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Criminal Law Blog NSW

Everyday mistakes that could make you guilty of a Negligent or Dangerous Driving offence.

Have you ever failed to make way for a pedestrian? Or made a U-turn at a traffic light? These are minor driving errors that we are all guilty of at some stage of our driving careers. Unfortunately these minor driving mistakes can result in serious consequences.  Accidents happen quickly.

The consequences of your mistake

The consequences of a collision can be terrible. Motorcyclist or pedestrians inevitably come off second best.  The NSW Road Toll for 2017 exceeds previous years. It should be noted that the toll only records deaths; there are hundreds of people whose lives are forever changed as a result of road accidents. People are permanently injured or disfigured for life.

The victim and their families are not the only ones whose lives can change permanently. In most cases at least one person could be charged with negligent or even dangerous driving. Both are serious offences with serious penalties. Your life can also change permanently if you are convicted of Negligent or Dangerous driving.

What constitutes Dangerous driving?

Dangerous driving is a more serious offence. You can be guilty of this offence if you drive whilst affected by alcohol or drugs, driving at a dangerous speed, or simply driving in a manner that endangers other road users.

The last category can include many driving mistakes. Street racing, burnouts or driving into a crowd are obvious examples. However, it also includes less obvious errors like failing to give way to pedestrians, running a red light or making a U-turn at the traffic light. It could even include a situation where you failed to see a motorcyclist when merging lanes.

What are the penalties for Dangerous driving?

In NSW sentencing Magistrates and Judges must follow the guideline judgement which states that “a custodial sentence will usually be appropriate” when convicted of Dangerous Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm. This is the guideline even if you are an upstanding member of the community who has never been charged with a criminal offence before and you have a good traffic record.

Negligent driving penalties

If you are found guilty of a Negligent Driving offence you can be fined, stripped of demerit points and in some cases you will have to attend a court hearing. If a person suffered serious bodily injury or died as a result of your negligent driving, you will almost always be charged. You will have to attend court and face serious penalties. You could even face time in jail.

Upon conviction of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm or death, you will be disqualified for at least 12 months. Disqualification could be for as much as five years, depending on the circumstances.

Get legal advice

If your driving errors caused an accident, consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Any statement you make to the police can lead to you being charged with a serious offence. You can face licence disqualification and serious criminal pena

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.

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