A summation of the Impact of new and existing penalties for Distracted Driving;
Its clear that for years distracted driving has become more and more prevalent as the use of smart phones and text messaging has become the norm in this fast passed society we live today, however with that being the case, new dangers are also becoming prevalent as a simple text message can be enough to cause you to crash your vehicle and either hurt yourself or someone else. That being said, Drive hand-held communication device isn’t the only charge for distracted driving, for example a Careless driving charge can also be given for eating, reading, or even typing a destination into a gps.
A Careless Driving Charge can come with some very serious penalties like the following;
In addition to the mentioned charges under the Highway Traffic Act there are also criminal charges known as “Dangerous Driving” aka Dangerous operation of Motor vehicles, vessels and Aircraft, which fall under the Criminal Code of Canada that can be laid if you have been considered to have been operating a vehicle in a Dangerous manner. It’s a good idea to understand that this is not a charge that is given lightly as it is extremely serious so much so that if you are convicted you can face the following;
In addition to the above, on summary conviction there is also harsher penalties if you cause harm to another person called Dangerous Operation causing bodily harm, this charge comes with the following on conviction;
Here at NG Legal Services Professional Corporation we try to keep our clients informed of the dangers of Distracted Driving, as the consequences of a charge can heavily impact your life financially as well as your ability to obtain insurance to drive a car to work if your license hasn’t been revoked or suspended. That being said, we would like to focus this article on Drive hand-held communication device charges as we are seeing more law enforcement taking a zero tolerance approach to the problem. As a result of this new policy as of January 2019, we are seeing many cases where the client was charged for using the handheld device even though they were not and the only way to fight these charges is to challenge the officer’s evidence at trial.
That being said, as of January 2019 there have been some changes that actually make it more costly to challenge the officers evidence for a “Drive hand held communication device” by implementing a new fee structure and penalty system if you are not successful at trial.
Below are some of the mentioned penalties for regular drivers that hold a license from A to G to M for non-novice drivers:
Third time Conviction (please note this is the maximum and it applies to any further convictions);
Below are some of the mentioned penalties for Novice Drivers that hold a license from G1,G2,M1 and M2 (please note that Novice Drivers will face longer suspensions and/or a revocation of the license with no demerit points):
With all of the above becoming a new reality in 2019, NG is working hard to manage our client expectations and take into account these changes as these charges will be changing the landscape for the way Provincial Offenses Court will be operating. Most people assume that they can hire a representative for a fee and have them get them a great deal or win at trial, without the fear of additional costs if not successful at trial. This is no longer the case as the courts are moving towards cost awards for certain matters if the Defendant loses the case. Most people would say that if you believe yourself to be innocent this should not have any impact on you, however trials have always been a 50/50 chance depending on the specific circumstance and the costs award alone will deter many from proceeding to trial. Our position on these changes remains that, if you loose and have to pay costs, then why not subject the prosecution to the same awards. After all law enforcement can charge you, have you retain legal counsel, and force you to take days off work to show up to trial and if you win you get nothing. Unfortunately, this is not the sentiment of most and the idea of equal awards is seen as a burden on the public, as law enforcement and the prosecution is funded by tax dollars. So until this debate can be taken seriously this is the landscape we must work with. That being said “DON’T DRIVE AND USE YOUR HANDHELD DEVICE”, please note that the charge isn’t restricted to talking or texting but simply Holding a Hand-held wireless communication Device. Suffice to say, that even though you were not using the device, the act of simply holding the device is enough to convict you on the charge.