Stunt Driving (also known as “Race Motor Vehicle” or “Racing”) charges are one of the most serious offences that can be issued under the Highway Traffic Act.
These charges can be issued for travelling 40 km/h or more over the posted speed limit, as well as a wide range of other circumstances that may surprise most Ontario drivers. Even before stepping foot in a courtroom, the police will have towed and impounded your vehicle as well as seized and suspended your driver’s licence. A defendant can be facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses well before their first court attendance.
This legislation is considered new legislation in the Highway Traffic Act. It has also been the focus of increased penalties as recently as 2021. The process usually involves the towing and impounding of the motor vehicle you were driving. Your driving privilege in Ontario is immediately suspended. The driver will then be exposed to significant transportation fees, impoundment fees, storage fees and licence reinstatement costs. This usually results in thousands of dollars before the matter gets to the first court date.
Once in court, if convicted, a defendant will be subject to thousands of dollars in fines, a mandatory licence suspension, and in some cases, incarceration.
If the police have charged you, 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 insurance rates and pocketbook.
Types of Stunt Driving Tickets
The legal grounds under which a Stunt Driving or Race Motor Vehicle charge can be issued 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
- Brake-checking a vehicle following you from behind
- Squealing tires in an abandoned parking lot
- Any manoeuvre inconsistent with normal driving
Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Definition For Those Charged With Stunt Driving
According to the Ontario Regulation 455/07 in the Highway Traffic Act:
Races and Contests
“Race” and “contest” include any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:
- 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
- Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to chase another motor vehicle
- 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
- Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed
- 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
- 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)
How Can You Be Charged With A Stund Driving Ticket?
Stunts include any activity where one or more persons engage in any of the following driving behaviours:
- 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
- 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
- Driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to spin it or cause it to circle without maintaining control over it
- 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
- Driving a motor vehicle with a person in the trunk of the motor vehicle
- Driving a motor vehicle while the driver is not sitting in the driver’s seat
- Driving a motor vehicle at a rate of speed that is 40 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit
- 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:
- driving a motor vehicle in a manner that indicates an intention to prevent another vehicle from passing
- 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
- 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
- making a left turn where:
- the driver is stopped at an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal system in response to a circular red indication
- at least one vehicle facing the opposite direction is similarly stopped in response to a circular red indication
- 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.
Fight Your Stunt Driving Ticket
The first important thing you need to do is to seek out the relevant information that you will need to protect yourself. If you are convicted of an offence, the court will always be able to see that conviction on your complete driving history. Your insurance company will only be able to see your driving history over the last three years.
Hire a Stunt Driving Lawyer or Paralegal
An experienced, licensed paralegal is generally your most cost-effective avenue in providing your defence at court. Paralegals know the law, and they know the court process. They are there to argue your defence in court on your behalf. Many defendants are relieved to find out that their defence can be argued without their ever needing to attend court.
Fight Your Stunt Driving Ticket in Court Alone
If you decide to fight your stunt driving ticket alone, here is what you need to keep in mind:
- You need to file a ticket with a court in order to receive a date with a prosecutor. This is your opportunity to discuss a possible reduction of your stunt driving ticket
- It will take at least 2-3 court appearances in order to fight a stunt driving ticket. For most people, it means taking time off from work.
- You need to schedule a trial date with the appropriate court and prepare for it.
Keep in mind that you will be questioned about every detail from the day you were charged with allegedly breaking the law.
Stunt Driving Ticket Defence Strategies
Stunt driving is a Strict Liability offence. This means that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the act with which you are charged. They need not prove that you intended to commit the offence, however. If they can prove that you committed this offence, you may raise a defence by proving on a balance of probabilities that you took all reasonable steps to avoid the particular act or that you reasonably believed in a mistaken set of facts which, if true, would render you innocent of committing the act. Defence strategies take into account:
- The accuracy of the radar device at the time of the offence
- The diligence exercised by the driver at the time
- The physical intention of the act
- The context of the act, i.e., driving conditions, other drivers, location, etc.;
- Witness statements & testimony on what they say
- Inculpatory statements made by the defendant when speaking with the investigating officer
- A review of the leading cases on Stunt Driving guiding the decision of the Justice of the Peace
Court Process For Stunt Driving Tickets
Once you have retained a paralegal firm, that’s when the legal work starts. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a paralegal is that they take care of the court filings and legal work for you. The devil is in the details. A strong firm has the experience to know when to file, what to file, and who it should be filed with.
If you are in the middle of an appeal, that paperwork will need to be drafted by your legal representative, then properly filed with the appropriate parties at the specific court.
If you have been issued a summons, your offence notice will have a first appearance court date set that your paralegal will attend for you. If you have missed the first court date, your representative can quickly get the matter back on track.
Once your paralegal has ordered and obtained the Prosecutor’s evidence or any necessary court transcripts, they will meet with the Prosecutor’s Office on your behalf. This meeting is referred to as a Crown resolution meeting. The two sides will review the evidence and discuss the legal merits of that evidence to, first of all, determine whether or not the charge(s) can be withdrawn. If there is a strong legal argument that the charge(s) would be dismissed at trial, the best resolution is to argue to simply have the charge(s) withdrawn without the need for trial. There is no obligation for your representative to present or disclose your defence. Since it may not be wise to disclose to the prosecution what your full defence might be, your representative will only provide enough detail to advocate on your behalf while protecting your right not to disclose your defence.
Potential Resolution Meeting
If the Prosecutor’s evidence is sufficient for them to proceed to trial, the next step would be for the two sides to discuss potential resolutions. If the evidence against you could reasonably lead to a conviction at trial, your paralegal will negotiate within your written instructions to get you the best resolution possible.
If no mutually agreeable resolution can be reached, then your case may need to be argued at trial, or it may be necessary to engage in further resolution meetings.
Trials can be very stressful for self-represented defendants. They generally don’t know the law or the court process. They have to face off in the courtroom against an experienced and trained prosecutor. They may open themselves up to being a witness that can be cross-examined by the Prosecutor. The idea of having to appear before a Justice of the Peace or questioning the police officer that charged them may be very intimidating.
The successful litigation of any trial required years of education and even more experience. It is very rare that an inexperienced and unrepresented defendant is successful after a trial. That is not to say that the defendant is not intelligent. Many unsuccessful trials have been conducted by doctors, scientists, engineers, etc. Being highly educated or being known as intelligent simply does not guarantee success.
Stunt Driving Ticket Penalties
Starting from July 1, 2021, speeding over 40 km/h in a zone that is less than 80 km/hr is considered stunt driving. If you have been charged with stunt driving, you could face some or all of the following penalties:
- A court fine
- Licence suspension
- Vehicle impoundment
- Demerit points
- CVOR points
- An insurance increase
Generally, the more severe your offence is, the more severe the penalties that you will be facing.
A conviction for Stunt Driving can result in a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 (plus a 25% victim fine surcharge).
Your driver’s licence will also be immediately seized and suspended at the side of the road for 30 days. This means additional transportation costs in meeting your day-to-day travel requirements. Worst case, if your employer specifically requires having a valid driver’s licence, you could miss work time or face loss of employment.
Upon conviction, you could face the following penalties:
- A licence suspension of 1 to 3 years for a first offence
- A licence suspension of 3 to 10 years for a subsequent offence
- A lifetime licence cancellation (that may be reduced in certain circumstances)
- A permanent lifetime licence cancellation
Upon being charged, your vehicle will immediately be towed and impounded for 14 days. Towing and impounding fees can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
A Stunt Driving conviction could result in a jail term of up to six months. It is therefore imperative to seek help from a licensed paralegal who can help you avoid imprisonment. This level of penalty is rare. If you are worried because you were warned of imprisonment, please consult with a professional.
The MTO ranks Stunt Driving as a six-demerit point offence. A convicted defendant will, at a minimum, receive an MTO warning letter regarding their licence. Depending upon your driving history and current demerit points, you could also be required to attend an MTO interview (that you must pay to attend) or face a mandatory suspension of your driver’s licence for accumulating too many demerit points.
Stunt Driving offences carry the highest possible CVOR penalty of five points. A five-CVOR point conviction may result in the loss of the driver’s current employment as well as extreme difficulty finding future employment.
Given the serious nature of Stunt Driving, a conviction will result in no longer being insurable under a standard insurance policy. Being forced into high-risk insurance can result in thousands of dollars of additional insurance costs or not being insurable at all if the costs are unaffordable.
Insurance Rates Costs
Stunt Driving convictions generally impact insurance rates. Your insurance broker is your most reliable source of information on the potential impact of a conviction. Generally, they will consider the severity of the new offence along with your driving history in calculating their risk assessment and your insurance rate. If the risk assessment is high, your current insurance policy may be cancelled, and you will be required to seek out high-risk insurance.
You should understand that the more offences you have on your driving record and the greater the severity of those offences, the greater the expense of obtaining automobile insurance. Once your risk assessment reaches a certain point, you will no longer qualify for standard insurance coverage and will have to seek out high-risk insurance coverage that is very expensive to obtain.
Consequences for Novice Drivers
Novice drivers (such as those with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence) are subject to additional licensing restrictions compared to a fully licensed driver. One such limitation is that being convicted of any single offence that carries four or more demerit points will result in the MTO applying escalated sanctions penalties as follows:
- 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence
- 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence
- Licence cancellation and a requirement to re-apply for a G1/M1 after the third occurrence. Any fees paid, credit received for time spent in the program or BDE credit would be forfeited when the licence is cancelled.
Please note that in the case of a hybrid driver, only the novice-class licence is cancelled on the third occasion; their full-class licence is maintained.
Novice drivers may already be at a default higher level of risk assessment for insurance costs. A conviction for Stunt Driving may therefore result in a larger impact on insurability and insurance costs compared to an equivalent driver with a full driver’s licence. Your insurance broker will be able to provide you with more specific information.
Consequences for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers
Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must aggressively protect their driving record. CMV drivers face all of the usual licensing and insurance problems faced by non-commercial drivers. However, more importantly, a conviction for Stunt Driving can also directly impact their current or future employability. If a transport truck driver or other CMV driver is charged with Stunt Driving while on the job, their offence notice will likely include their employer’s CVOR number. If convicted, not only would the driver receive a record of conviction and six demerit points, but their employer’s CVOR would also receive a record of conviction. The company vehicle will also be seized and impounded for 14 days.
Your driving record can be impacted by a number of factors, such as convictions, demerit points or licence suspensions.
|Action||Time on Your Driving Record|
|Stunt Driving Conviction||3 years after the date of conviction|
|Demerit Points||2 years|
|Licence Suspension||6 years|
Stunt Driving Ticket FAQs
Is Stunt Driving a Criminal Charge in Ontario?
All of Ontario’s Stunt Driving legislation appears in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Criminal Code charges are considered Federal; therefore, an offence of Stunt Driving or Racing is a non-criminal offence.
When Can I Get My Licence Back After a Stunt Driving Ticket?
When pulled over by the police and charged with a summons for Stunt Driving, your licence is immediately suspended in Ontario for 30 days. After the full 30 day period has passed, you may attend a Service Ontario office and pay an expensive reinstatement fee. You will be provided with a temporary licence at this time, and you will be able to drive again as a licensed driver. A new licence will be mailed to your address within a few weeks. However, upon conviction, your driver’s licence will be suspended for a minimum of one year.
When Can I Get My Car Back After a Stunt Driving Ticket?
Your vehicle is seized and impounded for a period of 14 days. You are required to wait the full 14 days. You will also be required to pay for the towing of your vehicle and the storage fees. When the time has passed, and the fees are paid, you will be able to retrieve your vehicle.
Can Stunt Driving Tickets Be Dropped?
In many cases, but not all cases, a conviction for Stunt Driving can be eliminated. It is important to be aware that a professional court agent will try first to eliminate any conviction, including Stunt Driving. The second line of defence would be to reduce that major violation down to a minor charge. If the Prosecutor refused, the next course of action would be to mitigate the significant fine to a lower amount and avoid any further licence suspension and/or jail time. If that is not achieved, then a client may have no choice but to take the matter to trial and try to win.
Can You Go to Jail for Stunt Driving in Ontario?
If convicted of Stunt Driving, a Justice of the Peace could sentence a defendant to a jail term of up to six months. It should be noted that a period of incarceration is very rare in Ontario. The Justice of the Peace would need to reasonably believe nothing else would satisfy the public interest.
How Long Does a Stunt Driving Ticket Stay on Your Record in Ontario?
The conviction will be visible to your insurance company for three years. The suspension will be visible for six years. If a driver requests a five-year driver’s abstract, the conviction would be visible for the full five years.
How Many Demerit Points Do You Have as a G2 Driver in Ontario?
A G2 driver has the ability to accumulate six demerit points before that driver is required to attend (and pay for) an interview at the Ministry of Transportation for their driving behaviour. It is possible to be suspended at that interview. When a G2 driver accumulates nine demerit points, their licence is automatically suspended. However, if a driver is convicted of any one offence that carries four demerit points or more, they will also automatically receive a licence suspension. This means that even if your representative is able to successfully reduce your Stunt Driving charge down to a four-point Speeding ticket, a G2 driver will receive a licence suspension according to the Escalating Sanctions penalty system.
How Much Does Insurance Go Up After Stunt Driving?
Insurance rates are calculated based on age, gender, number of convictions and suspensions, as well as the severity of the conviction. It should be expected that if you are convicted of a major offence of Stunt Driving which includes a roadside suspension, your insurance rates would significantly increase. A rough calculation would be approximately four to five times your current annual cost of insurance.
What Is the New Stunt Driving Law in Ontario?
As of July 1, 2021, the penalties for Stunt Driving were increased. If you are charged at the roadside or in a vacant lot/private property with Stunt Driving, your licence is suspended for a period of 30 days. The vehicle you were driving is seized and impounded for a period of 14 days. Upon conviction in court, your licence will be suspended as follows:
- One to three years for a first conviction
- Three to ten years for a second conviction
- Indefinite licence suspension with the possibility of having your licence reinstated at a later date for a third conviction
- Permanent lifetime suspension for a fourth conviction
The recent changes to the Stunt Driving legislation have made Stunt Driving a chargeable offence on private property or in a parking lot.
What Speed Is Considered Stunt Driving in Ontario?
If a vehicle is caught travelling at 40 km/hr over the posted speed limit in a zone that is less than 80 km/hr, this is now considered Stunt Driving. It is also considered Stunt Driving if a vehicle is caught travelling at 50 km/hr over the posted speed limit in a zone that is 80 km/hr or over.
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.