Predatory driving – s 51A Crimes Act 1900
Predatory driving refers to situations where you are travelling near another vehicle and you intentionally try to cause an accident to bring about harm to another person.
It can be upsetting and stressful being charged with predatory driving, especially when you know that you are innocent.
However, you can count on the expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers to support you every step of the way and fight to protect your rights.
Pleading Not Guilty
If you believe that you are innocent, you should speak to your lawyer about entering a plea of ‘not guilty’ and fighting the charges in court.
One way in which you can fight the charges is to show that the prosecution has not been able to prove the ‘essential elements’ of the offence.
Before you can be found guilty of predatory driving, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You drove a vehicle on a public road
- You pursued another vehicle, or drove close to another vehicle
- You engaged in some kind of conduct which causes a collision, or threatens a collision with the other vehicle
- Your conduct was intended to cause another person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm
‘Actual bodily harm’ means harm that is ‘more than merely transient or trifling’ – for example, bruises and scratches, or some kind of serious psychological injury.
Unless the prosecution can prove each and every one of these elements, you will be found ‘not guilty’ of the offence.
For example, you could present evidence in court to show that your conduct was merely accidental and you did not intend to cause the other person actual bodily harm – for example, where the alleged conduct is caused by some other factor such as road or weather conditions.
You can also raise a defence to explain your actions – for example:
- Where you were coerced or threatened into driving in a predatory manner (duress)
- Where you drove in a predatory manner to prevent serious injury or danger (necessity)
If you’re considering pleading ‘not guilty,’ it’s important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options when it comes to fighting the charges in court.
If you want to accept the charges against you, you might want to consider pleading guilty as soon as possible.
Pleading guilty early in the proceedings can be advantageous, as it shows the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. This can help persuade the magistrate to give you a more lenient sentence – also known as a ‘discount’ on your sentence.
Although pleading guilty has its benefits, it’s always important to speak to an experienced traffic lawyer before entering a plea, as there may be some way to fight the charges and secure a verdict of ‘not guilty.’
If you’re thinking about pleading guilty, you might also be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face.
The maximum penalty for predatory driving is five years imprisonment.
However, this is a maximum penalty, which means that it will only apply in the most serious predatory driving cases.
The magistrate will determine the appropriate penalty in your case after considering all the facts and circumstances. They can take into account things like the extent of the collision and any injuries caused, as well as other factors such as your prior criminal record and your character.
Even if you are simply pleading guilty, it’s important to get the best lawyers on your side, as they will know how to put forth your case in the most positive way and persuade the magistrate to give you a lenient sentence.
In many cases, we’ve been able to obtain ‘section 10s’ for our clients, which is where you are found guilty of the offence but you do not get a conviction on your criminal record, and you get to keep your license.
Other penalties that the court can impose include:
- Section 10
- Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Suspended sentence
- Full-time imprisonment
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?
Being charged with predatory driving can have a negative impact on your reputation and future.
But you can trust the expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers to protect your rights and your freedom.
Our team of highly-skilled lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in predatory driving matters. Our specialist knowledge of traffic law allows us to obtain outstanding results for our clients, even in difficult or complex cases.
Over many years, we have developed methods and techniques to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.
We carefully scrutinize all the evidence to determine whether the police have enough evidence to prove that you drove in a predatory manner. If there are any issues with police evidence, we can write to them and ask that the charges be dropped or downgraded.
If your matter ends up in court, you will be represented by one of our Accredited Criminal Law Specialists – highly-skilled lawyers who have been recognized as experts in their field.
We will help you thoroughly prepare your case by obtaining all evidence to support your case and advising you of programs such as the Traffic Offenders Program. Our excellent lawyers will present your case in the most compelling light to ensure that you get the best outcome.
If you want to plead guilty, our lawyers can help you get a lenient sentence by presenting your case in the most positive light and helping you get involved in programs that can reduce your sentence.
In many cases, we have even been able to obtain section 10s for our clients – which is where you are found guilty of the offence but no conviction is recorded on your criminal record. This also means that you get to keep your license.
So don’t settle for an inexperienced legal team – call Sydney’s best traffic lawyers now on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you win your predatory driving case.
What should I do next?
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