Dangerous driving of a motor vehicle is an offence that captures those hooning, to those displaying reckless and deliberately careless behaviour. In some cases, these actions can even result in death or grievous bodily harm. In Queensland, the offence is serious, and depending on the type of conviction, the penalties can range from fines to lengthy periods of imprisonment of up to 14 years.
Understanding dangerous driving
The Court will look at each individual case, the manner of the driving and the offender’s prior convictions and make a decision based on the facts. The Court looks closely at whether the driving was deliberately reckless, careless or whether it was momentary inattention or even whether the driver was doing his or her incompetent best.
The police can allege you for dangerous driving for something they say was inherently dangerous – such as running a red light. However, when determined by the Courts, they will further examine the situation such as the condition of the road and the vehicle, the amount of traffic, the level of intoxication of drugs or alcohol, and speed.
In essence, this offence relates to driving and causing potential harm or endangerment to the public. Some examples of dangerous driving could include:
- Being distracted driving and swerving into oncoming traffic
- Falling asleep at the wheel after choosing to drive even though you were sleep deprived
- Speeding excessively
- Engaging in a drag race at speed with another driver
All dangerous driving charges will be first heard in the Magistrates Court, with some being finalised in the District Court.
What are the penalties for driving dangerously?
The penalties for dangerous driving on Queensland roads are quite serious, and are examined and categorised into one of the following offences:
|Dangerous driving||200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment|
|Dangerous driving – While adversely affected; or while excessively speeding; or where previously convicted||400 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment.|
|Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death||10 years imprisonment.|
|Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death while adversely affected; or while excessively speeding; or where taking part in a race||14 years imprisonment.|
|Dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm or death where the offender leaves the scene.||14 years imprisonment.|
As a result of dangerous driving, an offender will lose their driver’s licence for at least 6 months. To reinforce the severity of the offence, a work or hardship licence will not be granted in situations of dangerous driving.
In addition to these penalties, dangerous driving is classified as a hooning offence. As a result, the vehicle can be impounded or immobilised for 90 days for first offences, and for repeat offences, the vehicle can be impounded and may be forfeited to the state.
For more information on dangerous driving and traffic offences
It is important for individuals who have been charged with dangerous driving to seek legal advice as soon as possible, especially before appearing before the Courts. Our team of qualified lawyers can assist to navigate the complexities of this offence to achieve the best possible outcome for you, and a minimal penalty.