Dangerous Driving at Speed
In Victoria, dangerous driving at speed carries a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment or a fine of 240 penalty units. If the vehicle was driven at a speed of 45 kilometres per hour or more in excess of the speed limit, the court must also disqualify the driver for a minimum period of 12 months. If the vehicle was not driven at a speed of 45 kilometres per hour or more in excess of the speed limit, the court must disqualify the driver for a minimum period of 6 months.
The offence of dangerous driving at speed is contained in section 64 of the Road Safety Act 1986 which states: “A person must not drive a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.”
What Constitutes A “Motor Vehicle”?
A motor vehicle is a vehicle that is used, or intended to be used, on a highway, and that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle. It does not include, amongst other things, trains, trams and motorised wheel-chairs used solely for the conveyance of an injured or disabled person.
A motorcycle, car, truck or bus would be considered a motor vehicle.
What Actions Might Constitute Dangerous Driving At Speed?
The following actions can form the basis of a charge of dangerous driving at speed in Victoria:
- driving at 70km/h in a 40km/h school zone;
- driving at 150km/h on a 110 km/h highway;
- driving at 100km/h in a residential area which causes a collision.
What The Police Must Prove
To find a person guilty of this offence, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the accused was driving a motor vehicle;
- they were driving at a speed which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
Possible defences to a charge of dangerous driving at speed are:
- Justifiable action – for example, it was an emergency and speeding was justified in order to get an injured person to hospital.
- Factual dispute – the accused does not admit the facts. This may be because they dispute that they were the person who was driving or they dispute the speed at which the vehicle was being driven.
- Voluntariness – the accused was not acting voluntarily and is therefor not criminally responsible.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
Dangerous Driving at Speed is a summary offence and will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.