Reckless Conduct Endangering Life

If you have been charged with reckless conduct endangering life, here is some information to know and consider in seeking legal advice with Emma Turnbull Lawyers.

Elements of the offence

For the prosecution to prove the offence of reckless conduct endangering life, they must satisfy five elements of the offence. They can be found in s 22 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) and are as follows:

  1. The accused engaged in conduct;
  2. The accused’s conduct was voluntary;
  3. The accused’s conduct endangered another person’s life;
  4. The accused acted recklessly; and
  5. The accused acted without lawful justification or defence.

Will I have to go to court?

Charges for reckless conduct endangering life will usually be tried summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.

However, depending on the circumstances of the offence, the case may be heard in a higher court; expert legal advice is important in ensuring the most appropriate defence to a charge of reckless conduct endangering life.

It is unlikely that a charge for reckless conduct endangering life will go to a trial with a jury; it will usually be heard by a Magistrate or Judge.

Once the case goes to court, it is up to the prosecution to prove all five elements of the offence. It is important that you seek expert legal advice in building a defence as the circumstances of the events that led to the charge can assist in a strong defence argument.

Maximum penalty:

The maximum penalty this offence carries is 10 years imprisonment, known as a Level 5 imprisonment.

What sentences are usually given?

Between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2016, 146 people were sentenced with reckless conduct endangering life as a listed offence. From that number, 71% were given imprisonment sentences, with a maximum term of 6.5 years. The median length of an imprisonment sentence was 3 years.

Non-imprisonment sentences included Community Corrections Orders (7.6%) and partially suspended sentences (5.7%).

What do I do now?

To ensure the best chance of a successful defence, it is important to get in contact with an expert criminal lawyer as soon as possible. At Emma Turnbull Lawyers, we have experienced criminal defence lawyers who can assist you in defending this charge.