Stunt Driving Tickets
Penalty for Stunt Driving
The penalty for stunt driving includes:
- 6 demerit points
- fine between $2,000 – $10,000
- possible jail up to 6 months
- 7 day impoundment of vehicle
- immediate 7 day driver licence suspension
- possible further 2 year suspension upon conviction
- 100 percent increase to insurance rates
A stunt can be defined as:
- exceeding the speed limit by more that 50km/h, or
- at a rate that is a marked departure from normal motor vehicle travel
Stunt driving is not a criminal offence, it is an offence against the traffic laws of the Province of Ontario.
Types of Stunt Driving
A stunt driving ticket can be given to any driver caught exceeding the speed limit by more that 50km/h. The offence is a traffic ticket issued under the Highway Traffic Act s.172 which is a provincial law.
The police can charge a driver for stunt driving under numerous conditions and specifically for:
- driving in excess of 50km/h
- traveling at a rate of speed that is a marked departure of the speed limit
- two (2) or more vehicles traveling at a rate of speed that is a marked departure of the speed limit
- outdistancing one or more vehicles while traveling at a rate of speed that is a marked departure of the speed limit
- chasing another vehicle
“Marked Departure” 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.
Stunt driving also covers other events listed in Ontario Regulation 455/07 of the Highway Traffic Act, and is not considered a criminal offence, but drivers can be sent to jail.
Charged with Stunt Driving – Now What?
Being charged with Stunt Driving is a serious situation, drivers should consider getting legal advice from OTT Legal and representation for your court appearance.
Although you maybe able to appear in traffic court yourself, if anything goes wrong or you make a mistake, you could:
- lose your licence for 2 years
- be sentenced to a period of time in jail
- receive a fine up to $10,000
Some jurisdictions, especially Durham Region courts, have sent drivers to jail for high speed stunt driving charges, and fines of over $5,000 are not uncommon.
The Ticket for Stunt Driving
Where charged with stunt driving the officer will give the driver three (3) documents:
- a summons to appear in court
- a notice that drivers licence has been suspended for 7 days
- a notice of the seizure of the vehicle for 7 days
A summons to appear, is a traffic ticket without a fine that commands the driver or their representative to appear in court before a Justice of the Peace.
The driver must appear in person or may have a licensed paralegal appear on their behalf. If the driver does not appear on the court date, the justice can:
- issue a bench summons
- for the arrest of the driver, or
- convict the driver in their absence
A “Bench Summons” is a court order for the police to arrest the driver to ensure their appearance in court. Once arrested the police must take them into custody and to bring them before a judge forthwith.
Getting Your Licence Back
Drivers while awaiting the court date can apply to have their licence reinstated.
After the seven (7) days have past, the driver may attend at any Ministry of Transportation office to have their drivers licence reinstated.
The driver will have to pay a $281 reinstatement fee, and the record of the suspension stays on the driver abstract/record for three (3) years.
Getting Your Vehicle Back
After seven (7) days are past, the driver and/or owner of the vehicle can attend at the auto pound to pick up the vehicle.
The driver will be responsible to pay the cost of towing the vehicle to the pound and a daily fee for storage of the vehicle, the cost will be approx. $700 or more.
The vehicle cannot be released before the 7 days except for 2 exceptions:
- the vehicle was stolen
- the owner can prove to a justice that the vehicle was taken without their consent
Where the vehicle is taken without consent the owner would have to apply for a legal hearing before a justice of the peace. Usually this would take more than 7 days so there is little merit in doing so.
Appearing in Court for Stunt Driving
Stunt charges have a first court date, commonly called by the court a “Set Date”.
A “set date hearing” is a court date for the driver to either plead guilty or not guilty to the charge.
If the driver pleads guilty to stunt driving then the justice gives the driver the penalties set for those convicted of stunt driving.
Should the driver plead not guilty or to wish to seek legal advice, then the judge would adjourn the case to another court date, commonly called a “To Be Spoken To Date” or TBST.
On the first court appearance the prosecutor will usually give the defendant or their representative the disclosure.
Disclosure is a group of documents containing the officers notes, the driving record of the defendant and any other pertinent information regarding the charge.
To Be Spoken to Dates
To be spoken to dates (TBST) are usually arranged 2-4 weeks after the set date. During this time the driver is expected to have reviewed the officers notes (disclosure) and have received legal advice or representation.
On the TBST date the prosecutor is looking to have the driver plead guilty to the charge or set a date for trial.
Where a legal representative has been retained, the representative may discuss with the prosecutor the:
- merits of the officers charge
- any shortcomings or lack of evidence required
- possible resolutions to the charge
Many times having a representative familiar with experience in negotiations, trials, law and court proceedings ensures the best outcomes.
Where the stunt driving charge goes to trial the case will be scheduled after all other hearings.
On the trial date the police officer will attend and present their evidence to the court. The prosecutor will assist the officer in presenting the case to the judge.
The prosecutors job like the name suggests is to prosecute and convict the driver of stunt driving. The prosecutor is not in court to assist the driver, and there is no legal aid or duty counsel for traffic court.
Likewise drivers should be equally represented by a person who knows how to run a trial, rules of evidence and cross-examine a police officer.