Pleading Guilty to Dangerous Driving

This is a case study on pleading guilty to Dangerous Driving.

Our client was aged 61 at the time of the alleged offending and had no relevant prior court history.

What is alleged to have occured?
The incident occurred during the client’s employment as a bus driver wherein it was alleged that he deliberately manoeuvred the bus he was driving so as to cause a collision with another car.

A further allegation by the prosecution was that in the short period before the collision, the client had gesticulated in an aggressive manner with the complainant when the latter had failed to give way. The complainant was not injured during the incident and the damage to her car was not extensive.

The police were called and following an interview with the client, he was charged with 10 offences including several indictable charges. CCTV footage depicted the accident and the preceding interaction between the drivers.

What happened at court?
We provided legal representation for the client at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court. The exact charges were:

Our client faced several serious indictable criminal offences arising out of a single set of alleged facts. Fortunately for the client, we successfully handled the case so that it ultimately became a matter of pleading guilty to Dangerous Driving with no any other charges involved.

The CCTV footage was an important piece of evidence and it was studied carefully. The footage clearly showed that the client had behaved in an aggressive manner towards the complainant. However it was also plain that the complainant had driven her vehicle in a less than careful manner. One could see that our client could be justified in being angry at the manner in which the complainant had driven (the footage made it clear that she was required to give way and did not), however he expressed his anger disproportionately (also clear from the footage).

The CCTV footage also raised doubt as to whether the client was actually aware that an accident had occurred when the positioning of both vehicles immediately after the accident was considered. Accordingly, after analysis of the brief of evidence and the CCTV, a strategy to resolve the case on the basis of a single summary offence was formed.

Following a summary case conference, an offer was put to the prosecution to accept a single plea to Drive in a Manner Dangerous (a previous offer to Careless Driving having been rejected). The matter was then set down for further negotiation and discussion at a contest mention.

At the contest mention, the matter resolved to a single charge of Dangerous Driving for which our client pleaded guilty. In anticipation of the case resolving, our client was instructed to obtain a psychological report (evidencing that he had been participating in a mental health care plan) and character references.

On pleading guilty to Dangerous Driving, submissions were directed to the client’s good character as demonstrated by his long and consistent employment history and the absence of any relevant traffic priors in his driving history. The court’s attention was also drawn to mental health difficulties the client was experiencing over a period of 12 months leading up to the offence, and that when having regard to his history, his behaviour on the day in question was out of character.

What was the result?
The client was convicted and received an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour for 12 months. He was also asked to pay a certain amount into the court fund. The magistrate also imposed a licence disqualification but this did not exceed the minimum statutory period of 6 months.

Elements of Dangerous Driving:
  • The accused drove a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case; or
  • The accused drove a vehicle, other than a motor vehicle, at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case
Related case studies
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 29/10/2019