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Traffic Law » Negligent Driving » Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm

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Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm

It is an offence under section 117 of the Roads Transport Act 2013 (NSW) to negligently drive a motor vehicle. If the negligent driving results in grievous bodily harm, the penalties for this offence are more serious.

‘Grievous bodily harm’ includes any permanent or serious disfigurement.

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    First Offence:

    Maximum Penalty Minimum

    Licence Disqualification

    Automatic Licence Disqualification
    Caused grievous bodily harm $2,200 and/or imprisonment for 9 months 12 months 3 years

    Second or subsequent offence:

    Maximum Penalty Minimum

    Licence Disqualification

    Automatic Licence Disqualification
    Caused grievous bodily harm $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 12 months 2 years 5 years

    During sentencing the court will have regard to:

    • The nature, condition and use of the road
    • The traffic at the time or as would reasonably be excepted
    • Obstructions or hazards on the road

    What is a “second or subsequent offence”?

    A second or subsequent offence means that the offender has either been convicted of a previous offence of negligent driving within the past 5 years, or another earlier “major offence”, for example drink driving, in the past 5 years.

    Will I Lose My Licence?

    Upon conviction, your licence will be disqualified. There is no discretion for the magistrate to impose a period of disqualification less than the minimum period.

    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, however given the seriousness of the injury incurred is a relevant outcome and may result in the court recording a conviction.

    Should the court convict and disqualify you, the disqualification will commence at the time of conviction unless the court orders that it begins on a later day specified by the court.

    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 those who will suffer hardship should be in a position to provide evidence to the court proving that hardship. However, this will need to be weighed against the seriousness of the charge, which will be an important factor for the court to consider.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.


    Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may be a defence for duress or self-defence.

    For more about these defences, see our page on Defences.

    For detailed advice about your matter, contact one of our traffic law specialists for a free initial consultation.