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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences and Penalties in South Australia (SA)

    Serious and Major Traffic Offences and Penalties in South Australia (SA)

    In South Australia (SA), drivers commit traffic offences daily and, most times, are oblivious of it and even the penalties attached. Some offences in SA are considered severe and significant offences. The law sees them as major offences and therefore attaches severe punishment to them. Offences considered as such are those imprisoned for a particular period as part of the penalty for committing it.

    The Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) and the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) are the two laws that provide for traffic offences in South Australia. To help you operate and thread carefully on SA roads, you must become conversant with these offences.

    If you get a conviction for a serious or major traffic offence in a SA court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome on the results of your criminal background check in SA.

    Careless Driving

    According to section 45 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) , driving a vehicle without exercising rightful care or paying attention is an offence. It is careless driving to drive without adequate consideration for other road users. A driver may also be charged with an aggravated crime under this section. The following circumstances make it an aggravated offence:

    • Where the offence led to another person's death or serious harm to that person.
    • Where the offence is committed while trying to flee pursuit from the police.
    • Where the accused drives a vehicle while under disqualification from carrying a driver's licence.
    • At the time of the offence, there was a concentration of 0.8 grams or above that of liquor in his blood.
    Penalty

    The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 12 months. Also, you will be disqualified from carrying or procuring a driver's licence for at least 6 months or more if found guilty.

    Reckless and Dangerous Driving

    Section 46 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) makes it an offence to drive a vehicle recklessly or at a speed risky to other road users.

    Penalty

    Any person found guilty of the offence under the above section will be liable to a maximum penalty of:

    • 2 years imprisonment
    • Disqualification from carrying or procuring a driver's licence. This will be for fewer than 12 months for a first-time offender and not less than 3 years for a repeat offender.

    Driving Under the Influence

    Under section 47 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA), it is an offence to drive a vehicle or try to drive one while strongly under the impact of alcohol or any drug substance. This should have the ability to render you unable to control the vehicle.

    Penalty

    Where the offence is committed with a motor vehicle:

    • A fine not less than $1,100 and not above $1,600 and a jail time or, at most, 3 months for a first-time offender.
    • A fine not below $1,900 and not above $2,900 and a maximum jail time of 6 months.

    If the offence is committed with a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle, you will be liable to a fine of $500.

    Causing Death or Harm Using Vehicle

    Under section 19A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA), any person driving a vehicle negligently, recklessly, or at a speed that poses a significant risk to other road users is guilty of an offence. You are guilty of an indictable offence that leads to another person's death.

    Also, under 19A(3), any person who drives a vehicle negligently, recklessly, or at a speed that poses a significant risk to other road users is guilty of an offence. You are guilty of an indictable offence where it causes harm to another person.

    Penalty

    Any person found guilty of any of the two offences will face a maximum penalty of:

    • 15 years imprisonment and disqualification from carrying a driver's licence for at least 10 years.
    • Life imprisonment where the offence is aggravated and a driver's licence disqualification for at least 10 years.

    Subsection 3(b) provides where this offence is committed; however, if no serious harm occurs, the guilty person will be liable for just imprisonment for 5 years and a licence disqualification for at least one year. Where it is an aggravated offence, 7 years imprisonment and a licence disqualification of at least 3 years.

    Leaving Accident Scene after Causing Death or Harm

    Under section 19AB of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA), it is an offence to drive without proper care and vigilance, resulting in another person's death. The law mandates you to stop and render any necessary assistance. If you fail to do so, you are guilty of an offence under this section.

    It is also an offence where it inflicts serious harm on another person. 

    Penalty

    Any person found guilty of any of the above offences shall be liable to a maximum penalty of:

    • 15 years imprisonment and a licence disqualification for at least 10 years for a first-time offender.
    • Life imprisonment and a licence disqualify repeat offenders for at least 10 years.

    Dangerous Driving to Escape Police Pursuit

    Section 19AC of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) also provides for dangerous driving while trying to flee from the police. Under this section, it is an offence to drive in a manner that poses a significant risk to other road users while trying to escape police pursuit.

    Penalty

    A maximum penalty of:

    • 3 years imprisonment and a licence disqualification of at least 2 years.
    • 5 years imprisonment, where it is an aggravated offence.

    Street Racing

    According to section 19AD of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA), it is an offence to partake in or organise a street race.

    Penalty
    • 3 years imprisonment and a driver's licence disqualifies at least one year.
    • Where it is an aggravated offence, 5 years imprisonment and a driver's licence disqualify at least 3 years.

    Will a serious or major traffic offence in SA show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a serious or major traffic offence in a SA court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of a police check.

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

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