Driving Recklessly Offences

Driving recklessly is a charge that is often interchangeable with for dangerous driving. Reckless driving pursuant to section 117(2) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) states that a person must not drive a vehicle on a road furiously, recklessly, or at a speed or manner dangerous to the public.

What Does Recklessly Include?

Recklessness in the context of driving offences is defined as driving with a deliberate disregard for the safety of others on the road. This can include excessive speeding, sudden lane changes, or racing other vehicles.

What are the Penalties?

The penalties for reckless driving can be severe, with a maximum sentence for a first offence of a $2,200 fine or 9 months imprisonment. For second or subsequent offences the maximum penalties increase to 12 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,300.

The Court will take into the following considerations with respect to the surrounding circumstances when deciding whether the driving was reckless or not:

  • The nature, condition, and use of the road;
  • The number of vehicles that were present on the road, or what could be reasonably expected to be there; and/or
  • Any obstructions or dangers on the road, such as broken down or crashed vehicles, debris, or areas affected by emergencies.

What are the Defences?

The following are the legal defences against a charge pursuant to section 117(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW):

  • Necessity: The accused’s driving was necessary to avoid a greater harm. For example, if the accused swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian, they may be able to argue that their driving was necessary to avoid causing death or serious injury.
  • Duress: The accused was acting under the threat of immediate and serious harm to themselves or another person. For example, if the accused was forced to drive recklessly by an armed hijacker, they may be able to argue that they were acting under duress.
  • Automatism: The accused was not in control of their actions at the time of the offence. For example, if the accused was suffering from a medical condition that caused them to lose consciousness, they may be able to argue that they were acting in automatism.
  • Honest and reasonable mistake: The accused made an honest and reasonable mistake about the circumstances of their driving. For example, if the accused was driving on a dark road and they mistook a rock for a pedestrian, they may be able to argue that they made an honest and reasonable mistake.

It is important to note that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused raises a defence that casts a reasonable doubt on their guilt, then the accused must be acquitted.

Why Jackson John?

If you have been charged with an offence of driving recklessly, it is important to seek legal advice from our team of experienced criminal defence lawyers at Jackson John. We can help you to understand your legal rights and options, and build a strong defence on your behalf.