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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Conduct Endangering Life


It is an offence in Victoria to recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment. The offence of conduct endangering life is contained in Section 22 of the Crimes Act 1958.

What Actions Might Constitute Conduct Endangering Life

A person may be charged with conduct endangering life based on an allegation that they:

  • Pointing a loaded firearm at another person;
  • Drove at very high speeds with passengers;
  • Held open train doors whilst the train was moving.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict a person of this offence, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • They engaged in conduct;
  • That conduct placed a person in danger (ie conduct that carried with it an appreciable risk) of death;
  • They engaged in that conduct voluntarily;
  • A reasonable person in their position, engaging in the same conduct in which you engaged in and in the same circumstances, would have realised that they had placed another in danger of death; and,
  • They engaged in that conduct recklessly in so far as they could have foreseen that placing another person in danger of death was a probable consequence of their actions in all the circumstances.

Threats are not Enough for conduct endangering life

A threat is not enough to prove a charge of conduct endangering life. Even if a person has taken steps to prepare to commit conduct endangering life, they cannot be found guilty of this offence if they haven’t engaged in the conduct yet.

Which Court Will Hear a Matter of conduct endangering life?

So long as the accused consents, the charge will generally be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. If there are other more serious charges or if the accused does not consent to the Magistrates’ Court hearing the matter, the matter can be committed to the County Court of Victoria.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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