Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury

Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury

When someone drives a motor vehicle at a speed or in a way that is dangerous. As a result causing the death or serious injury of another person.
 
Sentencing

Sentencing in the higher courts of AustraliaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Dangerous Driving Causing Death in the Higher Courtsigher-Courts.jpg" alt="Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury in the Higher CourtsPlease note that suspended sentences were abolished in the higher courts earlier than that of the Magistrates’ Court, and therefore all offences committed on or after 1 September 2013 will not have this available as a sentencing option.1

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of AustraliaDangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury in the Magistrates' CourtsPlease note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2


[1] Sentencing Advisory Council. Abolished Sentencing Orders, accessed January 20, 2021, https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/abolished-sentencing-orders.
[2] Ibid.

  • A man is under the influence of ice and loses control of his car while driving down the street, his car hits an oncoming vehicle and as a result, the driver of the other vehicle is partially paralysed.
  • A woman is speeding at night and hits a cyclist on the side of the road, the cyclist dies in hospital.
  • Two friends are drag racing their cars, they crash into each other leaving them both with permanent disabilities.

  • Having regard to the circumstances of the case, the manner or speed of driving was not dangerous.
  • The manner or speed of driving did not cause the death or serious injury of another person, rather the death or serious injury was caused by another factor.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • Was the speed or manner of driving dangerous?
  • What caused the death or serious injury of the other person?
  • Is the injury of the other person, a serious injury?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for the offence of Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury (s319 of the Crimes Act 1958) is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).

This type of charge is heard in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury?
Driving a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous. In the circumstances causing the death or serious injury of another person. Serious injury is defined as an injury that endangers life or is substantial and protracted.

“Did it cause serious injury?”

The Law
The section that covers this offence is section 319 of the Crimes Act 1958.