Reckless driving occurs when an individual drives in a manner that possesses ‘obvious and serious risk of causing physical injury to any other road user or substantial damage to property.’ This definition would therefore extend to scenarios where individuals drive at a dangerous speed or in a furious manner.
For an individual to be deemed guilty of an offence, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
- That you drove a vehicle on a public road
- That you drove in a manner that creates an obvious and serious risk of causing physical injury to other road users or property
The penalties for driving recklessly vary depending on whether or not the offence was a repeat offence.
For first time offenders, section 117 of the Crimes Act stipulates a maximum fine of $2,200 and/or a maximum prison sentence of 9 months.
Furthermore, there is also an automatic disqualification period of three years. However, the Court can reduce this to a minimum of 12 months if there are good reasons to do so. These good reasons carry a mitigating effect and could range from demonstrating a strong need for a licence or a clean driving and traffic record.
If the offence is the second or more of ‘major traffic offences’ conducted within the last five years, the courts will impose a harsher maximum penalty $3,300, imprisonment for 12 months and a 5-year licence disqualification which can be reduced to a minimum of 2 years.
Alternative penalties that the court can impose also include:
- Conditional Release Order
- Community Correction Order
- Intensive Correction Order.