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Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Dangerous Driving Offences Dangerous Driving Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

Dangerous Driving Offences and Penalties in Queensland (QLD)

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Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.


Driving dangerously is one of the primary reasons why people experience road accidents. These road accidents not only affect the driver and passengers but often lead to injuries and death for other road users. As such, the state of Queensland has formulated different laws to kick against the act of dangerous driving.

These laws provide the activities it considers dangerous driving and spells out their penalties.

The laws and penalties are present in the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld).

This article will delve into what the laws say regarding dangerous driving and its penalties. Furthermore, this write-up will consider the defences a person can use in countering a dangerous driving charge.

If an individual is convicted for a dangerous driving offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Queensland.

What the Law Says Regarding Dangerous Driving

There are different dangerous driving offences present in the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld). These offences are:

#1. Dangerous Operation of a Vehicle

Section 328A of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) states that a person commits an offence when they dangerously operate a vehicle in a manner that goes against the normal operation of the vehicle.

This offence attracts a fine not exceeding 200 penalty units or three years imprisonment. However, these penalties could be higher if the at the time of committing the crime:

  • The offender was under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
  • The culprit was speeding excessively or was part of an unlawful racing competition or speed trial.
  • The offender has faced a similar conviction in the past.

If any of these circumstances apply, the punishment will be a fine not exceeding 400 penalty units or five years imprisonment.

Furthermore, Section 328A(4) of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) explains that a person can face more severe penalties if the crime leads to another person’s injury or death.

In such a case, the offender will be liable to a penalty of 10 years imprisonment. However, the court can sentence an offender to 14 years imprisonment if it discovers that:

  • The offender caused the injury or death of another person while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
  • The offender was driving at an excessive speed or was part of a racing competition or a speed trial.

Nevertheless, the court will only convict a person for dangerously operating a vehicle after it has considered the following:

  • The nature of the place where the offence occurred.
  • The condition of the vehicle at the time the crime took place.
  • The amount of traffic or the expected amount of traffic on the road.
  • The level of alcohol concentration present in the breath or blood of the defendant.
  • The presence of any substance in the blood or oral fluid of the accused.

Also, the prosecution will need to prove the presence of some elements before the court can convict a person. These elements are:

  • The defendant operated a motor vehicle.
  • How the accused operated the vehicle placed other road users in danger.
  • The accused has no legal excuse for their actions.

#2. Careless Driving of a Motor Vehicle

Under Section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), it is a crime for a person to drive carelessly on a road without consideration for other road users. This offence carries a fine of 40 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

Also, the court will have to disqualify the offender from obtaining or possessing a licence for six months. Nonetheless, the penalties can be more severe if the careless driving offence results in death or grievous bodily injury for others.

In such a situation, the punishment will be a fine of 80 penalty units or 1-year imprisonment. However, if the offender was unlicensed, the fine will be 160 penalty units or two years imprisonment.

Nevertheless, the court can only convict a person for careless driving after the prosecution has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that:

  • The accused drove a motor vehicle on the road.
  • The defendant drove carelessly and, as such, placed other road users in danger.
  • The accused has no means of defending their actions.

#3. Racing and Speed Trials on the Road

Based on Section 85 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), a person can be guilty of an offence if:

  • The individual organises/promotes, or participates in a racing competition involving vehicles or animals.
  • The person attempts to create or break a speed record on the road using a vehicle or an animal.
  • The individual participates in any form of speed trial using either a vehicle or an animal.
  • The person engages in a competition created to test the skills of drivers or the mechanical build-up of a vehicle and in which the winner receives a trophy or a benefit with the value of $100.

Carrying out any of these acts without a permit from the commissioner attracts a fine of 40 penalty units or six months imprisonment. Also, the court must disqualify the offender from obtaining or possessing a licence for at least six months.

However, the court can only give these penalties after the prosecution has provided the court with some elements. The elements must show that:

  • The accused drove a motor vehicle on the road.
  • The defendant participated in a car racing competition or a speed trial without a permit from the appropriate quarter.
  • The accused has no way of defending their actions.

Possible Defences to the Allegation of Dangerous Driving Offences

When facing a charge for a dangerous driving offence, there are some defences that a person can raise. Some of these defences include:

  • Necessity
  • Different scenarios may require a person to drive dangerously. For instance, a person could have driven dangerously for the purpose of saving another person's life.

  • Faulty Vehicle
  • An accused could have driven dangerously due to their vehicle developing a fault while in motion. In such a case, the defendant did not intentionally commit the offence.

  • The Defendant Has a Permit
  • Having a permit allows a defendant to carry out some activities considered as driving dangerously. However, there are some conditions in the permit that the recipient must follow.

The Court that Conducts the Trials for Dangerous Driving Offences

In Queensland, the Magistrates Court conducts most of the trials for dangerous driving offences.

Bottom Line

The fact that a person could face imprisonment sentences makes most dangerous driving offences quite serious. Therefore, a person should employ a legal practitioner when facing an allegation of driving dangerously. A legal practitioner can help a person arrive at the best result possible.

Will a dangerous driving offence show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

If an individual is found guilty of a dangerous driving offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their police record check.

The offence will be shown as a traffic conviction on a nationally coordinated criminal history check.

Individuals can obtain a police check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.

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