What is “dangerous driving”?
The offence of “dangerous driving” is considered to be one of the most serious driving-related offences in our Queensland law.
“Dangerous driving” encompasses a wide range of conduct from excessive speeding to drag racing.
I’ve been charged with “dangerous driving”. What does this mean?
Section 328 of the Criminal Code (Qld) makes it a criminal offence to operate, or in any way interfere with the operation of a vehicle dangerously.
Unlike most driving-related offences in Queensland, dangerous driving is classified as a criminal rather than traffic offence.
Visit Dangerous Driving Offences for more information on the types of charges and what they mean.
What kind of penalty will I be given for this offence?
The maximum penalty for dangerous driving is 200 penalty units ($23,560) or 3 years imprisonment.
The legislation sets out circumstances in which a dangerous driving offence can become more serious. If this is the case then the maximum penalties increase to reflect this.
In the following circumstances the maximum penalty increases to 400 penalty units ($47,120) or 5 years imprisonment:
- at the time of committing the offence you are adversely affected by alcohol or another intoxicating substance; or
- at the time of committing the offence you were speeding or participating in a speed race (drag race); or
- been previously convicted of a dangerous driving offence.
While the legislation sets out the maximum penalties for offences, when deciding what penalty should be imposed in each individual case the court is required to take in to account your unique personal circumstances and criminal history. For more information on the things the court will consider when deciding a sentence see our sentencing page.
Where the dangerous driving results in another person sustaining grievous bodily harm or being killed the offence becomes far more serious and higher penalties will apply.
Where you are charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle you will be disqualified from having or obtaining a driver license for a minimum period of 6 months.
If you have been charged with “careless driving” the court has the option to disqualify you from driving if they consider it necessary.
Regardless of the circumstances of the offence, the court has the option to disqualify or suspend you from driving if they consider it necessary.
In some circumstances, where you have been convicted of a dangerous drive offence in the past the courts may impose a sentence of actual imprisonment.
If you are charged with dangerous driving and have been convicted of the same offence in the past we recommend that you get in contact with one of our criminal law specialists for specific advice about your penalty.
I’ve been charged with “careless driving”. What does this mean?
“Careless driving” is a less serious charge than dangerous driving under the Criminal Code (Qld). Unlike dangerous driving, the offence of careless driving is a traffic offence.
Section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 deals with this offence. It prohibits driving, on a road or elsewhere, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 200 penalty units ($23,560) or 6 months imprisonment. As mentioned above this maximum penalty is reserved for the most serious example of the offence and is rarely given.
What are the advantages of having a lawyer represent me on my “dangerous driving” or “careless driving” charge?
Both dangerous and careless driving are serious offences that can result in serious fines or lengthy imprisonment.
Our criminal lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with these offences and can ensure your matter is reviewed and presented to the court comprehensively and professionally at every stage.
Some of the other benefits of engaging Potts Lawyers to represent you in your dangerous driving matter include:
- Practical, timely advice at every stage of your matter about all of the options available to you.
- Professional analysis of all evidence relied on by the prosecution in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in the case against you.
- Extensive experience in negotiating with prosecution to minimise or downgrade charges when possible.
- The time, money and stress saved in not having to attend court for every procedural mention of your matter (if we represent you we can have your attendance excused from these court dates).
- Professionally drafted court documents that effectively highlight the strengths of your case.
- Experienced advocates who will make persuasive, relevant submissions to the court on your behalf to get you the best outcome possible.