Driving at speed dangerous to the public

Driving at speed dangerous to the public

Section 46(1) Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)

(1) A person must not drive a vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to any person.

MAXIMUM PENALTY: Imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) In considering whether an offence has been committed under this section, the court must have regard to—

(a) the nature, condition and use of the road on which the offence is alleged to have been committed; and

(b) the amount of traffic on the road at the time of the offence; and

(c) the amount of traffic which might reasonably be expected to enter the road from other roads and places; and

(d) all other relevant circumstances, whether of the same nature as those mentioned or not.

(3) If a court convicts a person of an offence against subsection (1), the following provisions apply:

(a) the court must order that the person be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence—

(i) in the case of a first offence—for such period, being not less than 12 months, as the court thinks fit; or

(ii) in the case of a subsequent offence—for such period, being not less than three years, as the court thinks fit;

(b) the DISQUALIFICAATION prescribed by paragraph (a) CANNOT BE REDUCED OR MITIGATED IN ANY WAY OR SUBSTITUTED BY ANY OTHER PENALTY UNLESS, in the case of a first offence, the court is satisfied, by evidence given on oath, that the offence is TRIFLING, in which case it may order a period of disqualification that is less than the prescribed minimum period but not less than one month.

(4) In determining whether an offence is a first or subsequent offence for the purposes of this section, only a previous offence against subsection (1) for which the defendant has been convicted that was committed within the period of five years immediately preceding the commission of the offence under consideration will be taken into account.

(5) It is a defence to a charge of an offence against this section for the defendant to prove that the defendant was, at the time of the offence—

(a) carrying out duties as an emergency worker; and

(b) acting in accordance with the directions of the defendant’s employing authority; and

(c) acting reasonably in the circumstances as the defendant believed them to be.

(6) In this section—

“emergency worker” means a police officer or a person who is an emergency worker as defined by the regulations for the purposes of this section;

“employing authority” means—

(a) in relation to a police officer—the Commissioner of Police; or

(b) in relation to a person who is an emergency worker as defined by the regulations for the purposes of this section—the person defined by the regulations as the employing authority for that person


1. You were driving a motor vehicle;

2. The vehicle was on a road; and

3. The vehicle was travelling at a speed which is dangerous to the public.

The matter will be finalised in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.


Finalising by guilty plea should only be made after speaking with one of our expert Solicitors. Matthews Lawyers has extensive expert criminal law experience and we are able to present your instructions/case to the Court, to achieve the best outcome for you. Our results speak for themselves.



Sometimes, the wrong person is charged with an offence. There may be an administrative error on the prosecution’s behalf or perhaps or the offender impersonated you. It is a complete defence to this charge if it can be shown that you were not driving the vehicle.


Speed dangerous driving is concerned with the danger, or potential danger, posed to the public. It may be the case that, despite the fact that your vehicle was travelling at a high speed, no members of the public were placed at the risk of harm as a result of your driving. If the Defence can adduce evidence to the Court to support this there is a defence to the charge.


A complete defence is available if you can show you were acting as a result of violence, or some other threat, against you which you believed at the time was real.


The common law defence of necessity operates where the circumstances at hand (natural or human threats) require you to break the law. The defence of necessity operates in medical situations where the safety of someone is at risk and without breaking the law the person will die or suffer severe medical trauma, or you drove to avoid being assaulted by another. For the defence to succeed you must believe there was imminent peril to yourself or to another.

The Court will weigh up the act you have committed against the harm that would have been experienced had you not acted in that manner. Also, the Court will need to be convinced that the act was proportionate to the potential harm.

In addition, it may be possible to have the charge downgraded to speeding, which has a lesser maximum penalty.


MISTAKE OF FACT can be relied upon if you have had your cruise control calibrated to the Australian New Zealand standard by a reputable organisation such as the RAA and you have proof that the cruise control was calibrated to the national standard – Certificate of calibration. Just as the Police need to prove their equipment – radars, speed cameras etc – are calibrated correctly, you must also show that your cruise control was calibrated correctly.


1. SUSPENDED CUSTODIAL SENTENCE Section 96(1) Sentencing Act 2017 (SA)

(1) Subject to this section, if a court has imposed a sentence of imprisonment on a defendant, the court may, if it thinks that good reason exists for doing so, suspend the sentence on condition that the defendant enter into a bond—

(a) to be of good behaviour; and

(b) to comply with the conditions of the bond referred to in subsection (2); and

(c) to comply with any other conditions of the bond as the court thinks appropriate and specifies in the bond.


An Application for Reduction of Demerit Points can be made on the basis that the offending is trifling or that there is proper cause that the offence is atypical. An Application must be made immediately after a conviction is imposed and is required to be heard by the same Magistrate who ordered the conviction.

The higher the speed the more unlikely a trifling application will succeed.

Matthews Lawyers are experts in traffic law. Our results speak for themselves. 0401269091 3/10 Gawler Street Mount Barker 5251 Call for legal advice.