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careless driving might be putting on makeup while driving

Fighting a careless driving ticket

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between careless driving and dangerous driving. People seem to realise dangerous driving is a serious offence but wonder if fighting a careless driving ticket is worthwhile.

A dangerous driving charge is a criminal matter whereas a careless driving charge comes under BC’s Motor Vehicle Act. This blog will explain the consequences of careless driving vs dangerous driving and why fighting a careless driving ticket is most definitely worthwhile.

Careless driving vs. dangerous driving

Careless driving is actually broken up into three separate offences. According to Section 144 of the Motor Vehicle Act, a person must not drive a vehicle on a highway

  1. without due care and attention,
  2. without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway, or
  3. at a speed that is excessive relative to the road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions.

So when someone is charged with careless driving they might be driving without giving the road their full attention or driving like a jerk, such as not allowing another driver to merge. The final subcategory of careless driving might be something like driving too fast in snowy conditions or when there’s a lot of traffic.

Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, otherwise known as dangerous driving, is an offence under the Criminal Code. It is an offence to operate:

A motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place.

While there are some similarities between careless driving and dangerous driving, the former is very much the lesser of the two evils. There are also similarities between the defences against the two offences.

Careless driving charge

A careless driving ticket carries a minimum of $368. However, this can increase up to a maximum of $2,000 depending on the severity of the case. The careless driving penalty can also include up to six months in prison in some cases.

One of the main reasons for fighting a careless driving ticket is the fact that it is considered a high-risk offence. This means it carries six driver penalty points. If you are convicted of careless driving you will end up paying ICBC more for your insurance because of driver penalty point premiums. There is also a risk it might trigger intervention actions, such as a driving prohibition, if you have existing offences on your driving record or if you are a Class 7 ‘N’ or ‘L’ driver.

Dangerous driving charge

The punishment for dangerous driving is more severe than the punishment for careless driving. Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is broken down into dangerous operation causing bodily harm and dangerous driving causing death.

If someone is harmed as a result of someone’s dangerous driving, the driver is liable to imprisonment of up to ten years. If a person is killed, on the other hand, the potential prison sentence increases to a maximum of 14 years. Even if no injuries or deaths result from the driving, the courts are still able to sentence a driver to up to five years in prison.

Careless driving defence

If you are charged with careless driving, the Crown does not have to prove that you intentionally committed the offence. While this might seem cut and dried, the prosecution still has to prove that you met all of the requirements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

A momentary lapse in attention to the road is not enough to secure a careless driving conviction. The standard is reasonableness which means the Court must compare the defendant’s driving with what an ordinary person would do in the same situation.

Why fighting a careless driving ticket is worthwhile

If you get a careless driving ticket you should fight it. You have nothing else to lose when u fight a careless driving charge. If you accept the charge and pay the fine, you plead guilty to the offence and agree to accept all of the penalties it carries.

The BC Driving Lawyers are ready to fight your careless driving ticket. Call us for a free consultation on 604-608-1200.