Furious or Reckless Driving

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What is Furious or Reckless Driving ?

There are two offences which relate to furious driving, one in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and one in the Road Transport Act 2013(NSW). Police more commonly charge a person under the Road Transport Act 2013.

Case law/Jurisdiction

The offence under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is a Table 1 offence which means the offence will be finalised in the Local Court unless the prosecution or person charged elects to have the matter finalised in the District Court.

The offence under the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) is a Summary Offence which means that it must be finalised in the Local Court.

The Law

s 53 of the Crimes Act 1900 and states:

Whosoever, being at the time on horseback, or in charge of any carriage or other vehicle, by wanton or furious riding, or driving, or racing, or other misconduct, or by wilful neglect, does or causes to be done to any person any bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years.

s 117(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013

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.

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Furious or Reckless Driving offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

Our Traffic Lawyers Sydney (and elsewhere) always ensure the prosecution must prove each of the elements in the charge beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Furious or Reckless Driving.

To establish Furious or Reckless Driving, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt;

  • That you were driving a car; and
  • That you were doing so in a way which was furious, reckless or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public.

In respect of the offence under the Crimes Act 1900(NSW), the police must also prove that you caused bodily harm.

If you are charged with the offence of Furious or Reckless Driving what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Furious or Reckless Driving charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements of Furious or Reckless Driving. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions Furious or Reckless Driving.

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Furious or Reckless Driving;

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Pleading Guilty

If you agree that you have committed the offence and the police are able to prove all the elements of the offence, it is best to plead guilty at an early opportunity to receive the maximum discount. Currently the maximum discount available for an early plea of guilty is 25% of the sentence.

Furthermore, the early guilty plea shows the Court that you have remorse and contrition for your actions.

Our Lawyers at National Criminal Lawyers work closely with you to ensure that we obtain all necessary paper work at increasing the chances of obtaining a non-conviction or section 10.

Maximum Penalties

Under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) the maximum penalty for this offence is two years imprisonment.

Under the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) the maximum penalty for a first offence is 9 months imprisonment. There is also an automatic period of disqualification of 3 years with a minimum period of disqualification of 6 months.

If the offence is classified as a second offence the maximum penalty increases. An offence is classified as a second offence if the person has been convicted of a major traffic offence (such as a drink driving offence or drive while suspended offence) within the previous five years. The maximum penalty for a second offence is 2 years imprisonment. There is also an automatic period of disqualification of 5 years with a minimum period of disqualification of 2 years.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending and are unlikely to be the penalty you receive.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty you will need to prepare to go to a Defended Hearing.

A defended hearing is where all the witnesses of that case are called to give evidence. The witnesses are both examined by the prosecution and tested by your defence lawyers.

National Criminal Lawyers have defended thousands of people charged with Furious or Reckless Driving and are experts at these hearings.

Defences

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Furious or Reckless Driving can include;

    • To argue that you were not driving the car;
    • To argue that the way in which you were driving the car was not furious or reckless;
    • To argue that the way in which you were driving the car was not in such a speed or manner which was dangerous to the public;
    • If you were compelled to act in a certain way due to the circumstances, or the threats of another you may be able to argue “Duress”;
    • If your actions were necessary to prevent a greater harm from occurring, you may have the defence of “Necessity”;
    • If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of Self-Defence; Or
    • In respect of the offence under the Crimes Act 1900, to argue that you did not cause bodily harm.

Statistics

The Courts are not bound by statistics however there must be reasonable consistency in sentences. A Magistrate or Judge should have regard to what has been done in other cases. In Green [2011] HCA 45, the plurity judgement of French CJ, Kiefel and Creennan JJ stated:

“Equal Justice” embodies the norm expressed in the terms “equality before the law”. It is an aspect of the rule of law.

For Furious or Reckless Driving (first offence) 32% of offenders received a s9 good behaviour bond whereas 32% received a fine.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Furious or Reckless Driving charge.

  • Prison sentence;
  • Home Detention;
  • Intensive correction order (previously periodic detention);
  • Suspended sentence;
  • Community service order (CSO);
  • Good behaviour bond;
  • Fine; and/or
  • Section 10.

However, from the 24 September 2018 new penalty’s will be replacing the above. They are as follows:

  • Full time Imprisonment;
  • New ICO (ICO) with a home detention condition available;
  • New Community Correction Order (CCO);
  • Fine and/or
  • New Conditional release Order (CRO)

Case Studies

Our client was charged with a driving offence. He did not have a good traffic record but needed to obtain his licence to commence an employment that he was waiting to undertake. We advised the client to attend the Traffic Offenders Programme so that submissions could be made that, as a young driver, he would now be better educated when returning to the roads. We rightly advised the client that escaping the charge without a conviction and without being disqualified was the least likely result. The client successfully completed the Traffic Offenders Programme and some material was tendered to the Court with respect to the client’s subjective circumstances. Strong submissions were made on the client’s behalf and His Honour dismissed the charge pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999(NSW) without recording a conviction and placed the client on a good behaviour bond.

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. We get the results

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any Furious or Reckless Driving offence our Team at National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

Book your first free appointment with National Criminal lawyers now.
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