LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Dangerous Driving Offences Dangerous Driving Offences and Penalties in South Australia (SA)

    Dangerous Driving Offences and Penalties in South Australia (SA)

    Dangerous driving refers to any offence that involves operating a vehicle in a manner that puts the public at risk. South Australia considers it a serious crime for anyone to engage in any act of dangerous driving.

    Consequently, this reflects in the South Australian laws as there are several penalties for the different dangerous driving offences. These penalties serve to discourage people from committing any dangerous driving offences.

    The South Australian laws and penalties regarding the different dangerous driving offences are present in the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA).

    This article will delve into what the law says regarding dangerous driving offences and their penalties. This write-up will also consider the possible defences to counter an allegation of dangerous driving.

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

    What SA Law Says Regarding Dangerous Driving

    Based on the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA), different offences fall under dangerous driving. These offences are:


    #1. Reckless and Dangerous Driving

    Section 46 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA), states that a person can become guilty of an offence if they drive a vehicle recklessly or at a speed that endangers the lives of other road users. This offence attracts a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.

    Also, Section 45(3) of the Act makes it compulsory for the court to disqualify a first-time offender from possessing a licence for a minimum of 12 months.

    A repeat offender may face disqualification for a minimum of 3 years. However, before an SA court can find a person guilty and subsequently give any penalty, the prosecution will need to establish that:

    • The accused drove a vehicle on a road.
    • The way the defendant drove the vehicle fits the description of reckless and dangerous driving.
    • The defendant has no legal excuse for their actions.

    Furthermore, the court will need to consider the following:

    • The condition of the road at the time the crime allegedly took place.
    • The traffic at the time of the offence.
    • The traffic expected to enter the road during the period the crime occurred.
    • Other important circumstances.

    Nevertheless, it is essential to note that there are some individuals that the court cannot convict for committing the crime of reckless or dangerous driving. Section 46(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) clarifies this.

    This section explains that it is excusable if an emergency worker commits the offence of driving dangerously while legally performing their duties. Examples of emergency workers are the police or medical workers in the emergency unit.


    #2. Excessive Speed

    Under Section 45A of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA), it is an offence for an individual to drive a vehicle at a speed that exceeds 45km/h. This offence comes with a fine, not below $2400 or exceeding $2800 if it is a first-time offence.

    If it is a second-time or subsequent offence, the penalty will be a fine, not more than $3000 and not less than $2500. Additionally, the court will have to disqualify the offender from obtaining or possessing a license.

    The disqualification period depends on whether the individual is a first-time offender or a repeat offender. A first-time offender may face disqualification for a minimum of 6 months, while a repeat offender may receive at least two years of disqualification.

    Nevertheless, convicting a person for the crime of reckless driving depends on if the prosecution can convince the court beyond all reasonable doubt that:

    • The accused drove a vehicle on the road.
    • The defendant drove beyond the prescribed speed limit for a particular road.
    • The accused has no legal excuse to justify their actions.

    #3. Careless Driving

    Section 45 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) makes it an offence for a person to drive a vehicle without care or consideration for other road users. This offence attracts a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and a minimum of 6 months disqualification from possessing a licence.

    These penalties usually apply if the offender committed the crime of careless driving under aggravating circumstances. These aggravating circumstances are:

    • The crime resulted in death or serious bodily injuries.
    • The offender committed the offence while trying to escape from the police.
    • Knowing that they were under disqualification or without a licence, the offender drove a vehicle.
    • The offender had a prescribed level of alcohol present in their blood.
    • The offender was going beyond the speed limit for a particular road.
    • The culprit was under the influence of an intoxicating substance during the time they committed the offence.

    However, before the court can convict a person or give punishment for careless driving, the prosecution will need to prove that:

    • The defendant drove a motor vehicle on a road.
    • The accused intentionally drove in a manner that placed other road users at risk.
    • The defendant has no legal excuse for their actions.

    It is worthy of note that the law exempts certain persons from facing charges for careless driving. For example, according to Section 45(4a) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA), an emergency worker may not be guilty of an offence if they drove carelessly while carrying out their duties.

    This exemption is because there are situations where they may have no other choice but to break the rule when responding to an emergency. Examples of emergency workers in this section include the police and medical workers in the emergency unit.


    Possible Defences to A Dangerous Driving Allegation

    When faced with an allegation of dangerous driving, there are several defences that a defendant may raise. A defendant can claim:

    • Distraction

    A defendant can claim that they drove dangerously because something distracted them. Claiming distraction may help to establish that the crime was not intentional.

    • Necessity

    The defence of necessity is applicable if a person drove dangerously to prevent a terrible event from taking place. For instance, a firefighter may drive in a manner considered to be dangerous after receiving an emergency call regarding a fire outbreak.

    • Mechanical Fault

    A defendant can raise a defence that they drove dangerously because their vehicle developed a mechanical fault. Nevertheless, this defence requires the defendant to show that the mechanical defect was not a result of failing to carry out routine checks.

    The Court that Conducts the Trials for Dangerous Driving

    In South Australia, the Magistrate Court handles most of the trials for dangerous driving offences.

    Bottom Line

    A conviction for dangerous driving in SA can lead to severe penalties, including jail time. Apart from these penalties, an individual may end up having a criminal record. A criminal record could affect the quality of a person's life as it can determine the job a person can get, the places the countries they can visit, e.t.c. As such, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a legal practitioner when facing an allegation of a dangerous driving offence.

    Will a dangerous driving offence in South Australia (SA) show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

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

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

    Sources

    Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) - https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/lz?path=%2FC%2FA%2FROAD%20TRAFFIC%20ACT%201961

    Legal Services Commission of South Australia (Driving Offences) - https://lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch12s08s05.php

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

    The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

    You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

    The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

    Top