Reckless driving refers to situations where you drive in a manner that creates an ‘obvious and serious risk of causing physical injury to any other road user or substantial damage to property.’
Reckless driving therefore includes situations where you ‘drive furiously’ or at a dangerous speed.
Reckless driving may give rise to onerous penalties that can impede your ability to work and travel, such as being disqualified from driving and even prison sentences.
However, you can give yourself the best chance at avoiding these harsh penalties by enlisting the help of an experienced traffic lawyer who has the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively fight the charges and secure a positive outcome in your case.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you’ve been charged with any offence, you will have to decide whether to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty.’
If you choose to plead ‘not guilty’, you will be able to fight the charges in court to prove your innocence.
It is important to remember that before you can be found ‘guilty’ by the court, the prosecution must prove two ‘essential elements’ beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That you drove a vehicle on a public road
- That you drove in a manner that creates an obvious and serious risk of causing physical injury to other road users or property
If you have been charged with reckless driving due to excessive speed, the police must also prove that the safety of another a member of the public, such as a passenger or another road user, was put in danger. It will not be enough for them to show that you were speeding excessively.
In determining whether you drove recklessly, the court will consider the circumstances of the offence, such as the nature, condition and use of the road, the amount of traffic or pedestrians on the road, and the manner in which you drove.
If you are unsure about whether the prosecution will be able to prove both of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, our highly experienced criminal lawyers will be able to advise you of any ways in which you can fight the charges.
We will write to police explaining your side of the story and highlighting any problems with their case. In many cases, we are able to have charges dropped at an early stage on this basis.
For example, you may be able to argue that the manner in which you drove was not dangerous, or that your actions were not dangerous in the conditions.
If the police refuse to drop the charges against you, our outstanding advocates will fight hard to protect your innocence in court by raising all relevant evidence and calling favourable witnesses who can support your case.
We can also help you raise a defence to explain or justify your actions – for example:
- Where you were coerced or threatened into driving in a reckless manner (duress)
- Where you drove in a reckless manner to avoid serious injury or danger (necessity)
- Where you were reasonably mistaken as to the road rules or speed limit (reasonable mistake of fact)
The experts at Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialise in traffic law and can give you the advice you need when it comes to fighting your ‘furious or reckless driving’ case.
If you are not willing to fight the charges in court, or if you accept the allegations against you, you can plead guilty at the beginning of the case.
Pleading guilty early on can help you get a better outcome, as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.
This often persuades the magistrate to give you a more lenient penalty than what you would have received if you were found guilty by the court.
You will also avoid the costs and time involved in a hearing or trial.
However, you should always speak to an experienced traffic lawyer before pleading guilty, as you may be able to fight the charges in some way, even if it is not obvious.
You should also be aware of the maximum penalties that you could face if you plead guilty.
The maximum penalties depend on whether it’s your first offence, or if you have committed other ‘major traffic offences’ in the past five years.
S 117 of the Crimes Act says that if it’s your first offence, you face a maximum fine of $2,200 and/or a maximum prison sentence of 9 months imprisonment.
There is also an automatic disqualification period of three years, however the Court can reduce this to the minimum of 12 months if there are good reasons to do so. Good reasons may include:
- A strong need for a licence;
- A clean traffic record.
If you have committed more than one ‘major traffic offence’ within the last five years, you will face a harsher maximum penalty $3,300, and/or imprisonment for 12 months. You will also be disqualified from driving for 12 months, however the court can impose an unlimited disqualification period.
Because these penalties are harsh and can have a serious impact on your ability to work and travel, it’s important to get the best lawyers to represent you in court.
As Sydney’s leading traffic lawyers, we pride ourselves on our ability to obtain the most favourable results in ‘furious or reckless driving’ matters, even when the charges are serious.
In many cases, our specialist traffic lawyers may even be able to convince the magistrate to deal with the matter by way of 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 licence.
The types of penalties that the court can impose include:
Losing your licence can have a massive impact on your day-to-day life; affecting your ability to work, travel and carry out everyday duties.
But with the help of an experienced traffic lawyer, you can avoid these negative consequences and minimise the impact that a reckless driving charge can have on your life.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, we have been successfully representing clients for years in reckless driving matters.
Our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists have an in-depth knowledge of traffic law, as well as the courtroom skills to ensure that your case is put forward in the most effective manner.
If you choose to plead ‘not guilty’ and fight the charges, our lawyers will thoroughly scrutinise all the evidence to find problems with the prosecution case before you end up in court. By finding issues at an early stage, we can push to have the matter dropped early on.
If you do end up in court, you can be assured that you will be represented by only our most senior defence lawyers, who have a proven track record of obtaining the best results in reckless driving cases.
Even if you simply wish to plead guilty to the charges, you can count on us to fight to get you the most lenient penalty, no matter how serious the charges.
So don’t take a gamble with your licence and your future – call the traffic law experts today on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you achieve the best result in your reckless driving case.