So you have just been
involved in a car accident.
You're aware that people in your car and the other vehicle are
hurt. How seriously, you don't know.
You were the driver of one of the vehicles and naturally you're
concerned about the safety of your passengers and all those
involved. You should first contact police an ambulance.
Then you are approached by police
about allegations of the way you were driving. The police are
alleging that you were speeding prior to the accident. You
should be aware that anything that you do say to police can be used
against you. So it's important that you are aware of your
rights when speaking to police. For more info on this, see
our blog on "
speaking with police".
The police are looking at charges ranging from driving without due
care, driving in a manner dangerous to the public to causing death
or injury by dangerous driving.
If you are charged and arrested your mind immediately races and
panic sets in. The first question that comes to mind is "will
I go to jail?"
The most important point to remember is that if you have been
charged with one of the above offences, in criminal law, you are
innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof
to find you guilty must be beyond reasonable doubt. That is
the Police and Prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt
that all the objective elements of the offence
have been satisfied. This is an extremely high burden.
Driving offences are treated seriously by the Courts.
The maximum penalties available for the more serious driving
matters such as cause death by dangerous driving is 15 years
imprisonment and a mandatory loss of licence of minimum 10
But if the charges allege that your driving was sufficiently severe
there may be an "aggravating" feature added to the charge, which
increases the maximum penalty to life imprisonment.
What constitutes an aggravating feature?
- Driving to escape police pursuit
- Driving whilst disqualified
- Driving with a concentration of .08 grams or above of
- Prolonged and persistent deliberate court record of very bad
So will I go to jail?
Unfortunately, there is no clear cut definition as to when a person
goes to jail. Each case is determined on its merits and no two
cases are the same. However, the more serious the charges are the
greater likelihood of receiving a term of imprisonment. It should
be noted that we are seeing more and more people who have been
charged with cause death by dangerous driving and cause injury by
dangerous driving, the Courts are imposing immediate terms of
If you are unfortunate enough to be charged with serious driving
offences causing harm or death of another person, the repercussions
can be grave.
At Andersons we have a dedicated team of professionals with
experience in serious criminal motor vehicle matters, ranging from
driving without due care right up to causing death by dangerous
driving. We understand that the criminal justice system can be
daunting and intimidating to those on the outside, which is why our
team will assist you through all aspects of your matter, from
dealing and liaising with Prosecution, working through the Court
process and everything in between.
Most importantly, if you've been charged with serious driving
offences, get experienced legal advice. Visit our Criminal Department for more information on
the Andersons Criminal & Police matters team or get in touch
with the writers of this blog, Jason Coluccio and Maddalena Romano for a chat
or to seek advice and assistance.
Please note, this Blog is posted in Adelaide, South Australia.
It relates to South Australian legislation.