Today, owning and driving a vehicle has become so generalized and integrated in our lives that we tend to trivialize careless driving. Have you never used your smartphone while driving? But the road is a danger zone. And this is why lawmakers had to set up some rules to protect both vehicle users and pedestrians.
Driving a motorized vehicle in Canada requires an official driving license and the observance of traffic regulations. With the right to drive, come responsibilities and duties. Behind a wheel, you are responsible for your security, the security of your passengers and of pedestrians or other vehicles around you.
The Canadian Criminal Code is crystal clear: driving offenses are punished under Criminal Law. Penalties can reach up to $50,000 or a jail sentence. It is essential to seek a criminal lawyer’s counsel if you have to plead your case before the Court.
Do Not Underestimate Your Crime
‘Small’ mistakes like underestimating the braking distance, bad handling, a few kilometers per hour over the speed limit, checking your smartphone, talking to a passenger, dangerous driving etc. could lead, in a split second, to someone losing their life because they were crossing the street at the wrong moment.
If you are guilty of any of these, you are breaking the Law, and depending on the damages caused, you might have to face a Judge in a Criminal Court. You then will face, if guilty, not only a cancellation of your driving license, a significant fine, but you could also get some jail time. Contrary to public belief, driving offenses are not only made up of speeding and parking tickets. Driving offenses are also made up of:
• Dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death;
• Failure to stop during police control, causing bodily harm or death;
• Street racing;
• Fleeing the scene of an accident or failure to provide assistance;
• Refusal to obey a road officer’s order;
If you are charged with one of these felonies, your situation must be taken very seriously. For these highway traffic offenses, you will need a criminal lawyer.
Preparing to Defend Yourself Before a Court
Because of a bad decision or a lack of attention you will be asked to defend yourself. You had better be prepared. A repeated reckless driving offense, or multiple fines, may result in the opening of a criminal record and the appearance before the Judge. To challenge the charge or plead your innocence, you will have to negotiate with the Prosecutor, which is really complex without the assistance of a legal counsel. A Criminal Lawyer may obtain an acquittal, a reduction of penalties, or build your defense in order to bring forward your non-liability, provide additional evidence, negotiate, or make a request for remission. It could be really complex and hard for someone who is not comfortable with the legal process to defend their case. In case of recidivism, a traffic lawyer could prevent the accumulation of your convictions which would have made matters worse.
Did you know that breath test results cannot be used to prove impaired driving if they are not read by an expert? A lawyer does. You can ask for a lawyer before giving a breath sample if you are accused of drinking and driving.
If you cooperate, in the case of a minor offense (parking ticket, speeding …) plead guilty and pay the amount of your penalty without further debate. Clearing your fine will discharge your traffic violation offense. But, if you refuse to clear the fine and dispute the infringement, you are pleading not guilty. The next steps are the notice of court hearing and the trial. Ponder a consultation with a lawyer to know your rights and the risks you are facing. A consultation is a small investment which can save you much larger expenses in the end.