Street Racing (Offence)
|s. 249.2 to 249.4 of the Crim. Code|
|Election / Plea|
|Crown Election||Indictment (harm or death), Hybrid|
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 years incarceration (danger)|
14 years incarceration (harm) or Life (death)
Offences relating to street racing are found in Part VIII of the Criminal Code concerning "Offences Against the Person and Reputation".
|Crown Election|| Defence Election|
|s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4)||Indictable Offence(s)||N/A||Yes|
|s. 249.4(2)||Hybrid Offence(s)||Yes||Yes, if Crown proceeds by Indictment|
When charged under s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4), the accused cannot be released by police under s. 497 or 498 and so must be held in custody when arrested. They must then be brought before a judge or justice under s. 503 and are only to be released by an order of a judge or justice pursuant to s. 515. A youth will be subject to a maximum penalty of 3 years under s. 42(15) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and so may be given an attendance notice or a summons without a s. 496 arrest, 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 an order of a judge or justice under s. 515.
When charged under s. 249.4(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.
If police decide to bring the accused before a Justice pursuant to s. 503, there will be a presumption against bail (i.e. a 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 victims under s. 111 of the YCJA.
Offences under s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4) are designated "serious personal injury" offences under s. 752(a) only if it has a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration or more and involves "use or attempted use of violence against another person" or "conduct endangering or likely to endanger the life or safety of another person or inflicting or likely to inflict severe psychological damage on another person".
See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.
Causing death by criminal negligence (street racing)
249.2 Everyone who by criminal negligence causes death to another person while street racing is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
2006, c. 14, s. 2.
Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence (street racing)
249.3 Everyone who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person while street racing is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
2006, c. 14, s. 2.
Dangerous operation of motor vehicle while street racing
249.4 (1) Everyone commits an offence who, while street racing, operates a motor vehicle in a manner described in paragraph 249(1)(a).
(2) Everyone 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.
Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
(3) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
Dangerous operation causing death
(4) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes the death of another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
2006, c. 14, s. 2.
Proof of Elements
Proving street racing, causing death under s. 249.2 should include:
Proving street racing, causing bodily under s. 249.3 should include:
Proving dangerous operation while street racing, causing bodily under s. 249.4(1), (2) should include:
Proving dangerous operation while street racing, causing bodily under s. 249.4(3) should include:
Proving dangerous operation while street racing, causing bodily under s. 249.4(4) should include:
Interpretation of the Offence
Where there is no direct evidence of a race, the court can consider a number of factors indicative of racing. The factors include:
- two vehicles travelling at excessive speeds;
- two vehicles being driven aggressively in tandem;
- two vehicles in close proximity to each other over a material distance;
- one vehicle tailgating the other or other vehicles;
- abrupt and unsafe lane changes;
- bold manoeuvres in and out of traffic;
- jockeying for position;
- high‑risk passing manoeuvres;
- acts or gestures between the drivers;
- "lay witness’ opinions that the drivers appeared to be racing although a conclusory statement that the drivers were racing is of minimal evidentiary value without the bases upon which the witness reached that conclusion. It would be akin to seeking to establish dangerous driving where the only evidence was a witness who said, “I was sitting on my porch and the accused drove his car down the road in a dangerous manner."
The absence of any number of factors is not determinative to the court's decision.
Section 2 defines "street racing":
street racing means operating a motor vehicle in a race with at least one other motor vehicle on a street, road, highway or other public place;
Section 219 defines "criminal negligence".
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
For serious personal injury offences or murder, s. 606(4.1) requires that after accepting a guilty plea, the judge must inquire whether "any of the victims had advised the prosecutor of their desire to be informed if such an agreement were entered into, and, if so, whether reasonable steps were taken to inform that victim of the agreement". Failing to take reasonable steps at guilty plea requires the prosecutor to "as soon as feasible, take reasonable steps to inform the victim of the agreement and the acceptance of the plea" (s. 606(4.3)).
For any indictable offence with a maximum penalty no less than 5 years (including offences under s. 249.4(2)), but are not serious personal injury offences, s. 606(4.2) requires that after accepting a guilty plea the judge must inquire whether "any of the victims had advised the prosecutor of their desire to be informed if such an agreement were entered into, and, if so, whether reasonable steps were taken to inform that victim of the agreement". Failing to take reasonable steps at guilty plea requires the prosecutor to "as soon as feasible, take reasonable steps to inform the victim of the agreement and the acceptance of the plea" (s. 606(4.3)).
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. 249.2 and
|N/A||life in custody|
|s. 249.3 and
|N/A||14 years custody|
|s. 349.4(2)||Summary Election||six months jail and/or a $5,000 fine|
|s. 349.4(2)||Indictable Election||5 years custody|
Offences under s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4) are straight indictable. The maximum penalty is life under s. 249.2 and 249.4(4) and 14 years incarceration under s. 249.3 and 249.4(3).
Offences under s. 249.4(2) 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.
These offences have no mandatory minimum penalties.
s. 718.3, 787
| Custody and
| Custody and
| Conditional |
|s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4)||N/A|
For offences under s. 249.4(2), 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).
If convicted under s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4) a discharge is not available under s. 730(1) as it is "an offence for which a minimum punishment is prescribed by law or an offence punishable by imprisonment for fourteen years or for life".
Offences under s. 249.2, 249.3, and 249.4(3) and (4) are ineligible for a conditional sentence order under s. 742.1(c), when prosecuted by indictment, as the maximum period of incarceration is 14 years or life.
There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.
Ancillary Sentencing Orders
|DNA Orders||s. 249.1(4), 249.2, 249.3, 249.4(3) or 249.4(4)||
|Delayed Parole Order||s. 249.1(3) and (4), 249.1, 249.2, 249.3 or 249.4||
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(1) 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.|