Offences: Dangerous operation operation of a motor vehicle, whilst speeding pursuant to section 328A(1)& 2(b) of the Criminal Code
Court: Redcliffe Magistrates Court
Solicitor: Jack Bendall
Date: December 2021
Maximum Penalty: 5 years imprisonment
Our client was charged with an offence of dangerous operation of a vehicle, with an aggravating circumstance of speeding.
It was alleged that our client had crashed into the front yard of a residence, causing significant damage to the vehicle and property, and that our client was travelling approximately 80km/h higher than the speed limit.
The crash occurred on a narrow road situated in a highly populated built up area. The conditions at the time were wet and slippery.
Our client sought advice immediately after being charged. We provided advice to our client regarding the charge itself, the circumstances surrounding the offence and options available. We noted particular challenges our client may face were he to contest the charge.
We highlighted the serious nature of our client’s offending and identified a number of things our client could do to mitigate the penalty ultimately imposed by the court following a conviction. Specifically, these things included completion of the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (QTOP), obtaining character references and attending to restitution of the damaged vehicle and property.
Our client raised concerns regarding the potential impact of a recorded conviction on his criminal history, specifically in terms of his ability to visit family overseas.
Submissions at court
The prosecution informed the court of the facts, particularly highlighting the seriousness of the crash and the speed in which our client was driving.
Mr Bendall then made detailed submissions on our client’s behalf, noting relevant mitigating factors, including:-
- Our client’s personal background and current employment;
- That this was our client’s first offence;
- Our client’s cooperation with the police;
- Our client’s completion of the QTOP program;
- Our clients restitution since the offence, particularly for the owner of the vehicle, and of the property damaged as a result of the crash;
- The consequences of not having a driver licence;
- the impact of a recorded conviction; and
- Our client’s acceptance of responsibility for the offence, early plea of guilty and genuine remorse.
Mr Bendall ultimately submitted that the appropriate penalty in the circumstances was a fine and the mandatory minimum period of six months driver licence disqualification. Mr Bendall also urged the Court to exercise its discretion not to record a conviction for the offence, having regard to our client’s otherwise good character and potential impact on his ability to visit extended family overseas.
The Court noted that the conduct in question was particularly serious and indicated that custodial sentences have been imposed for similar conduct. At this point Mr Bendall indicated that imprisonment should be imposed only as a sentence of last resort, and that in light of our client’s lack of criminal and traffic history imprisonment was not appropriate.
The Court then noted that denunciation was a critical factor in our client’s sentence, that our client’s conduct constituted a danger to the public, and that our client could have received a custodial sentence.
The court’s decision
The Court ultimately imposed the following orders on our client:-
- Our client was fined the sum of $2,000.00;
- Our client was disqualified from driving for a period of 9 months; and
- No conviction was recorded.
This was an exceptional result in the circumstances, particularly considering offending of this nature has attracted custodial sentences in the past.
Why does this case study matter?
Like many cases, this was one that could have resulted in a custodial sentence or a far lengthier licence disqualification.
Anytime someone is dealing with a charge that could attract imprisonment, and someone decides they want to plead guilty, it is important to know that there are things that can be done by both you and your lawyer to mitigate the ultimate penalty. This is just one example.
This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.