Dangerous driving in Qld is one of the most serious traffic offences in the state. Not only is it a traffic offence, but it’s also a criminal offence, meaning you face serious consequences if convicted. We are going to look at what a dangerous driving offence is and what happens if you are charged.
What is Dangerous Driving?
Dangerous driving covers a wide range of offences. Under Section 328A of the Criminal Code 1899, dangerous driving, or dangerous operation of a motor vehicle is defined 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 additional circumstances that play into what you will be charged with which include.
- the nature, condition and use of the place;
- the nature and condition of the vehicle;
- the number of persons, vehicles or other objects that are, or might reasonably be expected to be, in the place;
- the concentration of alcohol in the operator’s blood or breath;
- the presence of any other substance in the operator’s body.
Dangerous driving is also a Type 1 Hooning offence. Hooning is the term commonly used to describe driving behaviour involving speeding, street racing, skidding, drifting and making unnecessary noise or smoke.
To be convicted of a dangerous driving offence it must be proved that you were either operating the vehicle or you interfered with someone who was and that your driving or interference was dangerous.
What Are the Penalties for Dangerous Driving?
The penalties for dangerous driving vary greatly, depending on what offence you have committed.
|1. Dangerous driving (misdemeanour)||200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment|
|2. Dangerous driving;
||400 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment.|
|3. Dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) or death.
|10 years imprisonment.|
|4. Dangerous driving causing GBH or death;
||14 years imprisonment.|
|5. Dangerous driving causing GBH or death where the offender leaves the scene.||14 years imprisonment.|
As you can see, a charge such as dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm is a much more serious offence than the misdemeanour charge of dangerous driving that has not caused death or grievous bodily harm. This has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. However, should this offence be aggravated by alcohol, an intoxicating substance, speeding, taking part in a race or leaving the scene of the incident, the maximum penalty increases to 14 years imprisonment.
The penalties for hooning vary depending on the type of offence. For example, driving dangerously is a maximum fine of $2669 (20 penalty units). When you commit the offence police can also impound, immobilise and confiscate your vehicle.
What Are the Defences for Dangerous Driving?
Your defence when charged with dangerous driving in Qld may include the following:
- There was an emergency or extreme circumstance. For example, a medical emergency;
- There were environmental factors;
- The accused was wrongly identified;
- The vehicle had defects;
- There were unsatisfactory or dangerous road conditions; and
- Duress – that is, being influenced to drive dangerously as a result of threat, violence, or pressure from another individual.
What Will Happen to Your Licence?
Depending on the circumstances of the charge and previous traffic history, your driver’s licence will be suspended for a minimum period of 6 months. You will not be able to obtain a work licence or special hardship licence.
Legal Representation for Dangerous Driving in Qld
Dangerous driving in Qld is treated very seriously. If you have been charged with this offence, we suggest you seek legal advice as early as possible. At Guest Lawyers, our team of highly experienced legal professionals deal with a number of serious traffic matters, and can help explain your charges, the legal options available to you, and can help improve your chances of minimising the severity of your penalty. Get in touch to speak to one of our traffic lawyers today.