We read about it in the newspapers and online almost every other day it seems: some driver of a motor vehicle has landed himself in criminal court charged with one or more Criminal Code offences.
Of course, the often-repeated but not always heeded warning of never getting out of your car is the best way of avoiding almost every kind of unwanted consequence, criminal or otherwise. Anger management courses are available for those of us who may need help in controlling our fight or flight responses to improve our chances of avoiding being caught up in a violent or potentially violent episode involving the use of a motor vehicle.
But what about the situation where you have, for example, been threatened with a weapon or an imitation weapon and your path of avoidance is either blocked or otherwise dangerous to go down. The principle of criminal law becoming more and more popular in the United States, namely that of “stand your ground”, has no real application in Canada.
Simply put, an accused person charged with a violent offence such as assault, assault causing bodily harm or even possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public either has available to her the defence of self defence or she doesn`t.
Road Rage in Ontario
While not officially included in the Criminal Code, engaging in road rage can lead to a number of criminal charges such as:
- Uttering Threats – s. 264.1
- Assault – s. 265
- Assault with a Weapon or Assault Causing Bodily Harm – s. 267
(This includes using the vehicle itself as a weapon)
- Aggravated Assault – s. 268
- Dangerous Driving – s. 249 (1)
- Hit and Run – s. 252
It can also engage the law pertaining to Defence of person – s. 34
As you may imagine, there is often no shortage of willing by-standers or perhaps other drivers who are questioned and make statements to attending police officers. Unfortunately, their perception of actual events is often colored or distorted by their first impressions of who is the victim and who is the person acting more aggressively or in the attacking mode.
We can offer comment in these road rage cases that the role of a competent criminal defence lawyer is to challenge the observations of these Prosecution witnesses, both from the perspective of when they first became aware of the developing situation in relation to what they claimed they first saw or heard in their police statements as well as to cross examining them as to what their vantage point was at the time these observations were made.
In addition, the opportunity for road rage witnesses to talk over what they saw or heard prior to being questioned at the crime scene by the investigating officers is fertile ground for defence counsel to undermine the credibility of their observations based on the obvious, the likelihood that each witness is presenting a compilation of what they saw or heard as opposed to a recitation of their own personal recollections.
In the modern age, it is also becoming more common for witnesses who foresee a road rage encounter developing to record the event on their cell phone or other common recording device. A road rage video substantiating what a witness has seen can hold significant weight in court.
To sum up, once you find yourself on the wrong end of criminal charges stemming from a driving incident, the first thing we, at The Criminal Law Team suggest is that you make that call to get the very best criminal law defence available and to then let yourself know that our collective energies, experience and skill will give you, in your personal situation, the result you deserve.
See what our other clients are saying about us. We can help you too!
I came to Stephen Hebscher with a somewhat irregular case. Both my spouse and I had been mutually charged with domestic assault, a legal situation that neither of us had wished upon each other. While my spouse's lawyer had been content to seek mutually binding peace bonds, Stephen was able to get in front of the case and negotiate a withdrawal of both of our charges- the best possible outcome on BOTH sides of the table – once we successfully completing the PARs program. I remain entirely pleased with Stephen's competency, professionalism and accessibility, and would not hesitate to recommend him as a criminal defence lawyer. L.A.
Mr. Hebscher: I would like to thank you for your excellent representation of me in relation to the domestic assault charges that you worked so hard to have withdrawn. You have made a critical difference in my future and I am very happy with the outcome. I also appreciate your hard work, and the extra time and effort you have put in to deal with all the other issues that came along. I thank you for being a phone call away (or email) even when you did not have to be. I will gladly recommend your services to any of my friends or family should they ever need it. I am very grateful for what you have done.
I am impressed especially after our meeting on Monday – I was resigned that something bad would befall me, so I am very blessed to have this outcome. I thank you for the hard work that you have put into this case, and the dedication on getting me this fantastic outcome! I am so glad that we retained you as my lawyer! You have done an outstanding job and allowed me to now rebuild my life. Thank you, Bruce Karten.
Dave B. (Ajax, Ontario)
We were referred to Stephen Hebscher when our child was in need of legal representation. He was charged with sexual assault. As parents, we were quite frightened for our child but Mr. Hebscher was the calm voice of reason. We are very grateful to Mr. Hebscher for the excellent results he got for our child, as the charges were dropped.
J.N. (Toronto, Ontario)
Mr. Hebscher is a very professional lawyer who takes pride in his work and because of this the end result was the judge ruling me not guilty and I got my innocence and life back. My family and I would like to thank you again Stephen Hebscher for doing a wonderful job and also being a very supportive man.
Chris T. (Scarborough, Ontario)
I am happy to report that Bruce’s superior negotiation strategy and ability to present facts effectively helped convince the Crown to reduce his position. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bruce for getting my charge withdrawn and keep my criminal record clean.
J.S (Toronto, Ontario)
I looked and found Barrister Stephen Hebscher I introduced myself and my case and after listening to all details he was able to ensure me that my case would go well. All charges against me have be thrown out and my life is back to normal.
Blair H. (North York)
Bruce ...The care and concern you showed us during our dealings certainly helped to reduce the stress we were under. I would recommend you without a second thought. Your winning record is a bonus as well. My husband and myself can't thank you enough for all you've done for our family.
Debi T. (Mississauga, Ontario)
Dear Mr. Hebscher...There are not enough words to express my appreciation for your...giving me your undivided attention at all times, work in my case with your heart and soul, that makes you "ONE OF A KIND" lawyer.
Ahmed A. (Brampton, Ontario)
Mr. Bruce Karten was able to help to extricate me from a very serious criminal case containing severe charges, including weapons –threat to use weapons, death threat, harassment,etc. He succeeded in winning my case. I was discharged; was able to keep my career, and no criminal record. This was a tremendous accomplishment, and I am very appreciative of that.
Nickolai V. (Toronto, Ontario)
Again, from the depth of our hearts we sincerely thank you very much for being my Counsel on this case. We now can say you are the BEST and we will surely recommend you to our friends and anybody here we know who needs the best Lawyer in Ontario. You have done an extremely good job and we are very happy with the outcome this morning.
Roman A. (Markham, Ontario)
Mr. Hebscher was the only lawyer who gave me hope and made me feel like I had a real fighting chance. I am extremely satisfied with the quick results that he delivered, and I am happy to say that he was able to convince the court to drop the charges against me and clear my name.
Tina M. (Toronto, Ontario)