Dangerous Driving

It is an offence to drive in a dangerous manner. Dangerous driving is a criminal offence and one of the most serious driving-related offences in Queensland.

Significant penalties apply for dangerous driving, including fine, disqualification and/or imprisonment. A conviction can also be recorded on your criminal history if you are convicted with this offence.

We recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible if you have been charged with dangerous driving.

What constitutes dangerous driving?

Dangerous driving means to “operate, or in any way interfere with the operation of, a vehicle at a speed or in a way that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including

  • the nature, condition and use of the place
  • the nature and condition of the vehicle
  • the number of persons, vehicles or other objects that are, or might reasonably be expected to be, in the place
  • the concentration of alcohol in the operator’s blood or breath
  • the presence of any other substance in the operator’s body

What are the penalties for dangerous driving?

The maximum penalty for dangerous driving is 200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment. You will also be subject to a mandatory disqualification period of at least 6 months.

If any of the following circumstances applies, the maximum penalty can be increased to 400 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment:

  • The driver was affected by alcohol or drugs at the time of offence
  • The driver was driving at an excessive speed or was participating in a speed race at the time of offence
  • The driver was previously convicted of dangerous driving

The penalty will increase further if the dangerous operation of a vehicle has resulted in the injury or death of another person.

What are the potential defences to a dangerous driving charge?

If you are charged with dangerous driving, the following defences may be applicable to you:

  • The driving was not dangerous and the accident was a result of the condition of the road or vehicle
  • Necessity, for example the driver had to drive in an event of emergency
  • The accused was wrongly identified as the driver at the time of offence

If you have some other defences that lead to you not pleading guilty, please do not hesitate to contact Ascent Lawyers to organise an initial meeting with our experienced traffic lawyers.

Please note that it is insufficient to claim that you did not intend to drive dangerously as a defence. This is because intent is not a required element to dangerous driving.

Which court will this matter be dealt with?

Normally dangerous driving cases are dealt with in the Magistrates Court. Only in certain circumstance, the cases will be brought to the District Court. For example, dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death.

Will I be imprisoned?

There is a possibility that you can be sent to jail even though this is your first time being charged with dangerous driving. However, this will depend on the seriousness of harm and injuries you have caused the other person and the circumstances of the offence. If you are convicted with dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death, there is a high possibility that you may face a prison sentence.

The length of imprisonment may increase if you were affected by drugs or alcohol at the time of the offence.

Will this offence be recorded as a conviction in my criminal history?

Dangerous driving is classified as a criminal offence and the Court has the power to decide whether or not to record the offence as a conviction.

If a conviction is recorded, it may impact your future visa applications and employment prospects. However, it is possible to ask the court not to record the conviction.

Will my driver's licence be disqualified?

Generally, dangerous driving will attract a minimum of a 6-month period of licence disqualification. The Court will take into account several factors when deciding the length of your licence disqualification.

Please note that you are not eligible to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence which allows you to drive during the term of your licence disqualification. As such, it is important that you are represented by an experienced traffic lawyer to minimise the licence disqualification period.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me for the dangerous driving charge?

The answer to this question will inevitably be “Yes”. Dangerous driving is one of the most serious traffic offences in Queensland and also a criminal offence. The consequences of not having a lawyer far exceed the cost of hiring one.

Having a lawyer to deal with your case may minimise the penalty imposed by the Court. This is a benefit to you as having a criminal conviction can inadvertently affect your employment prospects or visa applications.

Therefore, seeking legal advice from a traffic lawyer from the beginning of your case can save you a lot of unnecessary worries.

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