Section 51A Crimes Act | Predatory Driving


Being charged with predatory driving can be a stressful experience, particularly if you are concerned about how losing your license might impact your ability to work or care for your family.

However, you can give yourself the best chance of fighting the charges by understanding how the law works and getting advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Predatory driving refers to situations where you are following or driving close to another vehicle and you do something that threatens or causes an accident with the intention of causing someone in the other vehicle ‘actual bodily harm.’

Actual bodily harm means harm that is ‘more than merely transient or trifling,’ such as bruises and scratches.

Section 51A of the Crimes Act says that the maximum penalty for predatory driving is five years imprisonment.

While this may seem extremely harsh, it’s important to remember that this is a maximum penalty and it will only apply in the most serious predatory driving cases.

With an experienced criminal lawyer on your side, you can give yourself the best chance at fighting the charges to secure a positive outcome.

For more information about the offence of ‘predatory driving,’ see our predatory driving offence page. 

The Legislation

Section 51A of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of “predatory driving” and reads as follows:

51A Predatory driving

(1) The driver of a vehicle who, while in pursuit of or travelling near another vehicle:

(a) engages in a course of conduct that causes or threatens an impact involving the other vehicle, and

(b) intends by that course of conduct to cause a person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm,

is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(2) This section does not take away the liability of any person to be prosecuted for or found guilty of an offence under this Act or of any other offence, or affect the punishment that may be imposed for any such offence. However, a person who:

(a) has been convicted or acquitted of an offence under this section cannot be prosecuted for any other offence under this Act on the same, or substantially the same, facts, or

(b) has been convicted or acquitted of any other offence under this Act cannot be prosecuted for an offence under this section on the same, or substantially the same, facts.

(3) In this section: “impact” involving a vehicle includes:

(a) an impact with any other vehicle or with a person or object, or

(b) the vehicle overturning or leaving a road.

“vehicle” has the same meaning it has in section 52A.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we practice exclusively in the areas of criminal and traffic law.

Our in-depth knowledge of these areas of the law, coupled with our long and proud history of fighting and winning predatory driving cases, gives us a cutting-edge advantage when it comes to representing our clients in court.

Our dedicated lawyers will carefully examine all the evidence to identify problems with the prosecution case, which, if raised at an early stage, may result in the charges being dropped outside of court.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our expert advocates will give you the best possible representation in court by examining all relevant witnesses and putting forth all evidence that supports your case.

In many of these cases, we’ve even been able to help our clients obtain what is known as a ‘section 10,’ which is where you are found guilty of the offence, but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record, and you get to keep your license.

So for the best possible legal representation in your predatory driving case, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first appointment with one of our traffic law specialists.