Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death


The maximum penalty for the offence of dangerous driving causing death is 10 years imprisonment. If the offence is aggravated the maximum penalty is 14 years gaol.

What court is likely to hear the matter

This matter is strictly indictable and can only be dealt with in the District Court before a judge. (An indictable offence is a serious offence which is usually tried before a judge and jury)

Aggravated dangerous driving causing death

A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death if the person commits the offence of dangerous driving occasioning death in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

What the police must prove -Dangerous driving causing death

In order for the police to prove the offence of dangerous driving causing death, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • 1. Death was occasioned to any person.
  • 2. Through any of the following:
    • The vehicle overturning or leaving a road while the person is being conveyed in or on that vehicle;
    • An impact between any object and the vehicle while the person is being conveyed in or on that vehicle;
    • An impact between the person and the vehicle;
    • The impact of the vehicle with another vehicle or an object in, on or near which a person is at the time of the impact;
    • An impact with anything on or attached to the vehicle;
    • An impact with anything that is in motion through falling from the vehicle; and
    • At the time the vehicle was driven by the accused either under the influence or intoxicating liquor, under the influence of a drug, at a speed dangerous to another person, or in a manner dangerous to another person.

It will be necessary for the police to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

Possible defences – Dangerous driving causing death

The Crimes Act provides a defence to the offence. Section 52A Crimes Act states:

It is a defence to any charge under this section if the death occasioned by the impact was not in any way attributable:

  • To the fact that the person charged was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug or a combination of drugs, or
  • To the speed at which the vehicle was driven, or
  • To the manner in which the vehicle was driven.

Other possible, though less common, defences to this offence are:

  • That the accused was acting under duress
  • That the offence was committed in circumstances of necessity

Dangerous driving causing death

Section 52A (1) Crimes Act states a person is guilty of the offence of dangerous driving occasioning death if the vehicle driven by the person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of another person and the driver was, at the time of the impact, driving the vehicle:

  • Under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
  • At a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
  • In a manner dangerous to another person or persons.

A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

WHERE TO NEXT?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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