Negligent Driving

Primarily, following are the three charges of negligent driving:

  • Negligent driving not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm;
  • Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm;
  • Negligent driving occasioning death.

 

THE LAW

Section 117 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) provides that:

“[a] person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road negligently”.

Negligent driving is defined as:

“driving without the standard of due care and attention reasonably expected of the ordinary prudent driver”.

Section 117 (3) of the Road Transport Act 2013 provides that the Court must have regard to all the circumstances of the case in considering whether or not your driving was negligent, including the following:

Circumstances about the road – e.g. it’s condition;

The amount of traffic on or expected to have been on the road; and

Any obstructions or hazards on the road (such as broken down or crashed vehicles, fallen loads and accident and emergency vehicles).

 

MAXIMUM/POSSIBLE PENALTIES

The charge of Negligent driving not occasioning death or GBH usually begins with an infringement notice, which carries three demerit points. Additionally, the Court also has the power to impose a 12-month disqualification period if believed to be appropriate.

The charge of Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm books you under imprisonment of 9 months the first time, and 12 months if the offence is subsequently committed. It also carries a fine of up to $2,200 for a first offence, and $3,300 for a second or subsequent offence. There is a minimum disqualification period of 12 months with this offence, which increases to 2 years for a second or subsequent offence. 

Negligent driving occasioning death carries with it a maximum 18 months imprisonment for a first offence and 2 years for subsequent offences. The offence also carries a maximum fine of $3,300 for a first offence, rising to $5,500 for a second or subsequent offence. Upon conviction for negligent driving occasioning death there is also an automatic licence disqualification period of 3 years which in appropriate circumstances, the Court may reduce to the minimum period of 12 months.

Please note that the maximum penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending.

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Negligent Driving charge of:

  • Full-time Imprisonment;
  • An Intensive Correction Order (ICO);
  • A Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • A Fine; and/or
  • A Conditional Release Order (CRO).

 

THE FACTS THAT MUST BE PROVEN

Since Negligent Driving offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.  Considering the severity of the nature of crime that Negligent Driving is in the eyes of law, the proof that the prosecution must present needs to be beyond a reasonable doubt, to prove the conviction.

Each of the following matters has to be presented:

  • There was a failure on your part to take due care while driving your vehicle. If there is any reason to doubt that you were driving negligently, you must be found not guilty;
  • That you were driving the vehicle, and that it was being driven on a road or other related area.
  • That you have not successfully met the elements of any defence.

For Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, the police must also prove grievous bodily harm occurred because of the Negligence.

For Negligent driving occasioning death, police must also prove death occurred because of the negligent driving.

The nature and elements of the offence of Negligent Driving were considered in Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) v Yeo and Anor [2008] NSWSC 953 wherein it was said the offence or test for Negligent driving essentially being established is:

“….where it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person drove a motor vehicle in a manner involving a departure from the standard of care for other users of the road to be expected of the ordinary prudent driver in the circumstances”.

 

DEFENCES

While building up a case against Negligent Driving charges, following defences can be put up in your favor:

  • Build some pressure on the police to clearly and rationally prove that the manner of driving was dangerous to a degree where it amounts to negligence.
  • If you were in a situation where you had no other choice but to act in a certain way, ‘Duress’
  • Under the defence of ‘Necessity’, you may argue that this particular action of yours prevented the occurrence of major harm.
  • Certain external factors and alleviating some circumstances compelled you to act in the way you did,
  • Legal technicalities; or
  • Proving the incident is an honest mistake based on justifiable grounds that renders conduct innocent that would otherwise have legal consequences (reasonable mistake of fact).

 

CHOICES AT LAW OPTIONS

For Negligent driving, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® offers the following options:

  1. We initiate negotiation with prosecutors (police) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) and plead to withdrawal or downgrade of the charge or alternatively, seek amendments to the police fact sheets or documents.
  2. At the hearing/trial, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® shall if you so instruct Plead Not Guilty and drive the argument based on prosecution’s inability to prove the elements of their accusation.
  3. Alternatively, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® may plead guilty on your instructions however, the hearing shall revolve around the facts with an objective to obtain a moderate or minimum punishment.
  4. Lastly, Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® on your instructions enter a plea of guilt where you accept all the charges pressed by the police, but we present a case so solid on your behalf, with an objective to persuade and convince the Court to not record a criminal conviction against you.

For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)

 

WHY REP-REVIVE CRIMINAL & EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS®

There are several reasons to engage Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers®:

  •  We are always in your corner

At Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® we understand the gravity of a criminal charge on your reputation. Thus, we work with the utmost diligence and fervour to restore any dints to our client’s repute. We fight for your rights and liberty earnestly, and for the best results, irrespective of the intensity of the matter. All these factors have made us known in the industry as always being in our client’s corner. 

  •  We bring about excellent results

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® is driven by positive outcomes and defend your case with skills which have been sharpened by years of experience. You will be dealing with lawyers who are proficient at their craft and will defend your case with rigour and an aim to have the matter withdrawn, downgraded, dismissed or the minimal penalty available at law imposed.

Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are adept in all forms of advocacy and will present your case in the most skilful manner in Court. 

  • Your case will be in the hands of an experienced lawyer

Irrespective of your decision in deciding the course of the case, you will be supported and guided by Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® who have been in the provision of legal service for over 21 years. 

If you are charged with an offence, our team at Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.

Please contact our office on 0419 998 398 or 0492 857 721 or email info@rpr5.sydney for more information. The first consultation is free.

 

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