Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death – s 52A(2) Crimes Act 1900

Section 52A(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) creates an offence, in ‘circumstances of aggravation’ to drive your vehicle if it’s involved in an impact causing death to the victim, if at the time you were driving:

  1. You were under the influence of alcohol or drug; or
  2. You were at a speed dangerous to another person; or
  3. You were driving in a manner dangerous to another person

Your Options in Court

You will be found not guilty by the court if the police are unable to prove any one of the following elements of the offence:

  • Your vehicle was involved in an impact which caused death to the victim
  • You were, at time of driving, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving in a manner dangerous, or at a speed dangerous to another person.
  • There were circumstances of aggravation at time of impact. See the definition of this below.

What is an aggravating circumstance?

Any one or more of the following amount to an aggravating circumstance:

  • You were speeding over 45km/h of the speed limit
  • You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at time of driving
  • You were in a police pursuit at the time (sky’s law)

Defences to this charge

You will be not guilty if the following apply to you:

  • Your vehicle had a mechanical defect that caused a loss of control. We have the best mechanical experts to inspect and provide us with a report to prove your innocence.
  • You were not the driver of the vehicle. This is an issue of identification.
  • Your actions in the management of your vehicle did not constitute danger to the public.
  • You were not speeding
  • You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at time of impact.
  • You were acting in duress and necessity

As experienced expert traffic defence lawyers, we are extremely well versed in the law of aggravated dangerous driving causing death. We have hand selected a few of the absolute best pharmacologist & accident reconstruction experts in all of Australia who are highly respected by the courts to form part of our team to assist your case in getting the best result to proving your innocence.

Focus on getting charges dropped

Our focus is first to get your charge either dropped or downgraded to a less serious charge before it even reaches a defended hearing in court. This saves you both time and costs. We have achieved this on countless occasions, and do so time and time again. Our success in achieving this is in the way we approach the case from the very start. Our team will fight your charges relentlessly from start to finish to ensure you get the best possible result.

If pleading guilty, it’s important that you speak to a highly experienced expert traffic lawyer as early as possible to make sure you maximise your chances at getting the most lenient outcome to your case. The following is a guide on how to prepare and achieve this if pleading guilty to aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death.

25% discount on punishment

The Judge can give you a discount of up to 25% allowing a more lenient punishment if you plead guilty at an early stage of your case. An early plea of guilty is also seen as an expression of your remorse and saving significant court time attracting a discount on your punishment. The earlier you plead guilty, the greater the discount will be which is why it’s critical to get expert advice as early as possible.

Good character references

A good character reference can have a powerful impact on getting a better outcome if it’s from the right people, and it includes the important things that the Judge looks at when deciding on the leniency of your punishment.

Our specialist traffic lawyers will guide and review every character reference before handing it to the Judge to ensure it expresses main points such as your remorse, insight and contrition, and to ensure that its done in the correct format to allow the Judge to reduce the punishment.

Negotiate to drop charges

Your charges can potentially be dropped or downgraded to a lesser serious charge attracting a much more lenient punishment, and even avoid prison. Being our speciality, our specialist defence traffic lawyers have a proven track record of successfully achieving this on many occasions.

Our Specialist defence team achieve this by analysing the police evidence carefully, finding all the holes in their case, then utilising the best accident reconstruction experts in Australia to give expert opinions on how the accident occurred and who’s fault it really was. They can do this by personally attending the accident scene before giving a preliminary view, saving you cost.

Negotiate facts

The police facts sheet is a summary of the police version of what happened. This is what the Judge will read right before giving you a punishment which is why you will get a much more lenient punishment if the facts are negotiated and changed to something more favourable to you to reflect what truly happened.

These facts can be negotiated by getting an experienced traffic law expert to point out all the flaws in the police evidence while getting an expert opinion from leading accident reconstructions experts to explain why the cause of the collision didn’t happen the way the police think it happened. Your punishment will be significantly reduced if your level of criminality is reduced in this way.

Psychologist reports

A powerful written psychologist or psychiatrist report from a leading expert in the field can significantly improve the outcome to your case by allowing the Judge to give you a very lenient punishment for the following reasons:

  • A psychologist report is a great way to express your insight and remorse for your offending conduct allowing the judge to give you leniency. It also allows you to express your perspective on committing the offence.
  • A psychologist report is the best way to express whether or not you suffer a mental illness, including, depression, anxiety or schizophrenia for example to allow the Judge to give a lenient punishment.

Our team of traffic experts consist of a select few of the best psychologists and psychiatrists in Australia to prepare these specialist reports.

Reconstruction expert reports

It’s often critical to get a leading accident reconstruction expert to attend the scene of the accident, carefully read the police evidence and give a preliminary view on who was at fault, how and why the accident occurred.

The expert can then provide a powerful report which an experienced traffic defence lawyer can use together with a knowledge of all the holes in the police evidence, to convince police to drop, downgrade and even change the police facts. This puts you in a much better position with a much more lenient punishment.

Our team of experts consist of Australia’s leading and well respected accident reconstruction experts who will be by your side.

Maximum penalty

The court can impose a maximum penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. This does not mean you will necessarily receive 14 years. The maximum is reserved generally for the worst and most serious of cases.

The court can impose an automatic licence disqualification period of 3 years, with an option to reduce this down to a minimum of 12 months for a first time offence. If this is your second or subsequent offence, there is a 5 year automatic disqualification period with an option for the court to reduce this down to a minimum of 2 years.

Something you should know

The law says that a custodial sentence will usually be appropriate unless you have a low level of ‘moral culpability’ as in the case of momentary inattention or misjudgement. Moral culpability is your criminal responsibility.

The case of R v Whyte [2002] NSWCCA says that where your moral culpability is high, a full time custodial sentence of at least 3 years is appropriate. Moral culpability can be increased by the number of people who died, the degree of your intoxication, degree of sleep deprivation or degree of speed. For this reason, it is essential to have a strong team of traffic defence experts behind you, with the benefit of an accident reconstruction, pharmacologist and doctor experts to confirm that your moral culpability was not increased at the time.

Types of penalties

The judge can give you any one of the following types of punishment, and the above information will determine which one you end up getting:

Our highly experienced senior specialist traffic lawyers will guide you every step along the way of your case. They will work around the clock and give a powerful representation of your case to the Judge putting you in the best possible light.

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