A German tourist accused of trying to kill his girlfriend has had charges against him downgraded.

Jan Lukas Falke, 20, appeared before the High Court in Dunedin this morning where a charge of attempted murder was replaced by one of dangerous driving.

Crown prosecutor Craig Power said the decision was made to amend the charges after expert evidence became available.

The defendant allegedly tried to drive his van with his partner in it into Lake Dunstan at Italian Creek in the Cromwell Gorge on January 22 this year.

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Falke is also charged with threatening to kill the woman, assaulting a female, driving with a breath-alcohol level of 584mcg on the Cromwell-Clyde Rd and driving while forbidden.

Defence counsel Roger Eagles, of Invercargill, made no application for bail and no pleas were entered.

The case will be back before the court next month.