Predatory Driving

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What is Predatory Driving ?

Predatory driving in NSW is when the driver of a vehicle pursues another vehicle in order to cause an impact between the two vehicles. The driver must intend to cause a person in the other vehicle physical harm. Predatory driving occurs even if there is only the threat of a collision between the two vehicles but they do not actually collide.

Jurisdiction

An offence of Predatory Driving is what is known as a “Table 1” offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is it is to be dealt with on indictment by the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The Law

Section 51A of The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states:

The driver of a vehicle who, while in pursuit of or travelling near another vehicle: (a) engages in a course of conduct that causes or threatens an impact involving the other vehicle, and (b) intends by that course of conduct to cause a person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm, is guilty of an offence

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Predatory Driving offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution.

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 Predatory Driving.

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

  • Threat of impact;
  • Intent to cause harm; and
  • that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

If you are charged with the offence of Predatory Driving what are your options?

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

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Predatory 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negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;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

For offenders of Predatory Driving the maximum penalty if heard in the Local Court is 2 years. If the matter is heard in the District Court the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 5 years.

Please note that the penalties mentioned are reserved for the worse case offending.

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 Predatory Driving and are experts at these hearings.

Defences

Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Predatory Driving can include;

  • 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”; Or
  • If you were defending yourself or another OR yours or another’s property you may have a Defence of  Self-Defence.

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 Predatory Driving 48% of offenders received full time imprisonment whereas 22% received a suspended sentence.

Possible Penalty's

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for a Predatory 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 predatory 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. Our client was represented by our experienced Traffic Lawyers Sydney who 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.

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 Predatory 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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