Have you been charged with careless driving?
Dribbin & Brown Traffic Lawyers regularly represent clients charged with careless driving offences. We have offices in Melbourne CBD, Dandenong, Ringwood, Moorabbin, Frankston, Werribee, Geelong and Ballarat. Our offices are all in close proximity to the local Magistrates’ Courts in these localities.
We are familiar with the Magistrates and the Court prosecutors. This gives our firm a great advantage in relation to representing clients charged with careless driving.
What is careless driving?
Careless driving is what the Court determines to be careless, using an objective standard and taking into account all the circumstances of the case.
The objective test applied to careless driving is follows: A driver who fails to exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent driver would exercise in the circumstances drives carelessly, the case on point is Simpson v Peat  2 QB 24 at 27.
The fact that a collision has occurred is not in itself evidence of carelessness, the prosecution must exclude any hypothesis consistent with innocence before a magistrate can find against an accused person charged with careless driving.
Examples of careless driving are crashing your vehicle whilst adjusting the stereo or taking a corner too quickly and crashing into the pavement.
Cases that are not careless driving include crashing your vehicle whilst avoiding an animal that jumped onto the middle of the road or crashing into another vehicle because you are avoiding someone driving dangerously.
Often when there is an accident the police will charge the party that they determine to be at fault with careless driving. It is important to remember that just because there is an accident does not automatically mean that you are guilty of careless driving. The police still need to prove that your carelessness caused the accident.
What are the penalties in relation to careless driving?
It is not an offence that can attract a gaol sentence. First time offenders face a maximum fine of 12 penalty units and second time offenders face a maximum of 25 penalty units. The penalty is found at s65 of the Road Safety Act.
Defendants who plead guilty will also accrue 3 demerit points and, if the matter goes before a magistrate, potentially be subject to a period of suspension or cancelation from driving, per s28 of the Road Safety Act. The reference to the demerit points are not found in the Road Safety Act but in the Road Safety (Drivers Regulations) 2019 in schedule 3 at item 19.
How long you might expect to lose your driver’s licence for in relation to careless driving is completely at the Court’s discretion. It really depends on who is sitting on the bench and what materials are put forward on your behalf.
A magistrate is not required to suspend a driver’s licence in relation to this charge, but if they do decide to, there is no limit on how long it can be suspended for.
There is also a possibility of being convicted for the offence in Court and having a permanent criminal record for careless driving.
It is also important to remember, even if you are recommended and granted a diversion by a magistrate, that you will still accrue the three demerit points.
Do I need a lawyer?
If you have been charged with careless driving and if your driver’s licence is important to you, don’t go to court unrepresented. Consider how much it will cost you to be suspended from driving for 6 – 12 months if it goes badly for you.
Dribbin & Brown Traffic Lawyers are experienced in handling these types of matters. We regularly appear at the above Courts to represent people charged with careless driving.
If you have to appear in court in relation to this charge, call our office and make an appointment to see one of our lawyers today.