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Despite being a traffic matter, dangerous driving is dealt with under the Criminal Code and is classified as a criminal offence. Dangerous driving can also attract significant fines, licence disqualification periods and jail time.
Get expert advice from Quinn & Scattini Lawyers’ Traffic Law Team.
Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is defined under section 328A of the Criminal Code as “a person who operates, or in any way interferes with the operation of, a vehicle dangerously in any place commits a misdemeanour”.
There are a number of different variations of the charge.
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle,
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle whilst adversely affected,
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm,
- dangerous driving causing GBH whilst adversely affected,
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, and
- dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death whilst adversely affected.
Dangerous driving also falls under Queensland’s anti-hooning legislation. Visit our dedicated webpage on hooning for more information.
What do the police have to prove?
The police are required to prove in court, beyond reasonable doubt, that a range of different factors.
The relevant factors that must be proven include:
- that you were in operation of the vehicle,
- the exact location of the offence, and
- that your driving was of a dangerous nature.
If charged with causing the grievous bodily harm, or death, the police must prove that it was your dangerous operation of the vehicle that caused the injuries, or death.
Being “momentarily distracted” is not a possible defence for a dangerous driving charge.
Defences to dangerous driving include:
- your driving was not dangerous,
- your driving was affected by the condition of the road,
- you were not the person driving at the time of the incident,
- you were off-road when the incident occurred, or
- your driving was a result of threat or emergency.
The penalty for dangerous driving offences with no aggravating factors is up to 200 penalty units or three years imprisonment. The penalty for dangerous driving offences with aggravating factors is up to 400 penalty units or five years imprisonment. If you are convicted of dangerous driving causing death or GBH, the penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment.
What are aggravating factors?
Aggravating factors result in higher penalties being applied.
Aggravating factors for dangerous driving offences include:
- being affected by alcohol or drugs at the time of the offence,
- excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful race,
- showing callous disregard to an injured or deceased person, and
- having previous convictions for dangerous driving.
Is there any way to keep my licence?
If you are convicted of dangerous driving, this will result in a loss of licence. Q&S’s expert traffic lawyers aim to secure the minimum period of licence disqualification, which is generally six months. Unfortunately, dangerous driving is not a charge that allows you to apply for a work licence or special hardship licence.
Will I get a criminal record from the charge?
Dangerous driving is considered a criminal offence. It will be at the court’s discretion whether they record a conviction for dangerous driving.
How we can help
Q&S’s traffic lawyers can expertly navigate the complexities of dangerous driving charges, explore all possible defences, ensure all required documentation is prepared in a timely manner, provide extensive support in the lead up to court appearances, respond to your questions in a timely manner, and provide reliable and professional representation in all court proceedings.
Why choose us?
You will be talking to a real expert, local to you. You will not be treated like a file number, but as a real person, and a person going through a difficult and stressful experience. Get expert advice, not just what you want to hear, in a language you can understand, not legal jargon.
Q&S’s expert traffic lawyers are available at any of Q&S’s seven local offices.
Get in touch!
Book a traffic law consultation, submit an online enquiry below or speak to an expert traffic lawyer on 1800 999 529.