Dangerous Driving Cause Injury / Death in Victoria

Dangerous Driving Cause Injury / Death in Victoria refers to Section 319 of the Crimes’ Act 1958. You are guilty of an offence if:

  • you were driving a motor vehicle;
  • you drove the motor vehicle dangerously; and
  • the dangerous driving caused the death or serious injury of another

Examples of what may constitute an offence under this section includes:

  • A driver fails to brake for a pedestrian whilst distracted, resulting in a collision where the pedestrian dies (or is seriously injured);
  • Driving in excess of 45km/hr above the speed limit resulting in a collision with another vehicle where the other driver dies (or is seriously injured);
  • Falling asleep whilst driving which causes a collision and a passenger in the same vehicle dies as a result

The Penalty

In Victoria, the maximum penalty for Dangerous Driving is 10 years’ imprisonment if resulting in death. And five years’ imprisonment if resulting in serious injury.

It is likely that this charge will attract a term of imprisonment, even for first time offenders, of approximately 2-4 years.

Can I defend the charge?

When considering whether your driving should be deemed as “dangerous”, the Court can take into account a number of factors. These include but are not limited to:

  • the condition of the road
  • the amount of traffic on the road
  • the type of road
  • the speed and nature of the driving itself

As it is an objective test, technically the offender does not need to put other road users at risk at the time of offending. It is an assessment of the circumstances generally.

Nonetheless, you may still have a defence if we are able to show the prosecution cannot prove all of the required elements to constitute your driving as dangerous. Alternatively, you may not have been the driver. The police may not have accurately represented the case against you Or you may have been acting under duress or out of necessity.

In those circumstances a complete acquittal may be appropriate or depending on the strength of the evidence the prosecution has available. We may be able to seek a withdrawal of the charges.

Ascertaining whether you have a defence to this charge requires a specialist lawyer who operates routinely in this field of practice.