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Careless Driving: Accidents Happen

Careless driving.

- 6 demerit points.

- Up to $2,000.00 in fines.

- Up to 2 years licence suspension.

- Up to 6 months imprisonment.

These are the consequences of careless driving in Ontario. Being one of the toughest charges in the Highway Traffic Act, careless driving has, naturally, some of the strictest penalties of any charge.

This leads many people to believing that the charge of careless driving is only reserved for the most serious offences. Offences that include injury, major damage, and major monetary loss. But in reality, careless driving is given out on almost every accident that occurs. This is because careless driving is what we in the industry call a “blanket offence”, in which is open to interpretation. Careless driving is a subjective test, which means the police always have a chance of getting a conviction. But, that also means that the defence ALWAYS has a chance of successfully defending a careless driving charge.

Out of the many charges that M.G. Legal deals with, careless driving is the one we are able to get dropped most often.

The following is a brief case study from a careless driving charge that was successfully defended by our team:

The police found FT in the parking lot of condo, where he has driven in and totaled his car, and several cars in the condo parking lot. There were fresh tire marks coming from the road to the defendant’s car in the parking lot. FT was charged with careless driving.

The subjective test for careless driving is as such:

The individual driving, was driving on a highway, without due care an attention for the safety of themselves, and others on the road.

In this case, just because several vehicles were totaled, does not make FT guilty of careless driving.

  • There were no witnesses to say that FT was careless driving

  • An accident alone does not mean careless driving occurred

  • The accident took place in a parking lot. There is no evidence which says that FT was ever driving on the road. The “fresh” tire marks are an ambiguous term which is easily dismissible by a court. Careless driving only covers offences on a highway

Where there is no evidence, careless driving cannot be convicted. An accident alone is NOT evidence.

When looking at cases where there is evidence, depending on the circumstances, a careless driving charge could be easily defendable by a legal professional.

My piece of free legal advice is this: Although easily defendable, careless driving is no charge to take lightly. One mistake could shatter your defence. Getting a legal professional could be a small investment that will drastically increase your chances of successfully defending a careless driving charge.

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