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, Werribee, 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.
What is dangerous driving?
Section 64 of the Road Safety Act 1986 makes it an offence to drive dangerously in the state of Victoria. The law states that a person must not drive in a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to the public.
- 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. Unlike other criminal offences, intention doesn’t really come into the equation, only the intention to drive the motor vehicle in the way it was driven, whether that is dangerous or not is an objective assessment.
What are the penalties if I am found guilty and will I lose my drivers licence?
The penalty for dangerous driving is;
- a maximum of 2 years imprisonment or to a fine of 240 penalty units or both. Upon the finding of guilt, a magistrate must disqualify the driver from driving for a minimum period of six months.
- If the offence relates to speed in excess of 45kms/hr over the speed limit, section 64(2) of the Road Safety Act indicates that the magistrate must disqualify the driver for at least 12 months.
It is imperative to note that there is no maximum period. Therefore, magistrates can, and often do, disqualify drivers licences for longer than the mandatory minimum periods.
Often in relation to this charge defendants are far better to negotiate the charge down to careless driving, which by virtue of section 64(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 more information on careless driving please click here.
Do I have a defence?
You may have a defence to dangerous driving. 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. 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.