When it comes to vehicle-related deaths in Queensland, understanding the legal distinctions between dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm (GBH), and manslaughter is crucial.
Both offences carry serious consequences, but they differ in their legal definitions and the circumstances under which they are applied.
Manslaughter - A Rare but Serious Charge
Manslaughter, outlined in the Criminal Code 1899 – Section 303, involves unlawfully killing another person under circumstances not constituting murder.
While seemingly uncommon in vehicle-related deaths, manslaughter charges are reserved for instances of extreme carelessness and recklessness.
It reflects a high degree of disregard for the life and safety of others, extending beyond mere negligence.
Dangerous Operation of a Vehicle - A Frequently Issued Charge
In contrast, dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, as outlined in Section 328A, is a more frequently issued charge in Queensland.
To be convicted, the prosecution must prove that the driver was operating a vehicle dangerously and that this conduct directly led to the death or grievous bodily harm of another person.
Elements of Dangerous Driving Charge
For a dangerous driving charge, the prosecution must establish three key elements:
The accused was the driver of a motor vehicle;
The accused was involved in an impact causing the death of another person; and
The accused was under the influence, driving at a dangerous speed, or driving in a dangerous manner.
Consequences of Manslaughter and Dangerous Driving
Manslaughter convictions can result in severe penalties, indicating an intentional or extremely reckless act. Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, but unlike murder, that penalty is not mandatory and can be reduced.
On the other hand, dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, depending on factors like intoxication, excessive speeding, or leaving the scene of the incident.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If faced with a dangerous driving charge, seeking prompt legal guidance is crucial. Creevey Horrell Lawyers, with expertise in criminal law, can provide the necessary assistance to navigate the legal complexities associated with these charges.
Contact Creevey Horrell Criminal Lawyers
Based in Brisbane, Roma, Toowoomba, and Townsville.
Visit www.chcriminallawyers.com.au/contact-us to contact us today.