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What Is Criminal Negligence?

criminal negligence Canada

The crimes of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, or criminal negligence causing death, or causing death by criminal negligence while street racing, or causing bodily harm by criminal negligence while street racing, refer to acting irresponsibly without caution, to put others at risk of injury or death, or failing to do something to prevent the same circumstances from happening.

This can occur both in public (as with: child endangerment, while driving, etc.), or at a place of employment (as with: a building construction site, manufacturing plant, etc.), whether intentionally or inadvertently, but usually involves a level of recklessness. It is normally attributed to someone who goes ahead and ignores the inherent risks of dangerous behaviour.

The criminal code defines the accused as showing “wanton and reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons”. In the context of driving offences, the driving is more reckless than the driving required to find a conviction for dangerous driving. Having said that, one cannot be convicted of dangerous driving or criminal negligence just because he or she is in violation of a provincial driving offence such as speeding, unsafe lane change, or careless driving. The driving has to essentially be so reckless as to put people’s lives in danger.

Reduce your Criminal Charge to a Traffic Offence

Many times the police “overcharge” an accused with dangerous driving or criminal negligence, and, it is the job of criminal negligence lawyers to negotiate a withdrawal of the criminal charge in exchange for a plea to a traffic offence such as careless driving. We have access to a team of expert witnesses who will investigate the traffic incident, including an inspection of the damage of the vehicles, to see if the driving that lead to the accident can be explained away in an innocent fashion. For example, an accident reconstruction expert will use computer models to recreate the circumstances that lead to the traffic accident in question, and may be able to provide an innocent explanation. Similarly, in the context of, for example, criminal negligence in the workplace, engineers can be retained to explain whether a workplace accident was caused by company negligence, or simply an unforeseen failure in equipment, or an employee’s failure to follow safety procedures and protocols.


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The Criminal Law Team has over 60+ years of experience in defending criminal cases. We have the expertise, and the experts, to properly act as your criminal negligence lawyers, whether in the context of a motor vehicle, or at the workplace, or elsewhere. Give us a call for your free confidential consultation. See what our other clients are saying about us. We can help you too!

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