Hooning, Reckless Driving & Dangerous Driving
If you have been charged with a reckless or dangerous driving (hoon driving) offence, then your drivers licence, vehicle or freedom is at stake. It is strongly advised that you contact an experienced Traffic Lawyer to represent you.
The Western Australian Government has taken an even tougher stance on reckless driving and hoons, with recent changes to the law in 2016 giving harsher penalties to anyone caught driving dangerously – even if it’s your first offence. A consultation with a knowledgeable solicitor is a good first step in understanding the court process, determining possible defences as well as the likely outcome of your matter.
Reckless & Dangerous Driving
Reckless driving is wilfully driving at a high speed and/or in a manner which is inherently dangerous or, alternatively, dangerous to any person or the public in the circumstances. This includes:
- Speeding in excess of 45 km/h over the speed limit
- Driving a motor vehicle at 155 km/h or over
Reckless Driving or "hoon driving" may include circumstances involving street racing, burnouts, and sometimes road rage/intimidation. The concept of dangerous driving has been defined in the High Court of Australia in the case of McBride as follows:
“The concept… requires some serious breach of the proper conduct of a vehicle upon the highway, so serious as to be in reality and not speculatively, potentially dangerous to others”.
The Road Traffic Act 1974 provides harsh penalties for the offence of reckless driving, including lengthy disqualification periods of your drivers license and in some cases imprisonment. A third conviction for the offence will result in a life time disqualification of your licence. Can you afford to lose your ability to drive?
Reckless Driving Penalties:
- First Offence: maximum fine of 120 Penalty Units ($6,000) or imprisonment for 9 months; as well as a period of licence disqualification for minimum of 6 months
- Second Offence: maximum fine of 180 Penalty Units ($9,000) or imprisonment for 9 months; as well as a period of licence disqualification for minimum of 12 months
- Third Offence: maximum fine of 240 Penalty Units ($12,000) or imprisonment for 12 months; and permanent disqualification of drivers licence.
Dangerous Driving Penalties:
- First Offence: maximum fine of 60 Penalty Units ($3,000)
- Subsequent Offences: maximum fine of 120 Penalty Units ($6,000) or imprisonment for 9 months; as well as a period of licence disqualification for minimum of 12 months
Circumstances Of Aggravation & Failing To Stop
The legislation now provides for mandatory imprisonment for the offence of reckless driving committed in circumstances of aggravation by failing to stop during the course of a police pursuit, and carries a maximum of 5 years imprisonment if dealt with in the District Court or maximum or 2 years imprisonment if dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court. If you have been charged with the offence of reckless driving it is vital that you receive legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
The offence of aggravated reckless driving committed in circumstances where the offender was driving the vehicle concerned to escape pursuit by a police officer is considered a crime, and carries a mandatory statutory minimum of 6 months imprisonment. First and second time offenders will lose their licence for a minimum of 2 years. For a third or subsequent offence, the court will impose a lifetime ban on holding or obtaining a licence.
Dangerous Driving offences involving a situation where the offender was driving the vehicle concerned to escape pursuit by a police officer carry a maximum fine of 720 Penalty Units ($36,000) or imprisonment for 3 years, and a minimum licence disqualification of 2 years.
New laws have been introduced that give police the power to impound a vehicle if they believe a driver has committed the offence of Reckless Driving. The police can impound the vehicle immediately or within 28 days, and if not taken straight away then the police can serve a surrender notice telling the owner to surrender the vehicle within 7 days.
The vehicle will be impounded for a minimum of 28 days for first offences, or a minimum of 3 months for a subsequent offence. The driver is also responsible for all of the impounding fees including towing and storage.
Dangerous Driving Causing Death Or Grievous Bodily Harm
For an offence of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm the maximum penalty is 7 years of imprisonment if determined on indictment by a Judge in the District Court and 14 years if the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation.
In order to attain a conviction on these charges the prosecution bear the onus of proving a number of elements of the charge. The law in respect of dangerous driving is far from straight forward and complex issues often arise. In these cases it is essential to seek the professional help of an experienced, and determined criminal defence lawyer to guide you through the judicial process and work by your side to achieve a positive outcome for your case.
If you are or have been charged with a traffic or driving offence don’t hesitate to call the law offices of Andrew Williams in Perth today.
What Should I Do Now?
Andrew Williams traffic lawyers are based in Perth and understand that being charged with a criminal offence can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. We provide direct and open communication, sound advice and high level advocacy and representation in all Western Australian courts. Andrew Williams Lawyers explore every possible avenue to ensure that each client is presented a staunch and comprehensive defence.
Andrew Williams represents clients in all courts for criminal and traffic related charges, including drink driving, assault or drugs charges. As an experienced traffic and driving offence lawyer, Andrew is passionate and determined in attaining the best possible outcome for his clients charged with a criminal offence. He is a phone call away and will provide sensible, easy to understand legal advice as well as committed and determined representation on all traffic and driving offence matters.