Is Careless Driving a Criminal Offense in Ontario?

In short, NO, careless driving is not a criminal offence in Ontario. It is a provincial offence under the Highway Traffic Act, section 130. This means that it is managed within the framework of traffic regulations established by the province of Ontario and does not fall under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Instead, a careless driving is treated as a traffic offence, punishable by fines and demerit points and other careless driving Ontario penalties, but does not result in a criminal record.

According to the HTA, careless driving can be defined as:

“operating a motor vehicle without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.” 


Examples of Careless Driving in Ontario:

While these behaviours can be dangerous and result in accidents, they do not rise to criminal conduct. 

BUT it’s worth mentioning that in some cases, careless driving can lead to more serious charges if the behaviour involves a higher degree of recklessness and disregard for public safety. For example, if a person is injured or killed as a result of careless driving, the driver may be charged with dangerous driving charge or criminal negligence causing death, which are criminal offences with more severe penalties. There is a significant difference between careless and dangerous driving in Ontario in terms of fines and legal consequences.


What To Do When Charged With Careless Driving in Ontario

If you are charged with careless driving in Ontario, take the offence seriously and seek legal advice. You may face severe consequences, including fines (up to $2,000), 6 demerit points, licence suspension of up to 2 years, jail time of up to 6 months and increased insurance rates for the next 6 years. 

That’s why we recommend consulting with X-COPS traffic ticket lawyers to understand the charges against you and to check your legal options. Also discover how to get a careless driving ticket dismissed in Ontario with our detailed guide.

Our lawyers can review the case and provide guidance on the best course of action, which may include fighting the charge or negotiating a plea deal. Call us today for FREE initial consultation!

FAQ

Here we've prepared a short list of frequently asked questions in order to provide quick answers to anyone who's looking for information associated with the topic. If you need more clarification, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

👉Is careless driving a criminal offence in Ontario?

No, careless driving is not considered a criminal offence in Ontario. It is classified as a traffic offence under the Highway Traffic Act (section 130), resulting in penalties such as fines, demerit points, and potential license suspension, but not a criminal record.

👉Is careless driving the same as a DUI in Ontario?

No, careless driving is not the same as a DUI in Ontario. Careless driving involves operating a vehicle without due care and attention, while DUI (driving under the influence) or impaired driving involves operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. DUI is a criminal offence with more severe penalties, including possible imprisonment and a criminal record.

👉What is the penalty for careless driving in Ontario?

The penalty for careless driving in Ontario can include:

- a fine of $400 to $2,000
- 6 demerit points
- a possible licence suspension of up to two years
- increased insurance rates
- in some cases, it may also result in up to 6 months of jail time

👉What is the difference between careless and reckless driving in Ontario?

In Ontario, careless driving involves operating a vehicle without due care and attention, but without intent to cause harm. Reckless driving, often referred to as dangerous driving, involves a higher degree of recklessness and a disregard for the safety of others. Dangerous driving is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, while careless driving is a traffic offence under the Highway Traffic Act.

Thank you!