The Road Traffic Act WA as well as other Regulations set out the traffic offences relevant in Western Australia. Whilst strictly speaking they are not criminal offences, some traffic offences come with significant penalties, including mandatory imprisonment and disqualification of your licence.

 

Traffic offences such as drink driving, driving whilst under the influence of drugs, or driving without a valid licence normally attract a fine and a disqualification of your licence. The size of the fine and length of the disqualification is determined by the legislation. For offences such as these, a person may decide not to attend court as they can be dealt with in their absence. However it is the responsibility of the offender to follow up with the court, what penalty was imposed. An accused person can engage a lawyer to deal with traffic matters such as this to ensure they get the minimum fine or disqualification allowable under the legislation.

 

However, there are some, more serious offences such as; continued driving in contrary to a disqualified licence, reckless driving in circumstances of aggravation or dangerous driving that often result in more serious penalties, including imprisonment.

 

What is Reckless Driving?

 

Reckless driving is when a person drives a motor vehicle in a manner that is inherently dangerous or that is, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, dangerous to the public or to any person. Examples of reckless driving include but are not limited to when a person drives on the wrong side of the road, circumstances involving street racing, burnouts, and sometimes road rage/intimidation

or driving at a speed in excess of 45 km/h over the speed limit. Further examples include:

 

  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Distracted driving
  • Excessive speeding
  • Driving under an excessive influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Evading police
  • Road rage
  • Racing
  • Unsafe passing of others
  • Driving tired or drowsy (such as on prescribed medication)

 

What penalties associate with Reckless Driving?

 

While penalties will differ depending on the circumstances, imprisonment can be avoided in most cases of reckless driving in Western Australia. Fines are commonly imposed. The size of the fine will depend on the circumstances and importantly whether a person has any prior convictions for reckless driving.

 

  • A fine of up to $6,000 for a first offence
  • A fine of up to $9,000 for a second offence
  • A fine of up to $12,000 for any subsequent offence

 

The court has no discretion and must disqualify a person’s licence if they have been convicted of reckless driving. The court also has the power to impound the vehicle that was used in the offence or, in some circumstances, confiscate that vehicle.

 

Importantly, if you are convicted of reckless driving while attempting to evade the police, the court must impose at least 6 months imprisonment.

 

Penalties for Dangerous Driving

 

Dangerous driving is defined as “driving a motor vehicle in a manner (which expression includes speed) that is, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, dangerous to the public or any person.”

 

Like reckless driving, the penalty for this type of offence is generally a fine. Again the size of the fine will depend on the circumstances and any prior similar convictions.

 

Unlike a reckless driving conviction, a court does not have to disqualify a persons licence upon conviction of a dangerous driving conviction. The court has discretion. It may chose to disqualify a person’s licence if the circumstances are serious enough.

 

In most cases, a dangerous driving conviction will stay on your criminal record and not be removed. After 10 years however, you may apply to have the conviction spent and removed from your criminal record.

 

Contact a Lawyer

 

Some traffic offences are serious and punishable by imprisonment, and/or a fine, and/or a loss of your privilege to drive.

 

If you are charged with reckless or dangerous driving then your drivers license and potentially your livelihood, including your work opportunities can be at risk.

 

Under our traffic law, with every traffic offence conviction you receive, the penalties for the next violation may increase, therefore it is important to ensure you get the best outcome on every occasion.

 

In these cases, it is strongly advised you contact an experienced traffic or criminal lawyer to represent you.

 

If you’re after a criminal lawyer who can help you, the lawyers at Legal Pathways are experience and skilled in dealing with traffic related matters.

 

Get in touch with one of our specialist expert lawyers here, or by calling (08) 6371 8810.

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