Have you been charged with dangerous driving in Victoria?
If so, then you need assistance from lawyers who routinely handle dangerous driving cases.
We have offices in the Melbourne CBD, Dandenong, Ringwood, Moorabbin, Frankston, Geelong and Ballarat. Our offices are all in close proximity to the Magistrates’ Courts in these suburbs because we regularly appear to represent clients charged with Dangerous Driving.
Section 64 of the Road Safety Act makes it an offence to drive dangerously in the state of Victoria. The penalty is a maximum of two years imprisonment with a mandatory minimum period of disqualification from driving for six months.
If the offence relates to speed in excess of 45km/hr over the speed limit s64(2) indicates that the Magistrate must disqualify the driver for at least 12 months. There is no maximum period. Magistrates can and often do disqualify drivers’ licenses for longer than the mandatory minimum periods.
What is dangerous driving?
Subsection (1) of section 64 of the Road Safety Act 1986 states that dangerous driving is determined by making an objective assessment of the factual circumstances surrounding the driving.
There is an inexhaustible list of matters that the Court can take into account, including the condition of the road, the amount of traffic on the road, the type of road and of course the speed and nature of the driving itself.
The driving must amount to a serious breach of the management or control of the vehicle.
Given that it is an objective test, technically the offender does not need to put other road users at risk at the time of offending. It is an assessment of the circumstances generally, and whether they can be considered to be dangerous.
Magistrates tend to take a conservative view when determining whether something is dangerous. Often in relation to this charge defendants are far better to negotiate the charge down to careless driving, which by virtue of s64(3) is an alternative verdict to dangerous driving. Careless driving does not attract a mandatory minimum period of time off the road but does attract 3 demerit points. For a discussion on careless driving please click here.
You may still have a defence. You may not have been the driver. The police may not have accurately represented the case against you. Or you may have been acting under duress or out of necessity.
The driving that is alleged by police might have been the result of a mere error of judgment in an emergency situation. This will not constitute a sufficiently serious breach of the road management or control of the vehicle. The judiciary understand decisions can not be made whilst being viewed through the prism of hindsight.
In the above circumstances a complete acquittal may be appropriate. Whether or not the case is made out against you in relation to dangerous driving needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
Seek Advice Early
If you have been charged with dangerous driving then you need to make an appointment to see one of our lawyers. Following a phone call to our office we can get a file started and can request the brief of evidence (the evidence the police intend to rely upon to prove the case against you). Once we have the evidence we will sit down with you and discuss your prospects.
Don’t leave it to the last minute. It is critical that your case has been well prepared and considered by a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of this area of the law and who knows the local Court. Call us today.