When Careless Driving Becomes Aggravated

When Careless Driving Becomes Aggravated

If you are charged with a traffic offence, you may face a range of charges. These vary from a fine and/or demerit points to losing your licence or even going to prison. This can have a huge effect on your life and your ability to hold a job.

By speaking to the best traffic lawyers in Brisbane, you may be able to improve the outcome.

Traffic offences include:

  • Speeding
  • Drink or drug driving
  • Driving without a license or while disqualified
  • Disobeying a red light
  • Driving without due care
  • Dangerous driving

Careless driving (driving without due care)

Section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 states that a person commits an offence if he or she drives a motor vehicle or a road or elsewhere:-

  • without due care and attention; or
  • without reasonable consideration for other persons using that road or place.

You can be charged with careless driving in circumstances where your concentration is impaired. Perhaps you are distracted by a mobile phone and have a collision, or you are eating while driving and fail to stop at a stop sign, or you skid in wet conditions and end up in a ditch or hit a tree. It is often charged at the same time as a second offence such as running a red light or crossing double centre lines.

It is often confused with dangerous driving, but they are not the same charge. Dangerous driving is a criminal offence, while careless driving is a traffic offence. Dangerous driving carries heavier penalties, although both can result in a term of imprisonment.

Aggravated careless driving

In 2018, the law was amended to introduce ‘circumstances of aggravation’ to the offence of careless driving.

If a circumstance of aggravation is proven, you may be liable to face a higher maximum penalty. A mandatory minimum penalty may also apply. Circumstances of aggravation include:

  • Driving that causes the death or grievous bodily harm of another person
  • Driving without due care while unlicensed


The maximum penalty for (non-aggravated) careless driving is 40 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

Penalties increase and are compounded if there is a circumstance of aggravation.

If you cause the death or grievous bodily harm of another person, the penalty is 80 penalty units or 1 year’s imprisonment. If you cause death or grievous bodily harm while also unlicensed, it doubles again to 160 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.

The court may disqualify you from holding a licence if the Magistrate deems it appropriate.

If you are convicted of careless driving in aggravated circumstances, there is a mandatory disqualification period of at least 6 months. This can be increased at the discretion of the Magistrate.

When considering the penalty, a court may take into account:

  • Any previous traffic record
  • Your age
  • The specific circumstances and manner of driving in question
  • Your overall character

If you’ve been charged with careless driving, or aggravated careless driving, it’s vital that you get early legal advice. As some of the best traffic lawyers in Brisbane, we can help you make your case to the court. You may be able to achieve a more lenient penalty or even have the charge downgraded. Call us on (07) 3188 5626 today.