What is predatory driving?

Predatory driving is a criminal offence under section 51A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). It occurs when someone drives a motor vehicle and:

  • Pursues or travels near another vehicle on the road,
  • Causing or threatening an impact, and
  • Intending to cause the person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm.

An impact refers to an impact with another vehicle, person, or object. It includes the vehicle overturning or leaving the road.

Actual bodily harm includes any injury which interferes with the health or comfort of the victim, including scratches and bruises. It may also include serious and prolonged psychological injury, which is mental harm more serious than temporary emotions or feelings.


What is menacing driving?

Menacing driving is an offence under section 118 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). It occurs when a driver uses their motor vehicle to “menace” another person on the road. To menace means to threaten personal violence or damage to property.

This offence includes both where the driver intends to menace another person on the road, but also where the driver ought to have known that their driving may cause the other person to feel menaced.


Penalties for predatory driving in NSW

Predatory driving is viewed as a serious offence and penalties can be harsh. Prison is a possibility, even for first time offenders. The potential penalties include:

PenaltyFirst offenceSubsequent offence
Maximum fine$11,000 $11,000
Maximum term of imprisonment 5 years 5 years
Minimum disqualification12 months2 years
Automatic disqualification 3 years 5 years
Immediate licence suspensionNoNo


Penalties for menacing driving in NSW

PenaltyFirst offenceSubsequent offence
Maximum fine$3,300 $5,500
Maximum term of imprisonment 18 months 2 years
Minimum disqualification12 months 2 years
Automatic disqualification 3 years5 years
Immediate licence suspensionNoNo


Consequences of conviction

If you are convicted of menacing or predatory driving, you will have this noted on your criminal record and have your licence disqualified.

The automatic disqualification period will apply unless the court makes a specific order. The court can disqualify your licence for any length of time above the minimum period.

These consequences can be avoided if the court applies section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.


Traffic Offender Intervention Program

The court may give you a more lenient sentence if you participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program. This program covers traffic laws and rules, and the potential consequences of breaching the laws. When the course is finished, a certificate will be sent to the court and it can be considered in determining the sentence.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which charge is more serious?

Predatory driving is a more serious offence than menacing driving. Predatory driving is a criminal offence under the Crimes Act, rather than a traffic offence, and can be dealt with on indictment in the District Court.

The maximum penalty for predatory driving is five years imprisonment. In contrast, the maximum prison sentence for menacing driving is two years imprisonment, and only if it is your second menacing driving offence.

How can I defend a charge of menacing driving?

For the offence of menacing driving, the following defences may be argued:

  • You could not, in the circumstances, have reasonably avoided menacing the other person.
  • You did not intend to menace the other person.
  • Based on the circumstances, you could not have known your conduct might menace another person.

How can I defend a charge of predatory driving?

For the offence of predatory driving, the following defences may be argued:

  • You were not in pursuit of another vehicle or travelling near another vehicle.
  • You did not engage in conduct that caused or threatened an impact involving the other vehicle.
  • You did not intend to cause a person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm.

What else could I be charged with?

Instead of menacing driving, you may be charged with the “intimidatory use of a vehicle”. This is a lesser charge under section 11H of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) and only carries a maximum fine of $660. This traffic offence prohibits a person from using a car:

  • To harass or intimidate another person, or
  • In a manner which would likely cause a person to fear for his or her personal safety.

How can we help?

We are experienced in successfully defending predatory and menacing driving charges.

Book a free consultation or call us on 1300 668 484 for 24/7 legal advice.