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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...

Reckless Driving


The offence of Reckless Driving is committed when a person drives their vehicle in a way that is considered by the court to be reckless. The offence of is contained in s117(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 and states:

“A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road furiously, recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public.”

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units or imprisonment for 9 months or both (in the case of a first offence) or 30 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months or both (in the case of a second or subsequent offence).

What Actions Might Constitute Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving has been defined as driving in such a way so as “to create a real risk of causing physical injury to someone else who happens to be using the road or damage to property more substantial than the kind of minor damage that may be caused by an error of judgment in the course of parking one’s car”. (R v Lawrence [1982] AC 510).

This might include, for example:

  • overtaking at speed whilst approaching a blind rise;
  • drifting over the centre of the road while rounding a corner;
  • doing a burnout in the middle of a busy intersection.

What The Police Must Prove

To convict you of Reckless Driving, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • you drove a motor vehicle;
  • you drove that motor vehicle on a road;
  • you drove that motor vehicle recklessly.

Possible Defences

There are several possible defences, including:

  • to maintain your innocence if you did not commit the act;
  • to argue that you were not driving a motor vehicle;
  • to argue that you were not driving recklessly; or
  • to raise necessity or duress as the reason for your conduct.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence is a summary offence and can be finalised in the Local Court only.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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