What are the penalties for culpable driving?
In Victoria, the penalty for culpable driving causing death is severe and a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment is prescribed. While this is the maximum sentence, the sentencing exercise of a court takes into account the circumstances of the offence, the offender’s criminal history and other relevant factors to determine a just sentence that will often be far less than the maximum set by statute.
The court will likely take to opportunity to disqualify the offender from driving for a significant period of time and will consider impounding or immobilizing the offender’s vehicle.
Elements of culpable driving causing death
The offence of culpable driving causing death has the following elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to convict an accused.
- The accused was driving a motor vehicle at the time of the incident
- The driving was done in a manner that was dangerous and created a significant risk of death or serious injury
- The accused knew or ought to have known that the driving was dangerous and created a significant risk of death or serious injury
- The driving caused the death of another person.
If the prosecution can prove these elements, then the accused may be found guilty of culpable driving causing death. Anyone facing charges of this kind should immediately seek legal advice.