This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.

What is Careless Driving?

In Queensland it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle carelessly, also commonly known as driving without due care. 

The Police must prove that you were not driving carefully and in a way that showed reasonable consideration for other road users.   It is important to note that you can be charged with careless driving even if you are driving on private property, or if there are no other cars involved. 

You can be charged with the offence of careless driving regardless if you have caused an accident or not. If you have caused an accident as a result of your driving it will be found to be an aggravating factor, making the charge more serious. 

You can be charged with careless driving if you have caused an accident that has resulted in injury to another person or death, however more serious charges such as Dangerous Driving are more common when serious injury or death is caused. 

Maximum Penalty for Careless Driving

The charge of careless driving holds a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of 40 penalty units. 

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person AND it was an unlicensed driver at the time of committing the offence it holds a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment or 160 penalty units. 

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person it holds a maximum penalty of 1 years imprisonment or 80 penalty units. 

The Court is not required to impose a period of disqualification, however has discretion to impose a period of disqualification if they believe it is warranted. Disqualification can range from 1 month to an absolute disqualification. 

Absolute disqualification means you are disqualified for a minimum of 2 years, after the period of 2 years you can apply to have your licence reinstated. 

Careless Driving Penalties 

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Careless Driving, then the court could impose one of the following penalties:

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time);
  • Intensive Corrections Order;
  • Probation;
  • Community Service Order;
  • Fines.

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.

Possible Defences to Careless Driving 

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are;

  • Necessity;
  • Mistake of Fact;
  • Public Safety;
  • Self Defence or defence of another person;
  • Intoxication;
  • Provocation;
  • Accident;
  • Duress;
  • Compulsion;
  • Insanity;
  • Automatism

Which Court will your Careless Driving matter be heard in?

The charge Careless Driving will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.   

You can possibly reduce your sentence by completing an online traffic safety course like the Rate Program.