Traffic Law

Negligent Driving - Charges and Penalties

There are three levels of negligent driving NSW offences that the police may charge a driver with - negligent driving; negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm; and negligent driving causing death. Penalties can range from fines, disqualification periods and imprisonment depending on what type of negligent driving offence you have been charged with. 

What the Court must take into account in assessing the likely penalty for negligent driving is the degree of negligence and, where relevant, the type and extent of any injuries sustained by anyone as a result of the negligence.

Our Traffic Law and Drink Driving Lawyers Sydney and NSW are experienced in negligent driving cases. We carefully analyse your case and advise you not only what penalties to expect if pleading guilty, but also if you can defend your matter (and therefore be found "not guilty") or have the charge reduced to a lesser offence.

Negligent Driving

This is the least serious negligent driving offence. A typical scenario where one is alleged to have committed the offence of negligent driving is where the police form the view that the driver was at fault in a collision. Due to incurring demerit points for this offence, some drivers may also be facing a licence suspension. It is possible to defend a negligent driving charge, and thus be found not guilty of the offence (and thus no points are taken from your licence).

Most negligent driving offences are dealt with by way of a traffic infringement notice, incurring a moderate fine and demerit points, only. However, if the matter is heard before a Court, upon a finding of guilty, the Court can impose a fine of up to $1,100 and also has the discretion to disqualify the driver for a period determined by the Court.

The matter can be heard before a Court if the driver takes the option to do so, either to seek leniency or, to defend the allegation. However, sometimes, the police charge drivers with the offence and commence the matter by way of a Court Attendance Notice, which means that the driver therefore does not have any other option but to appear before the Court in answer to the charge. As noted above, once the matter is before the Court, there is always a chance that the Court will disqualify the driver, especially if the Court forms the view that the degree of negligence is high and/or there was some injury to a person as the result of the negligence.

Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

This offence is committed where a driver is alleged to have been negligent and, as a result of the driver's negligence, grievous bodily harm has been caused to another person. The penalties for this offence can be severe and include possible terms of imprisonment. Even for a first time offender, the most likely result is a criminal conviction. Upon conviction, just like for most drink driving offences, a licence disqualification is mandatory.

It can be sometimes argued whether the injuries do in fact amount to grievous bodily harm and, if so, whether the injuries were in fact caused by the driver's negligence. It is important to seek legal advice if charged with this offence, to determine whether the allegation can be successfully defended. 

The penalties for negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm are as follows:  


Penalties

First Offence

Second or Subsequent Offence

Maximum court imposed fine

$2,200

$3,300

Maximum gaol term

9 months

12 months

Minimum disqualification

12 months

2 years

Maximum disqualification

Unlimited

Unlimited

Disqualification in the absence of a specific court order (automatic period)

3 years

5 years

 

Negligent Driving Occasioning Death

Upon conviction for negligent driving occasioning death, a Court will seriously consider some form of imprisonment as a penalty. As with the charge of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, the Court will take into account, among other things, the degree of negligence. This is a serious offence that attracts severe penalties and it is important to seek legal advice and representation if charged.

The penalties for negligent driving causing death are as follows:  

 

Penalties

First Offence

Second or Subsequent Offence

Maximum court imposed fine

$3,300

$5,500

Maximum gaol term

18 months

2 years

Minimum disqualification

12 months

2 years

Maximum disqualification

Unlimited

Unlimited

Disqualification in the absence of a specific court order (automatic period)

3 years

5 years


If you are charged with any form of negligent driving NSW lawyers with special expertise in Traffic Law are required for proper legal representation before a NSW Court. Contact us to make an appointment with one of our traffic lawyers at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices located in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland and Wollongong.

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