Negligent Driving

Failed to keep a proper lookout' or failing to take proper care

What is Negligent Driving?

According to the law in NSW, ‘negligent’ driving is where the driver has ‘failed to keep a proper lookout’ or failing to take proper care.

An example of this is where the driver has run a red light or where the driver did not check their blind spots when changing lanes, causing an accident.

There are various different types of ‘negligent driving’ offences, each with different penalties depending on the degree of seriousness.

Negligent driving offences include (in order of least serious to most serious):

  • Negligent driving;
  • Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm; and
  • Negligent driving occasioning death.

Should you be charged with one of the above offences, it is important to consult an experienced traffic lawyer in order to discuss your case and prepare as best as you possible can for your court date.

Rezae & Co Lawyers are seasoned advocates who have a significant amount of experience in dealing with negligent driving offences and assisting their clients in persuading the courts that they were ‘not guilty’ of the offence or in mitigating the offending as much as possible where clients have entered a plea of guilty to avoid serious penalties.

If you wish to discuss your dangerous driving matter, call Rezae & Co Lawyers today on 02 8893 1217 to discuss your best options and how to best prepare for your court date.

I have received a fine for negligent driving. Should I pay the fine or take the matter to court?

You may have been charged with negligent driving only and are considering having your negligent driving matter decided in court due to the fact that you do not believe you were at fault in the incident. Alternatively, you accept that you were at fault, however if you pay for the negligent driving fine it will cause you to exceed your demerit points and you will lose your licence which you require for work or other important reasons.

Before you decide whether or not to have your matter heard in court, there are some important things you need to know.

Firstly, if you have received a penalty notice for negligent driving only (without occasioning grievous bodily harm or death), then you will only be required to pay a certain amount for the penalty while also incurring some demerit points. This means that your driver’s licence will only be suspended if the demerit points cause you to exceed your demerit point limit.

However, if you decide to have the matter decided in court and you are convicted of the offence of negligent driving, the maximum penalty that may be imposed is $1,100 as well as incurring a possible licence disqualification period if the court chooses to do so.

If you have decided to have the matter decided in court, then see below for the options that are available to you.

I have to go to court for negligent driving. What are my options?

Plead not guilty

If you have been charged with the offence of negligent driving and you are unsure whether or not you are guilty of the offence, it is important to speak with an experienced traffic lawyer who has dealt with these types of offences to discuss your matter.

Before you decide to enter a plea of guilty, it is important to know what the prosecution and police are required to prove in order to find you guilty of the offence.

In the case of negligent driving, the law in NSW states that you are guilty of the offence if it can be shown that:

  • You were driving a vehicle; and
  • You did not exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent driver would exercise in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm:

The prosecution will also need to prove that another person suffered serious or permanent injury which will cause the victim ongoing problems. This includes permanent and serious disfigurement, broken bones or internal damage.

If you have been charged with negligent driving occasioning death:

The prosecution must also prove that you caused the death of another person.

The above elements must be proven by the prosecution ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to find you guilty. Should the prosecution be unable to, you will be found not guilty of the offence.

It is important to discuss your case with an experienced traffic lawyer if you have been charged with any of these offences so that you may become aware of any potential defences and arguments that may be available to you in order to prove that you are not guilty of the offence of negligent driving.

Defences that may be available to you may include, for example, where the manner in which you were driving was not negligent and you were exercising a reasonable degree of care and attention given the circumstances.

If there is a defence available to you, then your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution and have your charges dropped and dismissed before the matter proceeds to court.

Call Rezae & Co Lawyers today on 02 8893 1217 to discuss your case and decide how to proceed with your case to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Plead guilty

If you have accepted the police’s version of events and you do not wish to fight the charges of negligent driving that are against you, you may choose to plead guilty early on to try to receive a discount on sentence and to avoid more harsher penalties. In most cases, this shows that you are remorseful for what has occurred and you have accepted full responsibility for your actions.

This normally results in a less harsh punishment than if you were to enter a plea of not guilty, fight the charges and ultimately be found guilty by the courts.

You should also be aware of what the penalties are for negligent driving.

If you retain an experienced lawyer who has knowledge of court proceedings and the factors that the court may take into account when determining your outcome, the severeness of the penalty may be reduced.

What are the penalties for negligent driving?

Maximum penalties differ depending on not only the different degrees of negligent driving, but also whether or not you have committed another ‘major’ driving offence within the last 5 years.

If you have committed another offence within the last 5 years and you have now been charged with negligent driving, then this will be counted as a ‘second and subsequent’ offence.

The maximum penalties for the different degrees of negligent driving in NSW, if convicted, are as follows:

Negligent driving

  • Maximum fine of $1,100.
  • Licence disqualification of up to 12 months (if the court decides to disqualify your licence).

Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

First offence:

  • Maximum fine of $2,200.
  • 9 months imprisonment.
  • Minimum period of licence disqualification of 12 months.

Second and subsequent offence:

  • Maximum fine of $3,300.
  • 12 months imprisonment.
  • Minimum period of licence disqualification of 2 years.

Negligent driving occasioning death

First offence:

  • Maximum fine of $3,300.
  • 18 months imprisonment.
  • Minimum period of licence disqualification of 12 months.

Second and subsequent offence:

  • Maximum fine of $5,500.
  • 2 years imprisonment.
  • Minimum period of licence disqualification of 2 years.

However, these are the ‘maximum penalties’ only for each offence. The degree and severity of your penalty will depend on all the circumstances of your case as well as your subjective circumstances. That is, certain factors such as the level of seriousness of the offence and your prior criminal and traffic history.

Negligent Driving Lawyers in Sydney and Parramatta

To increase your chances of receiving a lenient outcome, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal and traffic lawyer who has knowledge of how the court proceedings work as well as the factors that a court may take into consideration when dealing with your case. An experienced criminal and traffic lawyer in NSW can provide you with advice on what steps you should take to ensure your chances of receiving a favourable outcome are increased.

Rezae & Co Lawyers are specialists in negligent driving cases and have received countless results that our clients have been happy with. Rezae & Co Lawyers can provide you with a free consultation and can be contacted on 02 8893 1217.

Page Author: Saba Rezae - Traffic Lawyer Sydney

Saba Rezae is our Principal Lawyer and founder of Rezae & Co Lawyers who has practised exclusively in criminal and traffic law for several years. His exceptional results and ability to provide legal service at the highest standard saw him head-hunted by the largest specialist criminal law firms in NSW and was quickly promoted to Senior Lawyer before establishing his own practice.

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