Engaging in dangerous driving that leads to grievous bodily harm is a serious offence under Section 52A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This offence carries a maximum prison sentence of up to 7 years. Facing charges related to dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm can be emotionally overwhelming and carry significant consequences, including potential imprisonment. Given the gravity of potential penalties in such situations, it's crucial to secure the assistance of a skilled traffic lawyer. An experienced lawyer can either build a strong defence on your behalf or work towards having the charges dismissed before it proceeds to a hearing. With our extensive experience in successfully handling cases involving dangerous driving, you can trust us to provide you with the most effective defence strategy for your case.
For the prosecution to establish the offence of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, they need to prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
1. You were operating a motor vehicle.
2. Your actions resulted in a collision that caused severe bodily harm (GBH) to another person.
3. Your driving was impaired by alcohol or drugs, you were driving at an unsafe speed, or you were driving recklessly.
The term ‘vehicle’ is defined as:
1. Any motorised mode of transportation propelled by means such as spirit, steam, gas, electricity, or other sources, excluding human or animal power.
2. A vehicle drawn by a horse.
An ‘impact’ is defined as:
1. A collision involving a vehicle, object, or person.
2. Contact with an object, including the ground (resulting from ejection from the vehicle).
3. Interaction with another object or vehicle near a person.
4. Engagement with anything attached to or carried by the vehicle.
5. Interaction with anything that is in motion due to falling from the vehicle.
6. This definition also encompasses situations where:
By understanding these elements and definitions, you can better comprehend the nature of the charges you are facing and the legal implications involved. Our experienced legal team is here to guide you through the complexities of your case and provide the support you need.
In NSW, the definition of “grievous bodily harm” is outlined in section 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
This legislation provides the legal framework and interpretation for various offences, including those involving bodily harm.
“Grievous bodily harm” is defined as very serious harm and includes:
(a) the destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure or a termination of a pregnancy in accordance with the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 ) of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm, and
(b) any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and
(c) any grievous bodily disease (in which case a reference to the infliction of grievous bodily harm includes a reference to causing a person to contract a grievous bodily disease).
It’s important to refer to the specific provisions of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) for a comprehensive understanding of the definition and its implications. Legal advice is recommended for any specific legal matters or inquiries.
The severity of penalties for dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm varies based on certain factors. If the offence occurs under ‘aggravating circumstances,’ the maximum penalty can increase to 11 years of imprisonment. These circumstances arise when:
1. Your bloodstream contains a ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol.’
2. You exceed the speed limit by more than 45 km/h.
3. You are ‘significantly impaired’ due to one or more drugs.
A ‘prescribed concentration of alcohol’ refers to a reading of at least 0.15.
In cases where your bloodstream contains the prescribed concentration of alcohol, it is automatically assumed that alcohol influenced your driving.
An essential piece of evidence is a certificate indicating your alcohol or drug concentration. This certificate is valid proof, provided the analysis occurred within 2 hours following the impact. However, you can challenge this evidence if you can reasonably show that your concentration was lower at the time of impact.
You have the option to present certain defences against the charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm. One possible defence is to argue that the grievous bodily harm cannot be attributed to:
1. Influence of alcohol or drugs.
2. Driving Speed
3. Manner of driving.
By challenging these factors, you can cast doubt on the prosecution’s case and potentially secure a more favorable outcome for your situation. It’s important to consult with a skilled legal professional to determine the most effective defence strategy for your case.
When it comes to the charge of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, it involves operating a vehicle recklessly, leading to a serious accident that causes significant harm to another person. If you are uncertain whether the prosecution can prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s wise to consult our experienced traffic lawyer to explore the possibility of entering a ‘not guilty’ plea.
Our skilled defence team specialises in handling complex cases of dangerous driving. With our expertise, we can provide you with the necessary guidance and representation to navigate your case effectively.
We make every effort to challenge charges before they reach the courtroom by identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case early on. This may involve questioning allegations related to your driving speed, which the police have put forward.
If your case does proceed to court, you can rely on our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists to vigorously advocate for your success.
Furthermore, we can offer insights into potential defence that help explain your actions. For instance, if you were coerced or threatened into driving recklessly.
If you are not pursuing a ‘not guilty’ plea, it’s worth discussing the option of a ‘guilty’ plea with our legal team.
In some instances, entering a guilty plea early in the legal process can have benefits. This approach might lead to a reduction in your sentence, often referred to as a ‘discount.’
By admitting guilt, you acknowledge your responsibility for the offence, which could result in a more lenient sentence compared to being found guilty after a hearing.
However, before admitting guilt to any charge, it’s crucial to consult an experienced traffic lawyer. There might be avenues to contest the allegations and establish your innocence, potentially avoiding conviction and harsh penalties.
If you are considering a guilty plea, it’s important to be aware of the maximum penalties that could be imposed.
Under the law, the maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm is a 7-year prison sentence.
However, this maximum is usually reserved for the most severe cases of dangerous driving. In most instances, the penalties imposed are lower than the maximum.
The case of R v Whyte  provides insight into potential penalties. It indicated that a prison term of less than two years would generally not be appropriate if your personal accountability for the accident (moral culpability) was significant.
As a result, you could expect a prison sentence exceeding 2 years, although this may be mitigated if your moral culpability is lower. For instance, if the accident resulted from a minor mistake or lack of attention, rather than a deliberate intent to speed or drive recklessly.
Ultimately, the sentence you receive depends on the judge’s assessment after considering the details of your case. Therefore, having an experienced lawyer to advocate on your behalf is crucial.
Our legal experts excel in crafting compelling ‘sentencing submissions’ for serious criminal and traffic cases. This helps present the facts and circumstances of your case in a way that seeks the most lenient possible penalty.
Potential court-imposed penalties include:
1. Section 10 Dismissal
2. Conditional Release Order
4. Community Correction Order
5. Intensive Correction Order
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