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    Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death

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      Best Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death Lawyers

      Our team have dealt with countless dangerous driving occasioning death cases and have years of experience in defending these charges and having our clients found not guilty.

      We are also well-versed in sentencing proceedings and have had numerous clients avoid gaol.

      Contact us now to speak to our team of specialist criminal and traffic lawyers.

      WHAT SHOULD I DO?

      • PLEADING NOT GUILTY

        What is Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death?

        The definition of dangerous driving occasioning death under Section 52A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is a person driving dangerously who is involved in an impact, and that impact causes the death of another.

        It is one of the more serious driving offences in NSW.

        This is a Table 1 offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless you or the prosecution elect to deal with it in the District Court.

        How do you beat a Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death charge?

        You can fight a Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

        1. You drove a vehicle (this means that you were “in control of the steering, movement or propulsion of a vehicle”);
        2. That vehicle was involved in an impact;
        3. The impact caused death to another person;
        4. At the time of the impact you were:-Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
          -driving the vehicle at a speed or in a manner that created a danger to other users of the road.

        If any of these elements are not made out, then you can be found ‘not guilty’.

        Secondly, you can rely on one of the defences.

        What is Dangerous Driving?

        In order to establish that you were driving dangerously, the prosecution must prove that you were:

        1. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
        2. driving the vehicle at a speedor in a manner that created a danger to other users of the road.

         

        What is Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death?

        In addition to the above elements, the prosecution must also prove that a circumstance of aggravation existed. This means that they must prove you either:

        1. had a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.150 (this must be measured within 2 hours of the impact); or
        2. were speeding over 45km per hour; or
        3. were driving to escape a police officer; or
        4. were under the influence of drugs to such an extent that your ability to drive was substantially impaired.

        If the prosecution cannot prove any of the above elements, you will be found ‘not guilty’ of the offence. Our team has dealt with many dangerous driving causing death cases and have years of experience in fighting these charges.

        Contact us now to see how we can best defend you.

        What are the defences to Dangerous Driving occasioning Death?

        You can be found ‘not guilty’ to this offence in the following circumstances:

        1. The speed you were driving was not dangerous;
        2. The manner in which you were driving was not dangerous;
        3. You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This can include if there were drugs or alcohol in your system, but we can prove that they did not affect your driving;
        4. Causation:Your actions were not the cause of the person dying
        5. Identification:Police cannot prove that you were driving the vehicle
        6. Honest and reasonable mistake:You genuinely believed your driving was safe and it was reasonable for you to hold this belief. For example, where your vehicle had a defect.
        7. Duress:You were forced to drive while suspended.
        8. Necessity: You needed to drive in the circumstances (eg. you were escaping a serious assault)

         

        Our dangerous driving lawyers have helped countless clients defend these charges over the years.

        Contact us now to discuss your case with a specialist criminal and traffic lawyer.

      • PLEADING GUILTY

        Our traffic law sentencing guide will provide some general assistance if you are pleading guilty to a traffic charge or infringement. You should consult one of our specialist traffic lawyers for specific advice for your case.

        Contact us now to speak to our expert dangerous driving solicitors.

        What is the penalty for Dangerous Driving occasioning Death?

        The maximum penalty for Dangerous Driving occasioning Death is 10 years imprisonment if your case is heard in the District Court.

        The maximum penalty for ‘Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death’ is 14 years imprisonment if your case is heard in the District Court.

         

        Guideline judgement

        When imposing a sentence for Dangerous Driving causing death, the Court must bear in mind the matters which were set out in the guideline judgement of R v Whyte [2002] NSWCCA.

        The guideline held that in an ordinary case, a court must impose a term of full-time imprisonment unless the offender has a low level of criminal responsibility for the accident such as momentary inattention or misjudgement.

        What is an ordinary case of Dangerous Driving causing Death?

        The following characteristics make up the typical offender in an ordinary case:

        • young offender
        • of good character with no or limited prior convictions
        • death or permanent injury to a single person
        • the victim is a stranger
        • no or limited injury to the driver or the driver’s intimates
        • genuine remorse
        • plea of guilty of limited utilitarian value.

         

        Further, the Court should impose a penalty of at least 3 years imprisonment for this charge where the offender’s criminal responsibility is high.

        The circumstances which can increase your criminal responsibility include:

        • extent and nature of the injuries inflicted
        • number of people put at risk
        • degree of speed
        • degree of intoxication or of substance abuse
        • erratic or aggressive driving
        • competitive driving or showing off
        • length of the journey during which others were exposed to risk
        • ignoring of warnings
        • escaping police pursuit
        • degree of sleep deprivation
        • failing to stop.

        What are the possible sentences for Dangerous Driving occasioning Death?

        The Judge will have a number of option when sentencing for dangerous driving occasioning death:

        1. Section 10 dismissal
        2. Conditional Release Order without Conviction (previously known as Section 10 good behaviour bond)
        3. Fine
        4. Conditional Release Order with Conviction (previously known as Section 9 good behaviour bond)
        5. Community Corrections Order (previously known as Community Service Order)
        6. Intensive Corrections Order
        7. Full Time Imprisonment
        8. See below for likely penalties.

        Will you go to jail for Dangerous Driving Causing Death?

        Taking a look at statistics since 2018, it is clear that jail is a real possibility. To illustrate this, 96% of offenders were sentenced to some form of imprisonment. 62% of offenders were sentenced to full-time jail. The remaining 4% of offenders received criminal convictions.

        As you can see, jail is very likely for an offence of this nature. That is why you need to engage Australia’s best lawyers for dangerous driving causing death.

      FAQ

      What is the difference between Dangerous driving and Reckless driving?

      Reckless driving has been defined as driving which creates a real risk of causing physical injury to another road user or damage to property more substantial than the kind of minor damage that may be caused by an error of judgment in the course of parking one’s car.

      Dangerous driving requires the prosecution must prove that you were:

      1. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
      2. driving the vehicle at a speedor in a manner that created a danger to other users of the road.

       

      An experienced traffic lawyer can sometimes negotiate with Police to have a charge of Dangerous driving withdrawn in lieu of you entering a plea of guilty to Reckless driving. This has significant advantages as the maximum penalty for Reckless driving is much lower than that for Dangerous Driving.

      Visit our page on Reckless driving for more information.

       

      What is the difference between Dangerous driving and Negligent driving?

      Negligent driving can be proved by the Police establishing that you failed to take proper care.

      Dangerous driving requires the prosecution must prove that you were:

      1. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
      2. driving the vehicle at a speedor in a manner that created a danger to other users of the road.

       

      Clearly, it is much easier for the prosecution to prove Negligent driving than it is to prove Dangerous Driving. An experienced traffic lawyer can sometimes negotiate with Police to have a charge of Dangerous driving withdrawn in lieu of you entering a plea of guilty to Negligent driving. This has significant advantages as the maximum penalty for Negligent driving is much lower than that for Dangerous Driving. Further, Negligent driving does not carry any licence disqualifications.

      Visit our page on Negligent driving for more information.

       

      Is speeding Dangerous driving?

      This depends on a number of factors including:

      1. the speed limit;
      2. how fast you were travelling;
      3. the weather conditions at the time;
      4. the level of traffic;
      5. the time of day;
      6. the condition of the road (eg. were there potholes, was it a dirt or gravel road);
      7. the nature of the road (eg. was it a single lane or multi-lane road; was the road straight or winding).

      Generally, speeding alone will not be sufficient to make out dangerous driving, unless you are driving more than 45km per hour over the speed limit.

      Ask a question now!