Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury

– section 319 of the Crimes Act 1958

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.

Examples of Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury
  • 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.
What are some of the possible defences to a Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury charge?
  • 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 this offence is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).

This type of charge is heard in the County Court.

 

“Did it cause serious injury?”
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.1

The Law

The section that covers this offence is section 319 of the Crimes Act 1958.2

prison penalty sentencing

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Dangerous driving causing death or serious injury is a serious offence that could result in imprisonment if you are found guilty. If the conduct caused the death of another person, the length of the imprisonment will be greater than if the conduct caused the serious injury of another person.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies

 


[1] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 15

serious injury means—
(a) an injury (including the cumulative effect of more than one injury) that— (i) endangers life; or (ii) is substantial and protracted; or
(b) the destruction, other than in the course of a medical procedure, of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm;

[2] Crimes Act 1958 – Section 319

(1) A person who, by driving 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, causes the death of another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).
(1A) A person who, by driving 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, causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum).
(2) In this section serious injury has the meaning given by section 15.