Flight from a Peace Officer (Offence)
|Flight from a Peace Officer|
|s. 249.1 of the Crim. Code|
|Election / Plea|
|Crown Election||Hybrid / Indictable|
summary proceedings must initiate within 6 months of the offence (786(2))
Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
|Types of Release||Release by Officer, Officer-in-Charge, or Judge (varies on charge)|
|Avail. Disp.||Discharge (730)|
Conditional Sentence (742.1)
|Maximum||six months jail and/or a $5,000 fine|
|Maximum||5, 14 years incarceration or Life|
Offences relating to flight from a peace officer are found in Part VIII of the Criminal Code concerning "Offences Against the Person and Reputation".
|Crown Election|| Defence Election|
|s. 249.1(2) [without bodily harm]||Hybrid Offence(s)||Yes||Yes, if Crown proceeds by Indictment|
|s. 249.1(3) [with bodily harm or death]||Indictable Offence(s)||N/A||Yes|
Offences under s. 249.1(2) [without Bodily Harm] are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2). Offences under s. 249.1(3) [with Bodily Harm or Death] are straight indictable. There is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2).
When charged under s. 249.1(3), the accused must be held by police when arrested, they must be brought before a judge or justice under s. 503 and are only to be released by an order of a judge or justice under s. 515. A youth will be subject to a maximum penalty of 3 years under s. 42(15) of the YCJA and can be given an attendance notice without arrest under s. 496 or a summons and if arrested, can be released by the arresting officer under s. 497 on a attendance notice or by an officer-in-charge under s. 498 on a promise to appear or recognizance. The youth can also be released by a justice under s. 515.
When charged under s. 249.1(2), the accused can be given an attendance notice without arrest under s. 496 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 497 on a attendance notice or by an officer-in-charge under s. 498 on a promise to appear or recognizance. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.
There will be a presumption of custody (reverse onus) if the offence, prosecuted by indictment, was committed:
- while at large under s. 515 [bail release], 679 or 680 [release pending appeal or review of appeal] (s. 515(6)(a)(i));
- "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association" with a criminal organization (s. 515(6)(a)(ii));
- where the offence involved a firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, while the accused was subject to a prohibition order preventing possession of these items (s. 515(6)(a)(viii)); or
- where the accused is not "ordinarily a resident in Canada" (s. 515(6)(b)).
For all offences there is a discretionary general publication ban available on application of the Crown, victim or witness to prohibit the publishing of "any information that could identify the victim or witness" under s. 486.5(1) where it is "necessary" for the "proper administration of justice". Other available publication bans include prohibitions for publishing evidence or other information arising from a bail hearing (s. 517), preliminary inquiry (s. 539) or jury trial (s. 648). There is a mandatory publication ban in all youth prosecutions on information tending to identify young accused under s. 110 of the YCJA or young victim under s. 111 of the YCJA.
See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.
(1) Every one commits an offence who, operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle, fails, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1)
- (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
- (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Flight causing bodily harm or death
(3) Every one commits an offence who causes bodily harm to or the death of another person by operating a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249(1)(a), if the person operating the motor vehicle was being pursued by a peace officer operating a motor vehicle and failed, without reasonable excuse and in order to evade the police officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.
(4) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (3)
- (a) if bodily harm was caused, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years; and
- (b) if death was caused, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
2000, c. 2, s. 1.
Proof of the Offence
Proving flight from a peace officer under s. 249.1(1) should include:
Interpretation of the Offence
The passenger can be liable along with the driver where the passenger had “the exercise of a directing authority”. 
A “reasonable excuse” for flee police provides a justification for the offence and does not negate any essential element of the offence itself.  For example, a desire to think things through goes to motive and still results in a conviction.
Warrantless entry into a dwelling was not permitted when a possibly mentally ill individual reports people breaking into his house.
Section 2 defines "bodily harm", "motor vehicle", "peace officer".
- (a) means, in respect of a motor vehicle, to drive the vehicle,
- (b) means, in respect of railway equipment, to participate in the direct control of its motion, whether
- (i) as a member of the crew of the equipment,
- (ii) as a person who, by remote control, acts in lieu of such crew, or
- (iii) as other than a member or person described in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and
- (c) includes, in respect of a vessel or an aircraft, to navigate the vessel or aircraft;
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 214; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 33, c. 32 (4th Supp.), s. 56; 2002, c. 13, s. 9.
Participation of Third Parties
Certain persons who testify are entitled to make application for the use of testimonial aids: Exclusion of Public (s. 486), Use of a Testimonial Screen (s. 486), Access to Support Person While Testifying (s. 486.1), Close Proximity Video-link Testimony (s. 486.2), Self-Represented Cross-Examination Prohibition Order (s. 486.3), and Witness Security Order (s. 486.7).
A witness, victim or complainant may also request publication bans (s. 486.4, 486.5) and/or a Witness Identity Non-disclosure Order (s. 486.31). See also, Publication Bans, above.
On Finding of Guilt
Under s. 738, a judge must inquire from the Crown before sentencing whether "reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victims with an opportunity to indicate whether they are seeking restitution for their losses and damages".
Under s. 722(2), the judge must inquire "[a]s soon as feasible" before sentencing with the Crown "if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to prepare" a victim impact statement. This will include any person "who has suffered, or is alleged to have suffered, physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss" as a result of the offence. Individuals representing a community impacted by the crime may file a statement under s. 722.2.
Sentencing Principles and Ranges
|s. 249.1 [without bodily harm]||Summary Conviction||six months jail and/or a $5,000 fine|
|s. 249.1 [without bodily harm]||Indictable Conviction||5 years custody|
|s. 249.1 [with bodily harm]||N/A||14 years custody|
|s. 249.1 [with death]||N/A||life in custody|
Offences under s. 249.1 [without bodily harm] are hybrid. If prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 5 years incarceration. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is six months jail and/or a $5,000 fine .
Offences under s. 249.1 [with bodily harm or death] are straight indictable. The maximum penalty is 14 years incarceration [bodily harm] or life [death].
Offences under s. 249.1 have no mandatory minimum penalties.
s. 718.3, 787
| Custody and
| Custody and
| Conditional |
without bodily harm
with bodily harm or death
All dispositions are available.The judge may order a discharge (s. 730), suspended sentence (s. 731(1)(a)), fine (s. 731(1)(b)), custody (s. 718.3, 787), custody with probation (s. 731(1)(b)), custody with a fine (s. 734), or a conditional sentence (s. 742.1).
There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.
This offence will often attract a sentence that will be consecutive to other convictions that arise out of the same interaction.
- whether there were pedestrians or other vehicles on the road
- condition of the road at the time
- whether blood alcohol level above 0.16
- see s. 255.1
Ancillary Sentencing Orders
|DNA Orders||s. 249.1(2), (4)||
|Driving Prohibition Orders (s. 259)|
General Sentencing Orders
|Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21)||any||The judge has discretion to order that the offender be prohibited "from communicating...with any victim, witness or other person" while in custody except where the judge "considers [it] necessary" to communicate with them.|
|Restitution Orders (s. 738)||any||A discretionary Order is available for things such as the replacement value of the property; the pecuniary damages incurred from harm, expenses fleeing a domestic partner; or certain expenses arising from the commission of an offence under s.402.2 or 403.|
|Victim Fine Surcharge (s. 737)||any||A mandatory surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order is discretionary based on ability to pay and the minimum amounts are smaller (15%, $50, or $100).|
General Forfeiture Orders
|Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime (s. 462.37(1) or (2.01))||any||Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence under the Code or the CDSA in which property is "proceeds of crime" and offence was "committed in relation to that property", the property shall be forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen on application of the Crown.|
|Fine in Lieu of Forfeiture (s. 462.37(3))||any||Where a Court is satisfied an order for the forfeiture of proceeds of crime under s. 462.37(!) or (2.01) can be made, but that property cannot be "made subject to an order", then the Court "may" order a fine in "an amount equal to the value of the property". Failure to pay the fine will result in a default judgement imposing a period of incarceration.|
|Forfeiture of Weapons or Firearms (s. 491)||any||Where there is finding of guilt for an offence where a "weapon, an imitation firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, any prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance was used in the commission of [the] offence and that thing has been seized and detained", or "that a person has committed an offence that involves, or the subject-matter of which is, a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance has been seized and detained, that the item be an enumerated weapon or related item be connected to the offence", then there will be a mandatory forfeiture order. However, under s. 491(2), if the lawful owner "was not a party to the offence" and the judge has "no reasonable grounds to believe that the thing would or might be used in the commission of an offence", then it should be returned to the lawful owner.|
|Forfeiture of Offence-related Property (s. 490.1)||any||Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence, "any property is offence-related property" where (a) by means or in respect of which an indictable offence under this Act or the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act is committed, (b) that is used in any manner in connection with the commission of such an offence, or (c) that is intended to be used for committing such an offence". Such property is to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province.|