Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm – s 52A Crimes Act 1900

It is an offence under section 52A Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) if you drive your vehicle and you are involved in an impact causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) to the victim due to you:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol, or at a speed dangerous to another person or in a manner dangerous to another person; and
  2. There is an aggravating circumstance involved.

Your Options in Court

You will be found not guilty to this charge if the police cannot prove any one of the following elements of the charge:

  • Your car was involved in an impact with the victim
  • The impact caused ‘grievous bodily harm’ to the victim
  • At the time of driving, either, you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or you were speeding or driving in a manner dangerous to other road users.
  • At time of impact, there was an aggravating circumstance

What is an aggravating circumstance?

Any one or more of the following is an aggravating circumstance:

  • You were intoxicated with alcohol or drugs at the time of driving
  • You were speeding by more than 45km/h of the speed limit
  • You were driving to escape a police pursuit

Defences to this charge

You will be found not guilty if any one of the following available defences to this charge apply to you:

  • You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • You were not speeding
  • Your actions in the management of your vehicle did not constitute danger to the public
  • The vehicle had a mechanical defect that caused a loss of control
  • You were not the driver of the car. Identification issue.
  • Duress and necessity

If you are unsure of whether you have a defence, or how strong your possible defence is, it is crucial to speak to a specialist traffic lawyer who can give you practical and realistic advice with guidance at every step of the way to put you in the best position possible to prove your innocence.

Our team not only comprises of our highly experienced traffic defence lawyers, but Australia’s best leading accident reconstructions experts who have been individually hand-picked by our specialist lawyers.

With a focus on working to getting charges dropped first, we have a proven track record of exceptional results in both successfully proving our clients innocence, and getting charges dropped at an early stage of the case.

Before pleading guilty, speak to a specialist traffic defence lawyer. A specialist lawyer can give you accurate advice, early on, and guidance for you to make the best decisions about your case. If pleading guilty, read the following to know how to best prepare your case to maximise your chances at getting the best possible outcome.

25% discount on punishment

You can receive a much lighter punishment by entering a plea of guilty at the earliest time of your case in court. The discount can be up to 25% off the punishment you would otherwise get!

You will receive a less discount the later you leave it which is why it’s important to get the right practical and realistic advice as early on as possible in your case for a better outcome.

Good character references

A small number of well drafted good character references can have a powerfully persuasive impact to the Judge in giving you a lenient punishment. It is a great way to show the Judge the kind of person you really are.

Each reference should come from certain people in your life who know you, written in a specific format expressing main points which include, your remorse, guilt, insight and understanding of the offence. It should also include the good things he or she has seen you do in the time they have known you. The effect of these points will allow the Judge to reduce your punishment further.

Negotiate to drop charges

Your charges always have potential to being dropped or downgraded to a less serious charge attracting a more lenient punishment with a better outcome.

This can be achieved by ensuring an experienced senior lawyer reviews the police evidence very carefully, picks out the problems in it, and works out whether an accident reconstruction expert report is required. If one is, then a report should be obtained from a highly experienced one.

The police should be approached after you have gathered enough grounds to convince police why the  charge should either be dropped or downgraded. Our senior specialist traffic lawyers go down this path as a first priority in every case they take on while holding a proven track record of successfully doing this time and time again.

Negotiate facts

Before the Judge gives a punishment, he or she will first read the police facts of what happened usually initially drafted by police. The punishment will be based on what is written in those facts which is why it’s important that the facts be changed to put you in the best possible light with an accurate reflection of what really happened allowing the judge to then  give you a lighter punishment.

The facts can be changed by reading the police evidence and noting all the holes in it before approaching the police when negotiating the facts. The facts can then be changed to put you in a better light attracting a better outcome to your case.

Psychologist reports

A specialist psychologist report can significantly improve the outcome of your case with a lighter punishment for the following reasons:

  • It is a great way to provide an explanation for your actions from your perspective, and your insight and remorse for your actions which allows the judge to give more leniency.
  • If the report diagnoses you with a mental illness (depression, schizophrenia or other), the Judge is allowed to further reduce your punishment. If the report expresses a connection between your offending actions and your mental condition, the judge can reduce the punishment even more.

Our senior specialist traffic lawyers use the best psychologists and psychiatrists known in Australia to draft these reports for maximum effect.

Reconstruction expert reports

Getting a solid report from a highly respected and experienced reconstructions expert can significantly improve your chances at getting the charge dropped or even downgraded and allow the Judge to see the real reason why the incident occurred.

A good reconstruction expert should go out to the scene, review the police evidence and provide you with a preliminary view as to how the accident occurred and who was likely at fault. If helpful, then a full report can be drafted and used to approach the police with. This can allow enough ammo for you to convince police to drop, downgrade and even change the police facts to something much more favourable to you allowing a much more better outcome to your case.

Our senior specialist traffic lawyers use the best known and respected reconstructions experts in Australia who they have worked closely with for years.

Maximum penalty

Although the maximum penalty for this offence is up to 11 years. The courts rarely give the maximum.

The court can give you an automatic licence disqualification period of 3 years, but may reduce this period to a minimum of 12 months. Lengthier disqualification can apply if this is your second or more offence.

Something you should know

The case of R v Whyte [2002] NSWCCA is used by the courts as a guide, which says that where your criminal responsibility is high in circumstances of aggravation, the court should generally consider a penalty of at least two years imprisonment.

The police facts sheet will depict your criminal responsibility which is why it is critical that you have an experienced specialist traffic lawyer to persuade and fight to change the facts to something more favourable to you to get the best possible result.

Types of penalties

The penalties the court can impose on you include any one of the following:

  1. Section 10 Dismissal
  2. Conditional Release Order
  3. Fine
  4. Community Correction Order
  5. Intensive Correction Order
  6. Full Time Imprisonment

It is important, before you even plead guilty, that you speak to one of Sydney’s most experienced specialist traffic lawyers to tell you all your options and the best way to prepare. Where pleading guilty, our traffic lawyers have, through their years of experience, obtained outstanding results. As industry leaders in this field they are known best for their practical and realistic advice with a proven track record of exceptional results over and over again.

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