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Dangerous Driving Causing Death or GBH

Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, commonly called dangerous driving, causing death or grievous bodily harm is a very serious criminal offence in Queensland. If you are found guilty of dangerous driving, your licence will be disqualified for a minimum of 6 months in addition to any other penalty that is imposed.

Subsection 328A(4) of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 creates the offence and states: “A person who operates, or in any way interferes with the operation of, a vehicle dangerously in any place and causes the death of or grievous bodily harm to another person commits a crime…”

On conviction, an offender is liable to 10 years imprisonment. If the person was intoxicated, excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful race or speed trial at the time of committing the offence, the prison term increases to 14 years. If the offender leaves the scene, knowing that a person has been killed or injured, before police arrive, the prison term also increases to 14 years.

What Police Must Prove

In order for you to be convicted of an offence of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, the police must prove that:

  • you were driving a motor vehicle, or you interfered with someone who was; and
  • your driving, or interference, was dangerous; and
  • as a result of your driving or interference, another person was killed or suffered grievous bodily harm.

What Might Constitute Aggravated Dangerous Driving?

Police can allege that you were driving dangerously because of something which they say is inherently dangerous, for example running a red light, or they can argue that your driving was dangerous because of something particular about the circumstances surrounding your driving, for example driving a seriously defective vehicle.

In determining whether or not you were driving dangerously, the court must take into account the condition of the road and amount of traffic that would be expected to be on that road at that time. The presence of alcohol or another intoxicating substance in your system might also give rise to an allegation that you were driving dangerously, simply by reason of your level of intoxication.

It is highly likely that, if the police allege your driving was dangerous because of the speed at which you were travelling or your level of intoxication, they will charge you with an aggravated offence of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm.

Aggravated Offences

If you commit the offence of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm and you are, at the time, speeding, intoxicated or participating in an unlawful street race, the offence becomes an aggravated offence. This is also the case if you leave the scene of the incident before police arrive.

The matters which the police must prove to substantiate either of these aggravated offences are the same as for dangerous driving itself (i.e. that you were driving and your driving was dangerous) but they must also prove the aggravating facts as well.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, including the aggravated offences, will be herd in the District Court.

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

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

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...

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