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Section 52A Crimes Act 1900
Dangerous Driving

Read on for more information.

Section 52A of the Crimes Act is the offence of Dangerous Driving and is extracted below.

If you are Charged with Dangerous Driving and require Expert Legal Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a Free First Conference.

If you wish to plead ‘not guilty’, our Senior Criminal Lawyers will fight hard to prove your innocence in court.

If you wish to plead ‘guilty’, we will use our vast experience to get you the best possible result in the circumstances, including ‘section 10 dismissals or conditional release orders’ where possible (no criminal record / conviction).

Read on for more information.

The Legislation

Section 52A of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Dangerous Driving’ and reads as follows:

52A Dangerous driving: substantive matters

(1) Dangerous driving occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous driving occasioning death if the vehicle driven by the person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of another person and the driver was, at the time of the impact, driving the vehicle:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death if the person commits the offence of dangerous driving occasioning death in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

(3) Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm if the vehicle driven by the person is involved in an impact occasioning grievous bodily harm to another person and the driver was, at the time of the impact, driving the vehicle:
(a) under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug, or
(b) at a speed dangerous to another person or persons, or
(c) in a manner dangerous to another person or persons.
A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

(4) Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm A person is guilty of the offence of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm if the person commits the offence of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm in circumstances of aggravation. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 11 years.

(5) When vehicle is involved in impact–generally For the purposes of this section, the circumstances in which a vehicle is involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person include if the death or harm is occasioned through any of the following:
(a) the vehicle overturning or leaving a road while the person is being conveyed in or on that vehicle (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(b) an impact between any object and the vehicle while the person is being conveyed in or on that vehicle (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(c) an impact between the person and the vehicle,
(d) the impact of the vehicle with another vehicle or an object in, on or near which the person is at the time of the impact,
(e) an impact with anything on, or attached to, the vehicle,
(f) an impact with anything that is in motion through falling from the vehicle,
(g) the person falling from the vehicle, or being thrown or ejected from the vehicle, while being conveyed in or on the vehicle (whether as a passenger or otherwise),
(h) an impact between any object (including the ground) and the person, as a consequence of the person (or any part of the person) being or protruding outside the vehicle, while the person is being conveyed in or on the vehicle (whether as a passenger or otherwise).

(6) When vehicle is involved in causing other impacts For the purposes of this section, a vehicle is also involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person if:
(a) the death or harm is occasioned through the vehicle causing an impact between other vehicles or between another vehicle and any object or person or causing another vehicle to overturn or leave a road, and
(b) the prosecution proves that the vehicle caused the impact.

(7) Circumstances of aggravation In this section, “circumstances of aggravation” means any circumstances at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm in which:
(a) the prescribed concentration of alcohol was present in the accused’s breath or blood, or
(b) the accused was driving the vehicle concerned on a road at a speed that exceeded, by more than 45 kilometres per hour, the speed limit (if any) applicable to that length of road, or
(c) the accused was driving the vehicle to escape pursuit by a police officer, or
(d) the accused’s ability to drive was very substantially impaired by the fact that the accused was under the influence of a drug (other than intoxicating liquor) or a combination of drugs (whether or not intoxicating liquor was part of that combination).

(8) Defences It is a defence to any charge under this section if the death or grievous bodily harm occasioned by the impact was not in any way attributable (as relevant):
(a) to the fact that the person charged was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug or a combination of drugs, or
(b) to the speed at which the vehicle was driven, or
(c) to the manner in which the vehicle was driven.

(9) Definitions In this section:”drug” has the same meaning as it has in the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.”object” includes an animal, building, structure, earthwork, embankment, gutter, stormwater channel, drain, bridge, culvert, median strip, post or tree.”prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grammes or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.”road” means:
(a) a road or road related area within the meaning of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005 (other than a road or road related area that is the subject of a declaration made under section 15 (1) (b) of that Act relating to all of the provisions of that Act), or
(b) any other place.
“vehicle” means:
(a) any motor car, motor carriage, motor cycle or other vehicle propelled wholly or partly by volatile spirit, steam, gas, oil, electricity, or by any other means other than human or animal power, or
(b) a horse-drawn vehicle,
whether or not it is adapted for road use, but does not mean a vehicle used on a railway or tramway.

52AA Dangerous driving: procedural matters

(1) Presumption as to intoxication For the purposes of section 52A, the accused is conclusively presumed to be under the influence of liquor if the prosecution proves that the prescribed concentration of alcohol was present in the accused’s breath or blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm.

(2) Evidence of intoxication–alcohol For the purposes of section 52A, evidence may be given of the concentration of alcohol present in the accused’s blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm occurring at a place that is not a road or road related area within the meaning of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005 (other than a road or road related area that is the subject of a declaration made under section 15 (1) (b) of that Act relating to all of the provisions of that Act) as determined by a blood analysis carried out in accordance with Division 4 or 4A of Part 2 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.

(3) Time of intoxication A concentration of alcohol determined by the means referred to in subsection (2) is taken to be the concentration of alcohol in the accused’s blood at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm:
(a) if the blood sample that was analysed was taken within 2 hours after the impact, and
(b) unless the accused proves that the concentration of alcohol in the accused’s blood at the time of the impact was less than the prescribed concentration of alcohol.

(3A) Evidence of intoxication–drugs For the purposes of section 52A, evidence may be given of the concentration of a drug (other than alcohol) present in the accused’s blood or urine at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm occurring at a place that is not a road or road related area within the meaning of the Road Transport (General) Act 2005 (other than a road or road related area that is the subject of a declaration made under section 15 (1) (b) of that Act relating to all of the provisions of that Act) as determined by a blood or urine analysis carried out in accordance with Division 4 or 4A of Part 2 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999.

(3B) Time of intoxication A concentration of a drug (other than alcohol) determined by the means referred to in subsection (3A) is taken to be the concentration of the drug in the accused’s blood or urine at the time of the impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm:
(a) if the blood or urine sample that was analysed was taken within 4 hours after the impact, and
(b) unless the accused proves that there was no such drug in the accused’s blood or urine at the time of the impact.

(4) Alternative verdicts If on the trial of a person who is indicted for murder or manslaughter or for an offence under section 53 or 54 the jury is satisfied that the person is guilty of an offence under section 52A, it may find the accused guilty of the offence under section 52A, and the accused is liable to punishment accordingly.

(5) Question of aggravation If on the trial of a person for an offence under section 52A (2) or (4) the jury is not satisfied that the accused is guilty of the offence charged, but is satisfied on the evidence that the accused is guilty of an offence under section 52A (1) or (3), it may find that the accused is guilty of the offence under section 52A (1) or (3), and the accused is liable to punishment accordingly.

(6) Double jeopardy This section does not take away the liability of any person to be prosecuted for or found guilty of murder, manslaughter or 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 section 52A cannot be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter or for any other offence under this Act on the same, or substantially the same, facts, or
(b) has been convicted or acquitted of murder or manslaughter or of any other offence under this Act cannot be prosecuted for an offence under section 52A on the same, or substantially the same, facts.

(7) Definitions In this section:”prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grammes or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

Recent Cases

Client Avoids Conviction after Police Pursuit at 216km/h

Police pursuit, also known as ‘Skye’s law’, is treated seriously by the courts.

The latest sentencing statistics for Skye’s law cases show that 933 cases came before the courts in the past 4 years.

Of those cases, 387 people were sent to prison (41%), 177 received ‘suspended prison sentences’ (19%), 155 received good behaviour bonds with a criminal conviction (ie ‘section 9 bonds’, 16%) and 125 received community service orders (13%).

Only 1 person out of 933 avoided a criminal conviction by getting a ‘section 10’; which means guilty but no criminal record.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® recently represented a 27 year dentist whose job involves travelling long distances between various locations.

She was driving between appointments at a speed of 213kp/h in a 110kp/h zone when she saw the flashing lights of a police car behind her.

She initially slowed down but then sped up to a speed of 216kp/h in an attempt to evade police.

She was chased for 6 km before she slowed down to a stop.

She was charged with (1) Dangerous driving not occasioning death / GBH, (2) Police pursuit (Skye’s law), and (3) Speeding by over 45 km/h

She had a strong need for a driver licence and, under the direction of our Senior Lawyer Jimmy Singh, completed the Traffic Offender Program and obtained an excellent report from our recommended psychologist.

Reference letters were also obtained indicating that a criminal conviction could have impeded her future career prospects.

Mr Singh managed to persuade police to drop the charges of ‘dangerous driving’ and ‘speeding by over 45km/h’ and our client pleaded guilty to ‘police pursuit’ only.

He also managed to significantly amend the police ‘facts’.

Mr Singh then persuasively presented the case in court and succeeded in convincing the Presiding Magistrate not to record a conviction against our client by awarding her a ‘section 10’.

This also means that there is no licence disqualification and no fine.

Our client is free to get on with her life and her career.

Not Guilty of all charges including Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death

A Jury in Downing Centre District Court found our 22 year old client 'not guilty' of all charges after a hard-fought two week trial involving extensive expert evidence.

Our client faced charges of Aggravated Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death, Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death, Negligent Driving Occasioning Death and Police Pursuit ('Skye's Law').

The charges arose from an incident on 19th February 2011 when our client and another young man were travelling on a motorcycle owned by our client at detected speeds of more than 120km/h in a 50km/h zone on River Road, Greenwich NSW.

They travelled past a stationary roadside RBT and police began a pursuit.

Their motorcycle lost control and crashed, tragically causing the young man's death.

The prosecution alleged that our client was the rider and the deceased was the passenger.

They relied upon the police in-car footage, eye-witness testimony and expert pharmacological and accident reconstruction evidence.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® engaged experts to contradict that evidence and succeeded in having parts of the prosecution material excluded.

The jury unanimously found our client not guilty of all charges.

Not Guilty of Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death

A 26 year old Belrose man was found 'not guilty' of all driving charges in Downing Centre Court, after the prosecution could not disprove that his loss of control and collision might have been caused by mechanical failure.

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