the court hands down the penalties. When a defendant pleads not guilty or asks to seek legal advice, the court adjourns for another date, known as the TBST (to be spoken to date). 

To Be Spoken to Date

In cases where the defendant pleads not guilty or asks to seek legal counsel, they receive a TBST date, usually two to four weeks after the first court date. This delay gives the defendant time to review the disclosure and obtain legal counsel or advice. Since stunt driving cases are so complicated, it is in your best interest to retain counsel.

On the TBST date, the defendant must submit their plea. If the defendant pleads guilty, they receive their penalties and no further appearance. Defendants who plead not guilty proceed to a trial and receive a trial date. 

Trial Date

Defendants who plead not guilty to stunt driving charges go to trial. At a trial, the police officer appears to present their evidence, and the prosecutor presses for a conviction. If a defendant chooses to retain legal counsel, the representative should be capable of handling the trial, including the cross-examination of the police officer.

How OTD Legal can Help You with a Stunt Driving Ticket

A stunt driving charge is a serious offense that can carry heavy penalties, especially if you choose to represent yourself and make a mistake. That small mistake could cost you a lot. If you’re facing a stunt driving ticket, and need representation, the OTD Legal team can help. Contact our offices toll-free at 1-866-596-9975.

Posted under Stunt Driving, Speed Measuring Devices, Speeding, Suspended Licence, Traffic Ticket Defence

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