What is the Charge for Dangerous Driving?

Dangerous driving is defined simply in s. 320.13(1) of the Canadian Criminal Code as operating a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public.  A conveyance is usually a motor vehicle.  Courts have determined that this section contains its own definition and no additional definition is required.  The mens rea of the offence requires an objective assessment of whether the driving amounts to a danger to the public, bearing in mind all circumstances.  The behaviour should amount to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the accused’s situation.  Depending on the gravity and effect of your driving, dangerous driving can result in an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of life in prison, if the dangerous driving caused death.

First Dangerous Driving Offence 

Unlike some criminal driving offences, there is no minimum penalty if you are convicted of dangerous driving, unless the driving results in bodily harm or death.  The maximum penalty for a first offence of dangerous driving depends on if the Crown Prosecutor proceeds by way of summary conviction or indictable offence.  For a summary conviction, the maximum penalty is two years less a day in prison, and for an indictable conviction the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison, as long as no one was harmed or killed while the offence was being committed. If you are convicted of dangerous driving, you may also receive a court ordered driving prohibition, in most cases of not more than three years.  In addition, the Province of Alberta will impose a mandatory driver’s license suspension for any Dangerous Driving conviction. 

Second Dangerous Driving Offence 

Unlike some other Criminal Code driving offences, such as Impaired Driving, there is no increased minimum penalty for a subsequent offence of Dangerous Driving.  One should expect a prior conviction for the same offence to be treated as a seriously aggravating factor on sentencing if convicted and it would not be uncommon to receive a period of incarceration for a second Dangerous Driving.  If, however, the charge is Dangerous Driving causing Bodily Harm, or Dangerous Driving causing Death, there are increased mandatory minimum sentences if there are previous convictions. 

Third or Subsequent Dangerous Driving Offence

Third and subsequent dangerous driving offences are likely to be treated as very serious offences and the in the case of either bodily harm or death the offender would face a minimum period of 120 days in jail.  driving offence can be liable for up to ten years in prison, while a summary conviction can result in a $5000 fine, up to two years in jail, or a combination. For a 

Depending on the gravity of the offence, dangerous driving can result in an indictable or summary conviction. If you are charged with any kind of dangerous driving, your first call should be to a qualified defence lawyer. Brian McGlashan has been practicing criminal law for over 25 years. He has in-depth experience and a specialization in criminal driving offences. If you are charged with dangerous driving in Alberta, contact Brian McGlashan. His skill and expertise in the field will be your best chance at getting the charges dismissed or ensuring that you receive the best possible outcome.