What is Negligent Driving?
There are three types of Negligent Driving offences:
1. Negligent Driving;
2. Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH);
3. Negligent Driving Occasioning Death
Section 117(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)
Negligent Driving is an offence committed when you are caught driving a vehicle on a public road in a manner that the Court considers negligent.
Negligent driving is defined as driving a motor vehicle in a manner that is considered below the reasonable standard of care expected of the ordinary prudent driver in the circumstances.
The Court must consider whether the driver was exercising that degree of care which the ordinary prudent driver would exercise in all the circumstances.
For the offence to be established, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that:
1. You drove a motor vehicle on a public road;
2. In a manner contrary to the reasonable standard of care expected of an ordinarily prudent driver.
To determine whether a person drove negligently, the Court must consider all the circumstances, including:
1. The condition of the road at the time of the offence;
2. The amount of traffic at the time of the offence or the amount of traffic which might be expected to be at the time of the offence; and
3. Any obstructions or hazards on the road (for example, broken down or crashed vehicles, fallen loads and accident or emergency scenes).
Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm occurs when you have driven negligently (as defined above). However, someone suffers from GBH as a result of your negligent driving. GBH is defined as any “permanent or serious disfigurement” (section 117(4)).
Negligent Driving Occasioning Death occurs when you have drive negligently (as defined above). However, someone dies as a result of your negligent driving.
How serious are Negligent Driving Offences?
In NSW, Negligent Driving offences are taken very seriously by the Court because of the danger and/or harm it poses to members of the public.
What are the Penalties for Negligent Driving Offences?
An offence of Negligent Driving carries a maximum fine of $1,100.00. Despite the maximum penalties, negligent driving that does not result in GBH or a person’s death is often dealt with by way of a Traffic Infringement Notice, a fine and demerit points.
An offence of Negligent Driving Occasioning GBH carries a maximum fine of $2,200.00 or imprisonment of 9 months or both for the first offence. If it is not the first time you have committed this offence, then the maximum fine is $3,300.00 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.
An offence of Negligent Driving Occasioning Death carries a maximum fine of $3,300.00 or imprisonment for 18 months or both. If it is not the first time you have committed this offence, then the maximum fine is $5,500.00 or imprisonment for 2 years or both.
Will I lose my licence?
In Negligent Driving cases, the Court has the discretionary power to disqualify a negligent driver for a certain amount of time.
Negligent Driving Occasioning GBH or Death are considered “major offences” under the Road Transport Act. Therefore, they carry an Automatic Disqualification period.
The Automatic Disqualification period for a first-time offence is for 3 years. If it is a second or subsequent offence, then the Automatic Disqualification period is for 5 years. The Court has the discretionary power to reduce the Disqualification period depending on the circumstances.
Other Sentencing Options
Other sentencing options include:
1. Section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW):
You are found guilty, but the charges are dismissed, no conviction is recorded.
2. Section 9 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW):
Good Behaviour Bond
3. Section 12 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW):
4. Community Service Order
5. Intensive Correction Order (ICO)
Can I plead “not guilty” to Negligent Driving?
There are several possible defences to Negligent Driving offences, including:
This occurs when you are threatened or pressured into driving in a negligent manner.
This occurs when you drive in a negligent manner because you are responding to an emergency, danger or threat.
3. Reasonable mistake of fact:
This occurs when you drive in a negligent manner as a result of having made a reasonable and honest mistake. In other words, you did not realise that what you were doing was wrong or illegal.
We are here to help
Our solicitors specialise in Negligent Driving matters and represent clients in Courts throughout the Central Coast and Hunter Regions. We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the court process from beginning to end to get you the best possible outcome.
If a section 10 is not possible, our Traffic Law experts can help reduce suspension periods, minimise any fines you may face and help you avoid or minimise a gaol term.
If you or your loved one has been charged with dangerous driving and you need advice from a criminal lawyer, contact one of our criminal law specialists immediately on 1300 529 444 or fill in our contact form to arrange a free conference with a solicitor today. Contact us now! 24-hour legal advice 7 days a week
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Very Helpful, Very Organized approach in defending you in court, Fourtree Lawyers are the company to chose if you want all the confusion and stress to be explained to you and for you in regard to facing court, these people are the Answer.
I’d like to thank Kevin and Jane for meeting me on the weekend and saving me a trip to the central coast (without a licence). I’d also like to thank Paul Popescu for doing a fantastic job representing me on a serious driving charge, he gave me clear instructions on what I needed to do and he was spot on, I received the best possible sentence. I would highly recommend Fourtree Lawyers, they travel all over NSW.
We found Fourtree Lawyers on Google after hours. I called on a Sunday and got some good advice. So went in to meet Kevin on the Monday. The outcome was a section 10(1)(b). We were so pleased and relieved. Thank so much to Kevin and Jane!! Would definitely recommend Fourtree Lawyers! Worth every cent! – JM Terrigal
I was recommend to Fourtree Lawyers from a friend whom also experienced a serious driving infringement. My situation was slightly more serious, being charged with drive while suspended, shared with a reasonably extensive driving record, meant my chances of driving home were minimal. Kevin’s realistic and knowledgeable approach not only prepared & educated me upon all possible verdicts, but also supported me with all possible optimistic outcomes. Kevin’s extensive knowledge of the legal system, combined with the understanding of the Judges expectations, and vast life experience resulted with an outstanding result,...
CCO – 12 months & CRO – 6 months| Negligent driving, drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous, Possess prohibited drug | Wyong Local Court
Our client is a 22-year-old female who lives on the Central Coast and works as a florist.
Our client was seen swerving in and out of a single lane of traffic in heavy traffic and was charged with three driving offences. On the Police facts, other drivers feared a head-on collision because of our client’s erratic driving. On our client being pulled over, Police inspected the vehicle and seized a box containing cannabis. Our client was charged with drug possession, negligent driving and driving recklessly/furiously. The maximum penalties for these offences range from 9 months imprisonment and a $2200 fine.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made successful representations to Police to have the reckless driving charge withdrawn. Submissions highlighted our client’s recent mental health diagnosis and outlined the plan for ongoing management. The Magistrate sentenced our client to a 12-month CCO and disqualified our client’s driver’s licence for 12 months. A 6-month CRO was applied to our client’s drug possession charge.
Our client was terrified that she may get a custodial sentence and was very pleased with the result.
Negligent Driving | Conditional Release Order without Conviction | Wyong Local Court
Our client is a 20-year-old female who has no previous record and is currently on her Provisional 1 (Red P’s) Licence.
Our client was driving and as she was making a right turn, her car has left the road and made contact with a tree on the driver’s side door.
Our client then called her boss, who took her to Wyong Hospital, where she was admitted. The Police attended the scene and towed the vehicle. They then attended Wyong Hospital, where they spoke to our client.
The Police received results of a blood test that came back negative for any substances and at the time of the incident, the sealed bitumen road was wet with no street lighting. After the event, our client was charged with Negligent Driving (no death or grievous bodily harm).
Our client called us a week before her court date. The offence carries the maximum penalty of a $1,100 fine and an automatic loss of 3 demerit points.
Our client had entered a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity. Our Solicitor attended Wyong Local Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. The court sentenced her to a Conditional Release Order without proceeding to conviction for a period of 6 months.
Our client was thrilled with the results and the avoidance of a criminal conviction on her record.
Use Mobile Phone while driving | s.10 (1)(a) | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 71-year-old male who resides on the Central Coast
Our client was driving home from the hospital his wife was admitted to when he received a phone call from the hospital regarding his wife’s condition. He had not previously spoken to a doctor as the hospital was short-staffed due to it being the Easter long weekend and he was quite distressed. Our client mentioned to the doctor to phone him back during the brief call as he was driving.
Our client acknowledged taking the call was an offence and pled guilty at the earliest opportunity as advised by solicitor Denise McCarthy.
The maximum penalty this offence carries is a fine of $362 or $481 if detected in a school zone, and 5 demerit points off your license.
At court, Denise McCarthy submitted our client’s affidavit detailing his version of events, a statement from the doctor and proof of the phone call from the hospital, as well as our client’s certificate of completion of the Safe Traffic Program.
The Magistrate accepted the submissions and dismissed the charges under Section 10 (1)(a).
Our client was extremely pleased with this result.
I Highly recommend Fourtree Lawyers they were very helpful and supportive throughout my ordeal. I had never been in trouble with the law before until I had an accident and was being charged with a serious charge. Jane and Kevin were amazing throughout this stressful time, they were very informative and quick to answer my calls and emails with any questions I had. Jane and Kevin went above and beyond to help me and they were able to get me the best possible outcome I am forever grateful !