Negligent Driving – s 117 Road Transport Act (NSW)
Facing a charge of negligent driving, with the possibility of a conviction, imprisonment and having your licence disqualified is daunting.
Our team of senior traffic lawyers have successfully avoided licence disqualifications for their clients for over 20 years. They know exactly how to thoroughly prepare and present your case to get you the best chance at getting a non-conviction outcome in court.
If your case requires an accident reconstruction expert, speak to our expert traffic lawyers now for a free 1st consult. Our experienced traffic lawyers will guide you on getting the best possible accident reconstruction expert for your case.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
You can only be guilty of negligent driving if police can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in court:
- You drove a vehicle; and
- You drove it in a way by failing to exercise the kind of care and attention that a reasonable prudent driver would have exercised in the circumstances had he or she been in your shoes at the time.
You will be not guilty if police are unable to prove each of the above 2 elements.
If charged with negligent driving causing death, to be guilty, the prosecution will also need to prove that your negligent driving caused the death.
If charged with negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm, the prosecution will also need to prove that your negligent driving caused that harm.
Defence to this charge
You will be Not Guilty if:
- You did what any reasonable prudent driver would have done in the situation at the time. Here the circumstances such as traffic, speed, weather are taken into account. Here you can argue that you did not depart from what a reasonable prudent driver would have done in those circumstances.
- Mistaken identity. You were were not the driver at the time.
- Duress or Necessity: Where you were forced or coerced to drive this way, or where you did it to avoid serious harm.
- Mistake of fact: where you made a mistake as to the road rules at the time, and that mistake was made in circumstances it was reasonable for you to have made that mistake.
- Where your charged with negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, it is a defence if you can show that your driving did not cause that death or harm. Our senior traffic lawyers have often successfully shown this by using the best, and most respected, accident reconstruction experts in Australia countless times.
Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences apply to your case.
Our leading senior traffic lawyers are among Australia’s very best, holding a proven track record of successfully convincing police to drop charges early countless times for over 20 years. They will be able to identify your best defence, and strengthen it early.
If pleading guilty to negligent driving, see the below hints and tips on how to best prepare your case to get the best chances at avoiding a licence disqualifications.
25% Discount on punishment
Pleading guilty early enough in your case will result in the Judge giving you a discount of up to 25% off your punishment. This results in a more lenient punishment, and better chances at avoiding a disqualification.
This discount reduces in time with the later the plea of guilty if entered in court. This is why its critical to receive experienced advice early in your case.
Traffic Offenders Program
Your court result can be significantly improved, with a more lenient punishment simply by completing the traffic offenders program. This allows the Judge to acknowledge your insight into your offence, and therefore leniency. With experience in lecturing in this course around Sydney, our senior traffic lawyers will guide you to enrolling into the best accredited course.
Good character references
Getting powerfully written letters for the Judge to read can improve your court result, allowing the Judge to give you more leniency. For best chances of this occurring, the letters should come from friends, family, letter of apology from you, your employer and charity.
Our senior traffic lawyers can guide you in this process. The letters should express your good character, effect of a loss of licence on your job and family, your insight, shame and remorse.
Negotiate to drop charges
You can convince police to drop your charge of negligent driving, simply by carefully reviewing the evidence, and pointing out the holes in it to police. Recognised as specialists, our senior traffic lawyers have successfully achieved this on countless occasions for over 20 years.
The police can be convinced to change the police set of facts, which will then be read by the Judge. By changing those set of facts to something more favourable to your case, it can reflect you in a better light, often resulting in a much more lenient punishment, and better chances of avoiding a loss of licence.
Those facts are usually drafted by police expressing how and where you drove, how long it occurred for etc. it can often be one sided, inaccurately telling what occurred to the Judge. For that reason it can be important to change. With over 20 years experience, our lawyers often do this by pointing out all the holes in the case to police.
Getting a powerful psychologist or psychiatrist report from a highly respected and experienced expert can dramatically improve your court result, allowing the Judge to give you a much more lenient punishment.
For best chances at this occurring, your report should express your mental state, diagnosis, insight, remorse, shame and explanation of your actions. Our lawyers will hand select the best suited expert for this job.
The maximum penalties including disqualifications are not always given, and are usually reserved for the most serious cases.
For the offence of driving negligently occasioning grievous bodily harm
A maximum penalty of up to $2,200 fine and/or 9 months imprisonment. There is an automatic licence disqualification of 3 years, with a discretion to be reduced down to a minimum 1 year loss of licence.
In the event this is your second ‘major offence’ in the last 5 years, the penalties are increased, to a maximum of $3,300 fine and/or 1 year imprisonment, and an automatic licence disqualification of 5 years, with a discretion to reduce this to a minimum of 2 years loss of licence.
For the offence of driving negligently occasioning death
A maximum penalty of $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment. There is an automatic licence disqualification period of 3 years, with an option for the Judge to reduce this to a minimum of 1 year loss of licence.
If you already have a previous ‘major offence’ in the last 5 years, the punishment is different, with a maximum fine of $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment, and an automatic licence disqualification period of 5 years, with an option to be reduced to a minimum of 2 years disqualification.
For the offence of driving negligently with no death or grievous bodily harm
A maximum penalty of $1,100 fine. No imprisonment or prescribed disqualification period applies here. Although the Court has a discretion to still impose a disqualification period which depends on the circumstances of your case and traffic record.
Types of punishment
The Judge will give you any one of the following types of penalties, depending on your traffic record, how you prepare and present your case in court:
- Section 10 non conviction
- Section 9 good behaviour bond
- Community Service Order
- Section 12 suspended sentence
- Intensive Corrections Order
- Home Detention
- Full Time Imprisonment
Our senior traffic lawyers are highly regarded experts in negligent driving cases.
They hold a proven track record of successfully avoiding licence disqualifications by achieving section 10 non convictions countless times for over 20 years.
Speak to them now for realistic and practical advice and guidance on your case.