What is Dangerous Driving Causing Death?

Dangerous driving causing death is a serious charge, which attracts a significant jail sentence on conviction. As the name suggests, you can be charged with this offence if the manner of your driving has resulted in someone’s death.

In order for you to be convicted, the police must prove each of the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you were the driver of the vehicle.
  • That the vehicle was involved in an impact, such as a collision.
  • That the impact caused the death of the deceased.
  • At the time of the impact, you were driving in a manner dangerous to others.

You can be charged with the greater offence of aggravated dangerous driving causing death if the offence occurred in certain circumstances – such as driving more than 45 kilometres over the speed limit, or trying to avoid capture by the police.

What are the penalties for dangerous driving causing death?

Sentencing for the offence of dangerous driving causing death is guided by the judgment in R v Whyte [2002] 55 NSWLR 252.

In a typical case of dangerous driving causing death, the following penalties will apply if you are found guilty:

Dangerous driving causing death
Minimum prison sentence 3 years
Maximum prison sentence 10 years

You may also face a financial penalty and the disqualification of your driver’s licence.

If your case involves aggravating factors, the length of the prison term will be increased.

How severe is the charge against you?

This is an indictable offence, which means that it can only be determined by a judge of the district court, unlike other traffic offences which can be determined by a magistrate. If you are convicted of this charge, it is likely that you will face a term of imprisonment.

In exceptional circumstances, a prison sentence can be avoided. This may occur if your moral culpability is very low, such as if you had a momentary lapse in judgment or inattention.

Traffic Offender Intervention Program

Your sentence for dangerous driving in NSW may be reduced if you participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program. The court may take this into account because it considers that you are showing remorse by participating in a driving education program.

More information about the Traffic Offender Intervention Program.

Having an experienced traffic lawyer on-side can be crucial to the outcome of your case. Our specialist traffic lawyers in Sydney or Parramatta can advise of you of potential defences and likely penalties. Contact our specialist traffic lawyers who can advise you on possible defences and whether you may be able to seek leniency under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.