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Driving at a Dangerous Speed

Driving at a dangerous speed is an offence under Section 117(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You drove a motor vehicle, and
  2. You drove at a speed that was dangerous to the public

Exceeding the speed limit is not enough by itself to establish the offence rather, the court must determine whether the speed you were travelling created a real and present danger to members of the public.

When making that determination, the court must consider:

  1. The nature, condition and use of the road at the time
  2. The amount of traffic on the road at the time, or which might reasonably be expected on the road at that time, and
  3. Any obstructions or hazards on the road at the time

A passenger in your car is considered to be a member of the public for the purposes of the offence.

If it is your first major traffic offence in the past 5 years the maximum penalty is:

  1. 9 months in prison
  2. A 3 year ‘automatic’ licence disqualification, which the court can reduce to 12 months, and
  3. A fine of $2,200

If it is your second or more major traffic offence in the past 5 years the maximum penalty is:

  1. 12 months in prison
  2. A 5 year automatic licence disqualification, which the court can reduce to 2 years, and
  3. A fine of $3,300

However, there will be no criminal record, licence disqualification or fine where the court deals with you by way of:

  1. A Section 10(1)(a) dismissal, or
  2. A Conditional release order without a conviction

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Necessity
  2. Duress, and
  3. Automatism

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