Dangerous Driving - Section 320.13, 320.19(5) of the Criminal Code

Dangerous Operation, More Commonly Known as Dangerous Driving

What is a Dangerous Driving Charge?

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The proper name for a Dangerous Driving Charge is Dangerous Operation. This charge falls under section 320.13 of the criminal code, and has separate provisions for bodily harm and death. Dangerous operation applies to conveyances, more on this later. Dangerous operation is much the same as the offence of careless driving, section 130, of the Highway Traffic Act.

Definition of Dangerous Operation

Section 320.13 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines Dangerous Operation as follows:

Dangerous operation

320.13 (1) Everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public.

Operation causing bodily harm

(2) Everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public and, as a result, causes bodily harm to another person.

Operation causing death

(3) Everyone commits an offence who operates a conveyance in a manner that, having regard to all of the circumstances, is dangerous to the public and, as a result, causes the death of another person.

Notice that this isn't a vehicle, but a conveyance, the definition, found earlier, is in section 320.11:

conveyance means a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment.

For the purposes of the Code, one can find the definition of motor vehicle in section 2:

motor vehicle means a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment;

This means that any vehicle outside of a bicycle or walking can be used in this offence.

Elements of the Offence

The elements of the offence of Dangerous Operation involve the following:

Operation of the vehicle: The accused must have been in operation of the vehicle.

Operation was dangerous: The manner the accused operated the vehicle was dangerous to the public in the circumstances. This may include, but is not limited to, swerving unnecessarily, collisions, or driving in close proximity to other vehicles.

Mens Rea: the accused knew or ought to have known that the manner of driving was dangerous.

Sentence for Dangerous Operation

Dangerous operation sentences typically come with a criminal record, though can end with a discharge. The sentence ranges from discharge to custody and fine. The maximum for first offence is 10 years imprisonment due to this being a hybrid offence, an offence where the Crown may proceed by indictment.

To avoid the consequences of the offence, it is very important to have competent legal representation. Contact Cambium Legal Services for a consultation if you have been charged under section 320.13(1) of the Criminal Code.

Necessity is the law of the time and action, and things are lawful by necessity, which otherwise are not; "Quicguid necessitas cogit, defendit"; and the law of the time must regulate the law of the place in such public things.
Edward Littleton, 1st Baron Littleton of Mounslow, Hampden's Case (1637), 3 How. St. Tr. 927.