Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties

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By Published On: June 7, 2023

Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties

Driving offences are serious crimes that carry serious penalties. In order to inform you about these penalties, we have prepared several blog posts that outline some of the different punishments Canadian law hands out to those who commit driving offences. You could face jail time for every one of these crimes, not to mention fines, and other consequences.

The maximum penalties vary from crime to crime. Every driving offence is either an indictable (more serious) or summary (less serious) offence and some are hybrid, which means they can be either indictable or summary, depending on the circumstances of your case.

All driving offences and their consequences are outlined in the Criminal Code, but hiring a good criminal defence lawyer is the best way to help you successfully navigate complicated driving-related laws and their penalties. Working with a lawyer who specializes in driving offences will also help you determine what your options are and how to proceed with your charges.

Fleeing Police

In the Criminal Code, fleeing police is defined as operating a motor vehicle while being pursued and failing, without a reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

As the wording of the law shows, it is possible to have a reasonable excuse for fleeing from the police. Helping to convince the Crown or the Court that there was a reasonable excuse is one of the things that a great criminal defence lawyer can help with in cases involving fleeing from police.

The penalties for fleeing police vary greatly. If no injury is caused by the fleeing, it is possible to be charged with a summary conviction. Punishments, in this case, can be six months in jail and/or a $5000 fine. For an indictable offence, the maximum jail time is five years. It is easy to see how having a great criminal lawyer working to reduce your charges can make a major difference in your life.

If the fleeing from police caused injury, the maximum prison sentence is 14 years. If the fleeing caused death, you could be imprisoned for life. In these very serious instances, it is important to hire the best lawyer possible to help you manage the outcome of your case.

Failing to Stop at the Scene of an Accident

Failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a very serious driving offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. Anyone who doesn’t stop his or her motor vehicle to give his or her name and address, and who has the intention of escaping civil and/or criminal liability after an accident, is guilty of the offence.

Sentences for those convicted of failing to stop at the scene of an accident vary depending on the circumstances. A good criminal defence lawyer can help have your charges pursued summarily rather than by indictment. If convicted, that can have a significant impact on the type and severity of punishment that you will receive.

Those convicted of the summary offence of failing to stop at the scene can face up to six months in jail and a fine of $5000. Conversely, those convicted of an indictable offence, where no one was injured, could spend up to five years behind bars.

If someone was injured in the accident, and you failed to stop and offer assistance, sentences range all the way up to 10 years in jail. If the accident caused death, life imprisonment is a sentencing option.

As you can see, failing to stop at the scene of an accident can be a very serious criminal charge, and it is important to find a top-quality criminal defence lawyer who can help you through the situation. A good lawyer can often convince a Judge that someone had cause to leave the scene or work to lessen the severity of the Court’s sentence.

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