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Causing death or harm by dangerous driving

Any person who drives a motor vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner, at high speed, or in a manner that is dangerous to any person and as a result of that behaviour causes death or harm to another is guilty of an offence [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 19A].

Penalties for this offence are very harsh and even a first offence can carry an immediate gaol sentence. The maximum sentence for a first offence is 15 years imprisonment. If the offence is found to be an aggravated offence* or it is a second or subsequent offence, it can carry a term of life imprisonment. The penalty for this offence may also involve a disqualification of at least 10 years, or possibly longer, if a court orders.

* An aggravated offence for the purposes of this offence is an offence committed under the following circumstances:

  • the person committed the offence in the course of attempting to escape pursuit by a police officer;
  • the person was, at the time of the offence, driving a vehicle knowing that he or she was disqualified from holding a driver’s licence or his or her licence was suspended;
  • the person committed the offence as part of a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of bad driving;
  • the person committed the offence while there was present in his or her blood a blood alcohol level of 0.08 grams or more of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood;
  • the person was, at the time of the offence, driving a vehicle in contravention of s 45A (excessive speed), s 47 (driving under the influence) or s 47BA (driving with a prescribed drug in oral fluid or blood) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA).

[Criminal Law Consolidated Act 1935 (SA) s 5AA(1a)]

Causing death or harm by dangerous driving  :  Last Revised: Thu Jul 10th 2014
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