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...

Menacing Driving


Menacing driving is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a road in a manner that menaces another person with the intention of menacing that other person, or drives a motor vehicle on a road in a manner that menaces another person if the person ought to have known that the other person might be menaced.

The maximum penalty depends on whether this is your first offence or if you are a repeat offender. It further depends on whether a person had the intention to menace or ought to have known that the other person might be menaced. In either case, the maximum sentence is a term of imprisonment and three-year disqualification. The offences are set out in section 118(1) and (2) of the Road Transport Act 2013.

Intent To Menace

Following the recording of a criminal conviction the maximum penalty for a first offender is imprisonment for 18 months, a fine of 30 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 3 years. The maximum penalty for a repeat offender is imprisonment for 2 years, a fine of 50 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 3 years.

Possibility To Menace

Following the recording of a criminal conviction the maximum penalty for a first offender is imprisonment for 12 months, a fine of 20 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 3 years. The maximum penalty for a repeat offender is imprisonment for 18 months, a fine of 30 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 3 years.

What Is A Repeat Offender?

A person is a repeat offender with respect to a driving offence if the person has, within the period of 5 years immediately preceding their conviction, been the subject of a conviction of a major offence.

What Is A Motor Vehicle?

A motor vehicle is defined in the Act as “a vehicle that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle”. It can be:

  • any description of vehicle on wheels (including a light rail vehicle) but not including any other vehicle used on a railway or tramway; or
  • any description of tracked vehicle (such as a bulldozer), or any description of vehicle that moves on revolving runners inside endless tracks, that is not used exclusively on a railway or tramway; or
  • any other description of vehicle prescribed by the statutory rules.

The Difference Between “Intent To Menace” And “Possibility To Menace”

The difference between these two charges is someone’s state of mind. For example, If someone drives a car directly at a person with the intent to scare them then that action falls within s118 (1). An example of s 118 (2) is braking extremely hard when someone is driving close behind. You may not have had the intention to menace the other driver, but one should have turned their mind to the possibility that their actions may have menaced the other driver.

Possible Defences

A defence for both s 118 (1) and (2) is set out in section 118 (4) of the Act which states:

“A person is not guilty of an offence against this section if the person could not, in the circumstances, reasonably avoid menacing the other person.”

A further defence is if there is no intent. This is relevant only to someone who is charged under s 118(1).

Is It Possible To Avoid A Criminal Record For A Menacing Drive Charge?

It may be possible to avoid a criminal record if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 non-conviction order.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

These charges will be heard in the Local Court.

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

WHERE TO NEXT?

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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