Negligent Driving- Section 117(1) of Road Transport Act 2013

There are three (3) types of negligent driving offences;

  1. Negligent driving
  2. Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm
  3. Negligent driving occasioning death

Where there is no accident, you may receive a traffic infringement notice carrying demerit points.

In the event your negligent driving occasioned grievous bodily harm or death, police will issue you a Court Attendance Notice.

Maximum Penalties

Negligent driving

The maximum penalty is fine in the sum of $1,100 with the courts discretion to order a disqualification period on your driver’s licence.

Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

The maximum penalty is fine in the sum of $2,200 and/or 9 months imprisonment or both. Any second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty for the fine is in the sum of $3,300 and/or 12 months imprisonment or both.

Negligent driving occasioning death

The maximum penalty is fine in the sum of $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment or both. Any second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is fine in the sum of $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment or both.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

The prosecution must establish the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You were the driver of the motor vehicle, and
  2. You were driving in a manner negligent- that is, you were driving “in such a way that you departed from the usual standard of care used by others of the road and that is expected of a typical prudent driver in the circumstances”. For example- failing to keep a proper lookout.
  3. For negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, the prosecution must also prove that you caused another person ‘really serious harm’ such as permanent and serious disfigurement- for example; killing foetus, damage to internal organs or broken bones
  4. For negligent driving occasioning death, the prosecution must also prove that you caused the death of another person

Defences to this charge

  • Duress- that is, you were coerced or threatened into driving negligently
  • Necessity- that is, you drove negligently to avoid serious injury or danger
  • Honest & Reasonable Mistake of Fact-that is, that you honestly and reasonably made a mistake regarding the speed limit or road rules

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced traffic lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to negligent after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence.  

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of Penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

  • Conditional Release Order
  • Fine

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references, and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with negligent driving, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced traffic lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.