Dangerous driving causing death is a serious criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Like all criminal offences, it consists of two components: prohibited conduct — operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner resulting in death — and a required degree of fault — a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in all the circumstances. The fault component is critical, as it ensures that criminal punishment is only imposed on those deserving the stigma of a criminal conviction. While a mere departure from the standard of care justifies imposing civil liability, only a marked departure justifies the fault requirement for this serious criminal offence.
 Defining and applying this fault element is important, but also challenging, given the inherently dangerous nature of driving. Even simple carelessness may result in tragic consequences which may tempt judges and juries to unduly extend the reach of the criminal law to those responsible. Yet, as the Court put in R. v. Beatty, 2008 SCC 5,  1 S.C.R. 49, at para. 34, "If every departure from the civil norm is to be criminalized, regardless of the degree, we risk casting the net too widely and branding as criminals persons who are in reality not morally blameworthy." Giving careful attention to the fault element of the offence is essential if we are to avoid making criminals out of the merely careless.
(4) The Mens Rea
 The focus of the mens rea analysis is on whether the dangerous manner of driving was the result of a marked departure from the standard of care which a reasonable person would have exercised in the same circumstances (Beatty, at para. 48). It is helpful to approach the issue by asking two questions. The first is whether, in light of all of the relevant evidence, a reasonable person would have foreseen the risk and taken steps to avoid it if possible. If so, the second question is whether the accused's failure to foresee the risk and take steps to avoid it, if possible, was a marked departure from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person in the accused's circumstances.
 Simple carelessness, to which even the most prudent drivers may occasionally succumb, is generally not criminal. As noted earlier, Charron J., for the majority in Beatty, put it this way: "If every departure from the civil norm is to be criminalized, regardless of the degree, we risk casting the net too widely and branding as criminals persons who are in reality not morally blameworthy" (para. 34). The Chief Justice expressed a similar view: "Even good drivers are occasionally subject to momentary lapses of attention. These may, depending on the circumstances, give rise to civil liability, or to a conviction for careless driving. But they generally will not rise to the level of a marked departure required for a conviction for dangerous driving" (para. 71).
 The marked departure from the standard expected of a reasonable person in the same circumstances — a modified objective standard — is the minimum fault requirement. The modified objective standard means that, while the reasonable person is placed in the accused's circumstances, evidence of the accused's personal attributes (such as age, experience and education) is irrelevant unless it goes to the accused's incapacity to appreciate or to avoid the risk (para. 40). Of course, proof of subjective mens rea — that is, deliberately dangerous driving — would support a conviction for dangerous driving, but proof of that is not required (Charron J., at para. 47; see also McLachlin C.J., at paras. 74-75, and Fish J., at para. 86).
(5) Proof of the "Marked Departure" Fault Element
 Determining whether the required objective fault element has been proved will generally be a matter of drawing inferences from all of the circumstances. As Charron J. put it, the trier of fact must examine all of the evidence, including any evidence about the accused's actual state of mind (para. 43).
 Generally, the existence of the required objective mens rea may be inferred from the fact that the accused drove in a manner that constituted a marked departure from the norm. However, even where the manner of driving is a marked departure from normal driving, the trier of fact must examine all of the circumstances to determine whether it is appropriate to draw the inference of fault from the manner of driving. The evidence may raise a doubt about whether, in the particular case, it is appropriate to draw the inference of a marked departure from the standard of care from the manner of driving. The underlying premise for finding fault based on objectively dangerous conduct that constitutes a marked departure from the norm is that a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have been aware of the risk posed by the manner of driving and would not have undertaken the activity: Beatty, at para. 37.
 In other words, the question is whether the manner of driving which is a marked departure from the norm viewed in all of the circumstances, supports the inference that the driving was the result of a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have exhibited.
 Driving which, objectively viewed, is simply dangerous, will not on its own support the inference that the accused departed markedly from the standard of care of a reasonable person in the circumstances (Charron J., at para. 49; see also McLachlin C.J., at para. 66, and Fish J., at para. 88). In other words, proof of the actus reus of the offence, without more, does not support a reasonable inference that the required fault element was present. Only driving that constitutes a marked departure from the norm may reasonably support that inference.