Can You Go to Jail for Stunt Driving in Ontario?

Stunt driving, as outlined under section 172 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario, carries with it penalties that can be severe, including the rare possibility of jail time. For many individuals charged with this offence, the idea of facing up to six months in prison can be understandably alarming. 


Understanding the Penalties for Stunt Driving


Jail Time Is Rare

While the law specifies that a prison sentence of up to six months is possible for stunt driving offences, it’s important to recognize that such outcomes are rare and typically reserved for the most serious cases. Factors that might warrant consideration for jail time include a history of multiple stunt driving charges, significant unpaid fines, repeated driving suspensions or court orders, and a pattern of dangerous driving behaviors.

The Focus on Deterrence

The justice system primarily seeks to deter both the individual involved and the wider society from engaging in or condoning such reckless behavior. To do this, judges and justices of the peace balance the need to prevent the offender from committing the offence again with the need to show society how serious this behavior is.


Alternatives to Jail

In the vast majority of cases, other penalties are deemed more appropriate and effective for addressing stunt driving offences. These may include:


  • High Fines: Monetary penalties serve as a direct and immediate consequence of the offence.
  • Demerit Points: Accumulation of points can lead to increased insurance rates and closer scrutiny of the driver’s behavior.
  • License Suspension: Temporarily revoking driving privileges directly impacts the ability to commit further offences and serves as a significant deterrent.


While the possibility of jail time for stunt driving in Ontario exists, it is an outcome reserved for the most serious and repeat offenders. For most individuals charged with stunt driving, the penalties will likely involve fines, demerit points, and possible suspension of driving privileges, reflecting a focus on deterrence and the prevention of future offences.


At OTD Legal, we understand the stress and uncertainty that traffic charges can bring. Our team is dedicated to providing a strong defence for those facing stunt driving charges, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome while minimizing the impact on your life and driving record. If you’ve been charged with stunt driving or any traffic offence, contact us for a free consultation to explore your options.


Video Transcription:

Can you go to jail for stunt driving in Ontario? Stunt driving in Ontario is under section 172. 1 of the Highway Traffic Act. If you were to look at the penalty section in the act, you will, you would quickly determine that there is a prison sentence available of up to six months. It is in many cases for clients that bother to read that section quite terrifying.

And that needs to be addressed because when a section like stunt driving has a section that would include a jail term, you have to understand that that isn’t the most extreme cases. What I mean by that, by an example, if there was a client that had, say, multiple stunt driving charges, Hefty unpaid fines, a history of ignoring suspensions, a history of ignoring court orders not to drive, a history of some bad driving.

Those types of clients would be considered for that type of a sentence, but they are relatively rare and very, very uncommon. So the answer is yes, you could go to jail, but it is most unlikely. Generally speaking, what a judge or justice of the peace is going to consider is what remedies are available upon conviction to control this type of behavior and they’re going to be looking at, you know specific deterrence for the individual. And they have to also reflect upon the general deterence which is: what would the society want? What does the world, looking at what happened here, need to see to control that type of behavior. So in most cases, the rest of the penalty section is much more appropriate in those cases.

So there’d be maybe a high fine, demerit points, a suspension of a driver’s license. There are other options available and that, that is 99 percent of a penalty for legislation such as Section 172 or stunt driving under the Highway Traffic Act.

Ron Harper

Ron Harper

Ron Harper, owner of OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services, is a former Ontario Prosecutor and Licensed Paralegal with over 40 years of experience in traffic offences.

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