Can I Go To Jail For A Driving Offense?

Last updated
April 14, 2024

There are a number of offences that can be committed whilst driving, most of which incur a fine or, in the instance of drunk driving or reckless driving, the loss of a licence and even imprisonment. As driving offence lawyers, we believe it’s crucial to understand the driving laws – and the punishments if these laws are violated. We have therefore created this list looking at some of the most common driving offences in Canada and the typical punishments charged if they are broken.

What Constitutes Reckless Driving and What Are the Consequences?

The offence of reckless driving is committed when an individual drives without rational care or attention to other drivers or pedestrians. It is considered an offence as per the Highway Traffic Act.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

If you have been accused of careless driving, you will be convicted if the facts show that you were driving without appropriate attention and care. The penalty for careless driving is:

  • a possible 6-month jail term (or both a fine and
    jail term),
  • a fine of not more than $2,000 and not less than
  • licence suspension of up to two years, and
  • six demerit points.

Plea Bargaining in Reckless Driving Cases

If you have been charged with reckless driving, the prosecutor will frequently be willing to plea bargain. A plea bargain is referred to a deal that you make with the prosecutor to decrease the charge against you, and in exchange, the accused would agree to plead guilty. For instance, they might lessen a charge of careless driving to changing lanes unsafely, following too narrowly, or failing to yield. You need to approach the prosecutor to find out whether they are eager for a plea bargain.

What is Careless Driving Offence Resulting in Bodily Harm or Death And Its Penalties?

A new careless driving offence has been supplemented to the Highway Traffic Act, operative September 1, 2018. The new offence of careless driving resulting in death or bodily harm is committed when a driver drives without reasonable attention or care to other drivers and results in bodily harm or death to any person.

Penalties for Careless Driving Resulting in Bodily Harm or Death

If you have been accused of reckless driving, causing bodily
harm or death, the penalty is:

  • a fine of not more than $50,000 and not less than $2,000
  • a probable two-year jail term (or both a jail term and a fine),
  • license suspension for up to five years, and
  • 6 points of demerit.

What is Dangerous Driving Offence And Its Penalties?

Dangerous driving remains a criminal offence as per the Criminal Code of Canada. Contrasting with a charge under the provincial Highway Traffic Act, when upon criminally charging a person, their fingerprints and photographs are obtained, and they will have a police file.

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

Dangerous driving should be seen as a hybrid offence. If found guilty on summary conviction (less serious), the maximum jail time is up to two years less a day; if found guilty on indictment (more serious), the accused could face imprisonment for up to 10 years. Apart from the other punishment, the Court may also command a license suspension.

The penalties increase if the dangerous driving causes someone to get hurt or killed.

If you are charged with a driving offence, you should contact the expert legal help in Winnipeg for assistance.