The offence of driving in a manner or speed dangerous is a criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment. There is also an automatic disqualification from driving of 3 years.
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The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 and /or imprisonment for 9 months.
If the offence is a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalties increase to a fine of $3,300 and / or imprisonment for 12 months.
A second or subsequent offence means that you have either been convicted of a previous offence of driving in a manner dangerous within the past 5 years, or another earlier “major offence”, for example drink driving, in the past 5 years. Click here for a list of some of the offences constituting a Major Offence: MAJOR OFFENCE.
If the offence is the third major offence in the past 5 years, a conviction could mean that the RTA will declare you an Habitual Traffic Offender and impose an additional 5 year disqualification on top of any disqualification a court orders. Click here for more information on Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations: HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDER DECLARATION.
The offence carries an automatic disqualification upon conviction of 3 years (and 5 years for a second or subsequent offence). Upon conviction, the minimum disqualification the court can impose is 12 months.
The only way to avoid a disqualification after being found guilty, or pleading guilty, is if the court deals with your matter by way of non-conviction. As with any offence, even after a finding of guilt a court can still decide not to record a conviction under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. For more information on avoiding a criminal conviction click here.
What is “MANNER DANGEROUS”
The question as to whether someone was driving in a manner dangerous focuses on the potential danger, rather than whether the actual danger was realised or not. R v Hain (1966) 85 WN (Pt 1) (NSW). This means that there is no need for the prosecution to show actual injury or harm. The way in which the driving was conducted, if it caused the potential of danger to the public, is sufficient.
The test is an objective one and “the public” can include all those on or in the vicinity of the road.
What is “SPEED DANGEROUS”
Similarly, the concept of speed dangerous does not require actual danger to be proved. The fact that danger was likely is sufficient.
All of the circumstances, including the time of day as well as the type of road will be relevant. A particular speed on one road at a particular time of day may not constitute “speed dangerous” on another road at another time of day.
The offence of drive in a manner/speed dangerous is usually charged with other offences. As it carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment, the offence is one of the more serious traffic related criminal offences.
Some of the additional factors the court will consider when sentencing you include:
- The degree of potential danger to the public
- Your traffic record
- Whether you have been convicted of any other offences, and what those offences are
- Your remorse and contrition, and attendance at the Traffic Offenders Program
The range of possible sentence can include a fine, community service or some form of custody including full-time imprisonment. Click here for more information on sentencing options: SENTENCING OPTIONS.
Will the court take into account my need for a licence?
Your need for a licence is a relevant factor in the sentencing process, and if you will suffer hardship you should be in a position to provide evidence to the court proving that hardship. The court is also required to take into account the need to deter other members of the community from committing the same offence, and in many cases, the need to deter individual offenders from committing the same offence again.
Each offender will be sentenced in accordance with all of their relevant circumstances.
For detailed advice about your matter, contact one of our traffic law specialists for a free initial consultation.