Nov 03

Is Dangerous Driving (Dangerous Operation) a Criminal Offence?

Yes. Although there is an offence of Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act, there is an also an offence known as Dangerous Driving in the Criminal Code.

Dangerous Operation requires the operation of a motor vehicle with wanton and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others. This is a higher standard than Careless Driving which is driving with undue care or attention.

What are the Penalties for Dangerous Driving

The penalties for Dangerous Driving, similar to all driving offences under the Criminal Code, upon a finding of guilt include:

• Fines;
• Jail time;
• Probation;
• Criminal record; and
• License suspension.

Dangerous Driving, unlike impaired driving or ‘over 80’, has no mandatory minimum sentence, so a conditional discharge or other lesser penalties are available, which may help you avoid a criminal record. Although, the mandatory license suspension under the Criminal Code and from the MTO would still apply. There is no way to do away with the mandatory license suspension.

How Can the Crown Prove Dangerous Operation?

After hearing the evidence, the trial judge would consider whether the driving, viewed objectively, was dangerous to the public in all the circumstances. There is a focus on the risks created by the manner of driving, and not solely on the result. For example, an accident, alone, may not be sufficient since the consequences are not the focus, but it can be a factor to consider when reviewing all the circumstances. This is the act requirement to prove an offence of dangerous operation.

For the mental requirement (mens rea) the trial judge would consider whether the dangerous manner of driving was the result of a marked departure from the standard of care which a reasonable person would have exercised in the same circumstances. To be found guilty, the trial judge must find that the Crown established both the actus reus and mens rea beyond a reasonable doubt.

I Have Been Charged with a Driving Offence, What Do I Need to Do?

Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh represents individuals charged with all driving offences, such as dangerous operation, impaired operation, flight from police, etc. Throughout our years of practicing, we have developed an expertise in properly representing people charged with driving offences to help individuals avoid criminal records and driving suspensions. We are regularly representing people charged across all cities in Ontario such as Mississauga, Brampton, Malton, Milton, Halton Hills, Georgetown, and Guelph.

Please call Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers by calling 416-613-0416 or by e-mailing