Predatory Driving – s 51A Crimes Act (NSW)

Charged with predatory driving can result in lengthy licence disqualifications, and loss of demerit points effecting your work and family commitments.

To avoid this happening to you, speak to one of our leading senior traffic lawyers. With over 20 years experience, they have successfully proved their clients innocence, and even achieved s10’s where their clients decide to plead guilty and still avoid a disqualification in court countless times.

Your Options in Court

You can only be guilty of predatory driving if police can prove each of the following elements, beyond a reasonable doubt, in court:

  • You drove a vehicle and
  • You were driving in pursuit of, or near, another vehicle; and
  • Your conduct caused, or threatened to cause, an “impact” with the other vehicle; and
  • You intended to cause actual bodily harm to a person in the other vehicle

You will be not guilty, and your charge dismissed if police are unable to prove any one of the above elements.

Defences to this charge

You will be Not Guilty if:

  • You were not the driver
  • You didn’t intend to cause actual bodily harm to a person in the other vehicle.
  • Metal illness defence: Where you were suffering a mental illness, or you were so intoxicated by alcohol or drugs at the time that caused you to be unable to form an intention to cause actual bodily harm to another person.
  • Your driving didn’t cause, nor did it threaten to cause the impact. The impact was caused by an intervening event such as another car or natural disaster or animal on the road.
  • There was no impact with another vehicle, person or object. Nor was there any overturning or leaving the road by the other vehicle as a result of your driving.
  • Duress or Necessity: Where you did it due to a threat or coercion, or you did it to avoid serious harm.

Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences apply to you. Speak to one of our highly specialised senior traffic lawyers now to find out your best defence early. Our lawyers have a proven success record of getting charges dropped early and will pursue this avenue first.

If you decide to plead guilty to predatory driving, below are very important tips on how to best prepare and present your case to avoid a criminal record and licence disqualification in court, by getting a section 10.

25% Discount on punishment

Pleading guilty to predatory driving at the earliest time in court will result in a 25% discount on your punishment. This results in a lighter, better result in court, giving you a better chance at avoiding a licence disqualification and criminal record.

The later the plea of guilty is entered in court, the smaller that discount gets. This is why its important to get early advice from a traffic law expert.

Traffic Offenders Program

Completing a recognised accredited traffic offenders course can significantly improve your chances at avoiding a disqualification in court, putting you steps closer to a s10 non conviction to avoid a criminal record.

Good character references

Gathering letters from family, friends, charity, work and apology letter from yourself can also increase your chances at avoiding a criminal record and disqualification period.

To better your chances at this, the letters should express why your driver licence is critical, the consequences on your work and family commitments if you lose it, your insight, remorse, shame and good character. Our lawyers can guide you in this process.

Negotiate to drop charges

Our senior traffic lawyers have successfully convinced police to drop charges early on countless occasions for over 20 years. The best way your charge can be dropped or downgraded is by carefully analysing the evidence, and then pointing out all the holes in it to police when tactfully negotiating.

Negotiate facts

The police set of facts is a document read by the Judge expressing your offending conduct in detail. The Judge will heavily consider this when deciding on whether to give you a conviction or s10 non conviction, and avoid a licence disqualification.

For best chances at this, its important to know the evidence, and holes in it. You can then negotiating with police to change it in a way that reflects you in a better light. This can significantly improve your court result, ensuring that its not just one sided to what police want it to say.

Psychologist reports

By getting a strong psychologist or psychiatrist court report expressing important things for the Judge to read can drastically improve your court result, getting you steps closer to avoiding a criminal record and disqualification.

The best way to achieve this is ensuring the report comes from a highly respected leading and experienced expert, commenting on your mental condition, explanation for offending, remorse, insight and shame. These are essential points to address.

Maximum penalty

If you don’t end up getting a s10 non conviction, the Judge can impose a maximum punishment of up to 5 years imprisonment if dealt with in the District Court, or up to 2 years imprisonment if dealt with in the Local Court which is where it’s normally dealt with.

Judges normally don’t give the maximum punishments, which is only reserved to the most serious cases.

This offence carries an automatic licence disqualification of 3 years, with a minimum of 1 year the Judge can give if you have no previous ‘major offence’ ie drink driving, predatory driving, in the las 5 years.

However, the automatic disqualification increases to 5 years, with a discretion to be reduced to 2 years if you have a previous ‘major offence’ in the last 5 years.

Types of penalties

The Judge must give you any one of the following types of punishment, which depends on the above points in how you prepare and present your case in court:

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

For maximising your chances of getting a s10 to avoid a criminal record and disqualification for predatory driving, speak to one of the best leading traffic lawyers in Australia. Our senior traffic lawyers regularly appear in courts all over NSW, and have successfully achieved s10’s for countless of their clients for over 20 years.