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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...

Dangerous Driving Causing Grievous Bodily Harm


The maximum penalty for the offence of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm is 7 years imprisonment. If the offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty increases to 11 years.

What is grievous bodily harm?

The courts have defined grievous bodily harm to mean a really serious injury. This may be a broken bone, serious burns or permanent disability or disfigurement.

What is dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm?

Section 52A(iii) of the Crimes Act 1900 states:

A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm if the vehicle driven by the person is involved in an impact occasioning grievous bodily harm to 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,

  • at a speed dangerous to another person or persons,

  • in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.

What the police must prove – dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm

In order for the police to prove their case at court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. Grievous bodily harm was occasioned to a 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 driving.

Possible defences to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm

Section 52A(iii) of the Crimes Act makes it a defence to this offence if grievous bodily harm 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.

Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm if the person commits the offence of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm while:

  • They have a BAC of above the legal limit;
  • They are affected by a drug or a combination or drugs;
  • They are speeding by more than 45kmph;
  • They are driving to avoid police pursuit.

Jurisdiction

This matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

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

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