Dangerous Driving VS Careless Driving

Everyone makes mistakes, but when you’re driving a vehicle, even a brief lapse of judgement or attention can have deadly consequences.

Driving offences in Canada carry particularly severe penalties. But the punishments depend on what you’re charged with—careless, or dangerous driving.

In Canada, there are approximately 160,000 car accidents each year. The penalties for that offence will vary based on criteria like:

  • Were you driving while impaired?
  • How intentional was the mistake?
  • Does the mistake demonstrate a disregard for others on the road?
  • Was any harm caused to other individuals?

Depending on these factors, two similar incidents may carry two different sentences. If you’d like to learn more about the distinctions between driving offences in Manitoba, keep reading: 

What is Dangerous Driving?

The main feature that distinguishes distracted driving from careless driving is precisely how reckless the driver’s behaviour is thought to be.

Examples of dangerous driving include racing, driving while impaired (by drugs or alcohol), and aggressive driving. It will result in a criminal record, which means your fingerprints and photograph will be recorded.

If you are charged with dangerous driving, it could be classified as a summary offence (less severe) or indictment offence (more severe). The distinction is typically based on whether you caused bodily harm to others. 

Some of the punishments that result from a dangerous driving charge include:

  • A driver’s licence suspension
  • A fine
  • A criminal record
  • Jail time
  • Increased insurance fees

Those who have been charged with driving offences in the past are more likely to be charged with dangerous driving.

What is Careless Driving?

Careless driving is the less severe of these two charges. Also known as distracted driving, it consists of driving without paying sufficient attention or consideration to traffic laws, other vehicles, and pedestrians. Careless driving includes behaviours like texting and driving, skipping stop signs or red lights, and speeding.

Penalties for this offence include:

  • A fine
  • Demerits
  • A driver’s licence suspension
  • A traffic or speeding ticket

Careless driving charges apply to a broad variety of offences. In most cases, a careless driving charge will not result in a criminal record or jail time, but there are exceptions.

There is a third offence you could be charged with, which has the most severe consequences of all: criminal negligence.

What is Criminal Negligence?

In Manitoba, criminal negligence occurs when a driver shows reckless disregard for the health, safety, and lives of other drivers or pedestrians. Those who are charged with criminal negligence often face long-term jail sentences, large fines, or potential life imprisonment. Penalties are especially severe if the offence results in the death of another person, which is known as vehicular manslaughter.

Given the severe nature of these punishments, it’s imperative to hire competent legal aid if you’re facing any of the above driving charges. If you’re looking for a driving offence lawyer in Winnipeg, contact Brodsky Amy & Gould. Our criminal lawyers can help you put together a strong defence for your case. Defend yourself by getting in contact with us today.