A lady driver, turning right on an intersection struck a pedestrian who was crossing the same intersection. The pedestrian died as a result of being struck and the driver was charged with negligent driving causing death, a serious traffic offense.
The penalty for this criminal charge is imprisonment for a maximum term of eighteen months, a fine of $3,300 and automatic disqualification from driving for up to three years. The lady driver was sentenced to ten months and fifteen days imprisonment but because of possible hardship to third parties she was sentenced to serve out the prison term through home detention.
The Court held that death of the victim is an aggravating circumstance that elevates the penalty for the offense to the maximum.
A holder of a driver’s license has to exercise reasonable prudence. Drivers must have proper regard for the presence or potential presence of pedestrians that might be at risk of collision or injury. The Court held that there is no other reasonable explanation for the lady driver striking the pedestrian other than that she did not keep a proper look out.
In sentencing the lady driver, the Court took into consideration that the lady driver is 35 years old and she has held a driver’s license for fifteen years. Her driving record is almost exemplary seeing that she has only one violation recorded against her and this was for speeding in 2002. From this, the Court deduced that the lady driver is of good moral character and that she is capable of learning from this mistake.
The Court took special note of the fact that the lady driver is a divorced single mother of two children and her son is severely retarded. She is the only person who daily cares for her son. Sentencing her to serve the penalty of imprisonment in prison would cause untold hardship to her son. Thus, the Court ordered an evaluation of the feasibility of serving out her penalty in home detention. She was sentenced to a disqualification from driving for three years.
Should you or a loved one be facing similar charges of negligent driving causing death which is a serious traffic offense, you need to contact an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you present your legal defense.
Director of Public Prosecutions v Victoria BHANDARI  NSWLC 7 . New South Wales Case Law [online].
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.