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TRAFFIC OFFENCES

TRAFFIC OFFENCES
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Overview

There is a wide range of traffic offences in NSW. Some are considered minor, whereas others are considered serious and can attract terms of imprisonment. The following is a summary of some of the main categories of traffic offences that KF Lawyers can help you with:

Police Pursuits:

Police pursuits are considered a major traffic offence. This offence occurs where the driver of a vehicle knows or should reasonably suspect that police officers are pursuing their vehicle and require the driver to pull over. The driver thenfails to stop or drives in the following way:

  • Recklessly:

  • At a speed endangering the safety of others; or

  • In a manner that is otherwise dangerous to other.

The criminality of the offence is the driver failing to stop when required by police and continues to drive away. The offence does not require any collision or harm to be caused to other persons.

If you are a first time offender charged with a police pursuit offence, the maximum penalty upon conviction is three years imprisonment. If you have been charged for a second or subsequent police pursuit offence, you are liable for a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment upon conviction.

 

Dangerous Driving Causing Death:

Dangerous driving causing death involves a person driving a vehicle and the driver caused the death of another person whilst the driver was either:

  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

  • Driving at a dangerous speed; or

  • Driving in a dangerous manner.

The offence of dangerous driving causing death is a very serious offence and carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.

 

If there are circumstances of aggravation, you could be charged with the offence of “Aggravated Dangerous Driving Causing Death”. This offence has similar elements to a charge of dangerous driving causing death, but is committed in circumstances of aggravation.

 

Circumstances of aggravation include any of the following:

  • Being over the legal limit of alcohol;

  • Driving at 45km/h or more over the speed limit;

  • Being involved in a police pursuit; or

  • Being significantly affected by drugs.

 

The penalty for the offence of aggravated dangerous driving causing death is higher. The maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

 

Dangerous Driving Causing Grievous Bodily Harm:

Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm involves a person driving a vehicle and the vehicle impacts with another person, causing him or her grievous bodily harm whilst the driver was either:

 

  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

  • Driving at a dangerous speed; or

  • Driving in a dangerous manner.

 

The Crimes Act 1900 defines “grievous bodily harm” to mean permanent and serious disfigurement. Grievous bodily harm is essentially serious harm caused to another person, including an unborn child.

 

The maximum penalty for a charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm is seven years’ imprisonment.

 

If there are circumstances of aggravation present in relation to the offence of dangerous driving occasioning GBH, then you could be charged with the more serious offence of “Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm”.

 

This major traffic offence has the same elements as a charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, but is committed in circumstances of aggravation. Circumstances of aggravation includes any of the following:

 

  • Being over the legal limit of alcohol;

  • Driving at 45km/h or more over the speed limit;

  • Being involved in a police pursuit; or

  • Being significantly affected by drugs.

 

The maximum penalty for aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm is 11 years’ imprisonment.

 

Negligent Driving:

The offence of negligent driving is prosecuted under the . The offence prohibits persons from driving a vehicle negligently on a road. Additional penalties apply of the negligent driving causes death or grievous bodily harm.

 

The offence of dangerous driving may sound similar to the offence of negligent driving, but there is a difference. A person may be found to have driven negligently without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or being found to have exceeded the speed limit. As an example, a person may be charged with negligent driving if he or she is found using their mobile phone or changing their radio settings, thereby not paying attention to the road.

 

Penalties for the offence of negligent driving start from a fine of up to 10 penalty units ($1,100) where there is no death or grievous bodily harm resulting from the negligent driving. In circumstances where there is grievous bodily harm or death, the penalties include the following:

  • For a first time offence of negligent driving causing death, a fine of up to 30 penalty units ($3,300) and/or imprisonment of up to 18 months.

  • For a second or subsequent offence when a death occurred as a result of negligent driving, a fine of up to 50 penalty units ($5,500) and/or imprisonment for two years.

  • For a first time offence where the negligent driving caused grievous bodily harm, a fine of up to 20 penalty units ($2,200) and/or nine months imprisonment.

  • For a second or subsequent offence where the negligent driving caused grievous bodily harm, a fine of up to 30 penalty units ($3,300) and/or imprisonment for 12 months.

 

Predatory Driving:

Predatory driving in NSW involves a driver of a vehicle pursuing another vehicle in order to cause an impact between the two vehicles. The driver must intend to cause a person in the other vehicle physical harm. The offence of predatory driving occurs even if there is only the threat of a collision between the two vehicles and they do not actually collide. The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment.

 

Failing to stop and assist after an accident in NSW

There are serious penalties imposed on persons under the Crimes Act 1900 and the Road Transport Act 2013 for failing to stop and assist after a car accident that caused injury, including death.

 

If you are prosecuted for the offence of failing to stop and assist after a car accident causing death under the Crimes Act 1900, you could be liable to a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment. While a conviction of failing to stop and assist after an impact causing grievous bodily harm is seven years imprisonment.

 

Under the Road Transport Act 2013 the maximum penalty is a fine of up to 30 penalty units ($3,300 at the time of writing) and / or an 18-month prison term for a first offence of failure to stop and assist after an accident. For additional offences, offenders face a fine of up to 50 penalty units ($5,500 at the time of writing) and / or two years in prison.

 

Failing to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death

The offence of failing to stop and assist after a vehicular impact causing death is committed when a person driving a vehicle is involved in an impact. The impact must have caused the death of another person and the offender does not stop to assist.

To be guilty of this offence, the driver must know or should reasonably know that they have been involved in an accident that has caused grievous bodily harm or the death of another person. Despite this knowledge they fail to stop and help.

 

Failing to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing grievous bodily harm

This offence is when a person driving a vehicle is involved in an impact which caused grievous bodily harm to another person and does not stop to assist.

To be guilty of this offence, the elements are the same as the offence of failing to stop and assist after vehicle impact causing death. The key difference is the other person has not died but has suffered grievous bodily harm.

 

Furious or Reckless Driving

The deals with furious and reckless driving. It is illegal to drive a vehicle on a road in the following ways:

  • Furiously;

  • Recklessly;

  • At a dangerous speed; or

  • In a dangerous manner.

However, the Court must consider the following factors in deciding whether a person is guilty of furious or reckless driving:

  • The nature, use and condition of the road;

  • The amount of traffic present; and

  • Any hazards on the road.

Penalties for furious or reckless driving are dependent on whether this is a first time offence. The maximum penalties for this serious traffic offence include the following:

  • For a first offence, a fine of up to 20 penalty units ($2,200) and / or nine months imprisonment.

  • For a second or subsequent offence, a fine of up to 30 penalty units ($3,300) and / or 12 months imprisonment.

 

 

Menacing Driving

Menacing driving is a serious traffic offence under the . A driver must not drive a vehicle with the intent to threaten another person or in a way that could appear threatening.

 

Menacing driving can be towards a person or property and does not have to occur on a road. Penalties are dependent on whether the driver had ‘intent to menace’ or ‘the behaviour had the possibility of menace’.

Maximum penalties for a charge of intent to menace:

  • For a first time offence, a maximum fine of up to 30 penalty units ($3,300) and / or 18 months imprisonment.

  • For second or subsequent offence, a maximum fine of up to 50 penalty units ($5,500) and / or two years imprisonment.

 

Maximum penalties for a charge of the possibility of menace:

  • For a first time offence, a maximum fine of up to 20 penalty units ($2,200 at the time of writing) and / or 12 months imprisonment.

  • For a second or subsequent offence, a maximum fine of 30 penalty units ($3,300) and / or 18 months imprisonment.

 

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Not surprisingly, many people experience their first time in Court because of a drink driving offence or DUI offence. It is easy for people to forget that they could be over the legal alcohol limit for driving, and when cause by a random breath test conducted by police, they find they are in more trouble then a licence suspension. The penalties for drink driving offences and DUI offences are very serious and could also attract imprisonment. Some offences also carry mandatory interlock orders.

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