If you’ve been charged with dangerous driving, you’re probably feeling quite worried at the moment and you might be wondering if what you did was enough to be found guilty of the offence. The real question is: What counts as dangerous driving?
It’s a frustrating offence because there’s no black and white answer. There’s no list of “This behavior is always dangerous” and “This behavior is not” – it really comes down to the circumstances of your case, and so ultimately it’s going to be a judgment call that’s made by the magistrate or the judge as to whether they think you’ve crossed that line.
What does the judge have to be satisfied of?
To find you guilty of dangerous driving, they need to decide that what you did was in a real sense potentially dangerous to a person who, as a member of the public, may have been either on the road or near it.
The judge or magistrate are going to have to take into account a whole range of factors when making that decision. They’re going to look at what the weather conditions and the roads were like and how many people could be expected to be on the road at that time.
The judge and magistrate will of course bear in mind that driving is always inherently risky, so to be found guilty of the offence, they need to be satisfied that what you did was so far above the normal level of risk that it constituted a real danger.
The other thing to bear in mind is that there doesn’t need to be a collision or an injury to be found guilty of dangerous driving. The court’s really looking at the risk rather than the result.
What this all comes down to is that the examples that we have from previous cases where people have been found from dangerous driving cover a whole range of different scenarios.
On the very bottom end, minor things like the simple loss of attention, missing a sign and going through a red light – things like that have in the past been found to be dangerous driving.
At the other end, you have people who are doing obviously very dangerous things like hooning about, going onto the wrong side of the road, and generally just having a disregard for other people’s safety.
When you’ve been charged with an offence like this, it’s really difficult without knowing the full situation whether or not what you have done crosses that line.
If you have found yourself charged for dangerous driving, feel free to give us a call. If you can show us the paperwork from the place and tell us what’s happened, we can help you make an assessment as to whether or not you’re likely to be found guilty, or hopefully, you have a defence.