City: Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario
Our Client: Mr. G.
Complainant: York Regional Police Service & Ms. L.
Charge(s): Dangerous Driving, Failing to Remain, Driving Without a Licence
Lawyer: Edmund Chan
Case Study: Dangerous Driving Plead Down to Careless Driving, Two HTA Offences Withdrawn
Mr. G. and Ms. L. collided while driving on a residential street. The interaction between the two became heated, and involved them driving side-by-side, shouting at one another from their own cars, and Ms. L. alleges Mr. G. was tailgating for some time. After the collision Ms. L. claims that Mr. G. sped off.
The police tracked Mr. G. based on Ms. L.’s recollection of his licence plate. They arrived at his home, gave him his right to counsel, and arrested him under charges of dangerous driving under the Criminal Code of Canada and failing to remain at the scene of an accident and driving without a licence under the Highway Traffic Act. Mr. G. insisted from the moment of his arrest that he wanted to consult with a lawyer and provide the police with his side of the story. Mr. G. retained us to act on his behalf to ensure his side of the story was accurately represented to the court.
Dangerous driving carries a penalty range that can include up to five years in prison should the Crown proceed with the offence as indictable (it is a hybrid offence and can be pursued as indictable or summary at the Crown’s discretion plus a licence suspension of at least one year). In contrast, careless driving, which is a provincial non-criminal offence under the Highway Traffic Act, carries a small fine, no prison time, and no criminal record. Our goal would be to convince the Crown to drop the dangerous driving charges in exchange for a plea to careless driving.
Mr. G.’s case went to trial, but the Crown did not subpoena Ms. L. As a result she was not present and did not speak to the case. We used this to our advantage and negotiated with the Crown to reach a swift conclusion.
The Crown agreed with our position and agreed to drop the dangerous driving charge if Mr. G. would plead guilty to careless driving under the HTA. Mr. G. did so and received a fine of $1,200 with a 25% surcharge. He was given a six month period to pay the fine. The Crown, satisfied with the conclusion, withdrew the charges of failing to remain and driving without a licence. Mr. G. was satisfied that his side of the story had been represented. Mr. G. was able to keep his driver’s licence.