Stricter stunt driving regulations in Ontario mean that more drivers are now being stopped for excessive speeding and other forms of dangerous driving on our roads—and facing immediate licence suspensions and vehicle impoundments.

Section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act and the Ontario Regulation 455/07 have been updated to increase the penalties at the roadside for all stunt driving offences and to lower the bar for what constitutes stunt driving.

The laws are changing fast so here’s what you need to know right now about stunt driving and what to do if you receive a ticket in Ottawa…

What is stunt driving?

The definition of stunt driving is driving “a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.”

In reality, this usually translates to exceeding the speed limit by 40 km/h or 50 km/h or more, depending on the speed limit on the road in question.

This accounts for most of the stunt driving tickets issued by law enforcement in Ontario, but a wide scope of activities can result in a stunt driving charge, such as:

  • Driving a vehicle so that it indicates an intention to chase another car
  • Two or more motor vehicles racing
  • Driving a vehicle so that it indicates an intention to cause its tires to lose traction with the road

What to do after being charged with stunt driving in Ontario?

If you are charged with stunt driving in Ontario, your licence will be confiscated for 30 days and your car impounded for two weeks (roadside penalties in Ontario were increased recently). You will also be summoned to court to answer the charge.

Getting your licence and vehicle back is expensive as you will need to pay the costs associated with reinstating your licence and towing/storing your vehicle. This is on top of considerable later fines that may apply for a conviction.

Other penalties for stunt driving can have many longer-term consequences (see next section). It’s best to review your position with a criminal lawyer experienced in stunt driving defence to discover your legal options.

How do you get your licence back?

To legally drive your vehicle off the impound lot, you need to first get your licence back. Unfortunately, to do that you will need to wait 30 days as there is a mandatory licence suspension with a stunt driving charge.

After that period, go to your local Ministry of Transportation office to reinstate your licence and pay the $281 reinstatement fee.

How do you get your vehicle back?

Once you have your licence, you can now go to the impound lot and reclaim your vehicle.

To do so, you must pay the towing costs and a daily storage fee for storage—usually between $500 and $1,000.

What are the penalties for stunt driving in Ontario?

If you are charged with stunt driving in Ontario, bear in mind that you could go to jail.

First, you will face the following immediate roadside penalties:

  • 30-day suspension of your licence
  • 14-day impoundment of your vehicle

If you are convicted of the offence, you could face the following additional penalties:

  • Six demerit points on your licence
  • A fine of $2,000-$10,000
  • A possible jail sentence of up to six months
  • An additional licence suspension
  • Increase or cancellation of your insurance policy

Demerit points and fines

Most stunt-driving convictions result in demerit points and fines.

Six demerit points on your licence could mean that you lose your licence for an extended period, depending on your previous driving record.

The prosecutor must request a fine of at least $2,000 but it could be as high as $10,000.

What are the stunt driving penalties for a G2 Driver?

The justice system, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) and law enforcement in Ontario all want to clamp down hard on young drivers who disobey the law as a deterrent. Arguably, the stunt driving laws are mainly aimed at youngsters.

A G2 or novice driver convicted of stunt driving (or any ticket that carries four or more demerit points) will be subject to additional penalties to a standard driver.

In addition to a 30-day licence suspension and two-week vehicle impoundment at the roadside, the following potential penalties may apply for a conviction:

  • Additional licence suspension up to two years
  • A fine of $2,000-$10,000
  • Increase or cancellation of your insurance policy
  • Possible jail sentence of up to six months

What are the different types of stunt-driving tickets in Ontario?

Section 172 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act deals with stunt driving. We have covered some of the main reasons why stunt driving tickets are issued in Ontario but there are many other reasons why you can be convicted of stunt driving.

The full list of reasons for stunt driving charges includes the following:

  • Driving at 40 km/h or 50 km/h (or more) over the speed limit (depending on the speed limit)
  • Chasing or racing another vehicle
  • Driving at a speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate
  • Repeatedly changing lanes close to other vehicles
  • Lifting some or all of the vehicle’s tires off the road (doing a wheelie)
  • Causing some or of all of the vehicle’s tires to lose traction (doing a burnout)
  • Drifting or causing the vehicle to spin (doing a donut)
  • Driving with a person in the trunk
  • Driving while not sitting in the driver’s seat
  • Purposely preventing another vehicle from passing
  • Purposely interfering with the movement of another vehicle

How long does stunt driving stay on your record in Ontario?

Stunt driving is not a criminal offence as you are charged under the Highway Traffic Act rather than the Criminal Code. However, you can still go to jail and you could face other serious penalties.

If you are convicted, a stunt driving conviction will remain on your driving record in Ontario for three years from the date that you are found guilty in court.

If you are brought to court for another offence within the next ten years, your driving record over the previous decade can be a factor in the sentencing outcome if you are found guilty of that offence.

If charged with stunt driving, you must accept the mandatory roadside licence suspension and vehicle impoundment but remember that you are also issued with a date to appear in court. Because of the harsh potential consequences of simply accepting the charge, many drivers accused of stunt driving decide to fight the charge.

Fighting a stunt driving ticket in Ontario

If you are charged with stunt driving in Ottawa, your ticket will already include a summons to court and you will be notified of your roadside suspension and vehicle impoundment.

On the day of the summons, you or your lawyer must attend court. If you decide to hire a lawyer and defend the charge, there may be no need for a court appearance in person by you.

At Affordable Defence, we have considerable experience in defending serious driving charges such as stunt driving. We are familiar with the local court system in Ottawa and are accustomed to the proceedings, evidence requirements, and know many of the prosecutors.

Contact an experienced stunt driving lawyer at Affordable Defence for a free case evaluation.