Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

By Doogue + George Criminal Defence Lawyers

 

The Maximum Penalty for “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” in Melbourne – How Serious is This Charge?

There is a maximum penalty of up to 5 years of imprisonment or a fine of as much as 600 penalty units for anyone found guilty of the charge of “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs”. This may apply to worst cases wherein the accident causes a death or serious injury and the driver fails to stop and/or render assistance to the victim. Other non-extreme instances have lighter maximum penalties especially if the offence is not a subsequent offending. “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” is generally considered a moderate offence. It can however become highly serious depending on the presence of aggravating circumstances. Cases that involve this charge are summarily heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

 

The legislation on “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs”

Section 61A of the Road Safety Act 1986 is the legislation for the charge of “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs. It reads as follows:

                         

Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

 

(1) If owing to the presence of a specified vehicle an accident occurs whereby any person is injured or any property (including any animal) is damaged or destroyed, the driver of the vehicle-

 

   (a)  must immediately stop the vehicle; and

 

   (b)  must immediately render such assistance as he or she can; and

 

   (c)  must at the scene of the accident as soon as possible give his or her name and address and also the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the identifying number of the vehicle (if any)-

 

          (i)  to any person who has been injured or to the owner of any property which has been damaged or destroyed; or

          (ii) to a person representing the injured person or the owner of the property; and

 

   (d)  must at the scene of the accident as soon as possible give those names and addresses to any member of the police force who is present; and

 

   (e)  if any person is injured and no member of the police force is present at the scene of the accident, must as soon as possible report in person full particulars of the accident at the police station that is most accessible from the scene of the accident if that station is open and, if it is not open, at the next most accessible station; and

 

   (f)  if any property is damaged or destroyed and neither the owner of the property nor any person representing the owner nor any member of the police force is present at the scene of the accident, must as soon as possible report in person full particulars of the accident at the police station that is most accessible from the scene of the accident if that station is open and, if it is not open, at the next most accessible station.

 

(2) If a specified vehicle, which has been left standing on a highway, moves of its own accord from the position in which it was left and is involved in an accident whereby any person is injured or any property (including any animal) is damaged or destroyed, the person who left the vehicle so standing must as soon as possible after becoming aware of the accident comply as far as the circumstances permit with the requirements of subsection (1).

 

(3) If -

 

   (a)  as a result of an accident involving a specified vehicle a person is killed or suffers serious injury; and

   (b)  the driver of the vehicle knows or ought reasonably to have known that the accident had occurred and had resulted in a person being killed or suffering serious injury; and

   (c)  the driver of the vehicle does not comply with the requirements of subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) in relation to the accident- 

the driver is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 6 imprisonment (5 years maximum) or a level 6 fine (600 penalty units maximum).

 

(4) If-

 

   (a)  as a result of the accident a person is killed or suffers serious injury then a person who contravenes subsection (1)(c), (1)(d) or (1)(e) is guilty of an offence; or

   (b)  as a result of the accident a person is otherwise injured then a person who contravenes any provision of this section is guilty of an offence-

and liable for a first offence to a penalty of not more than 40 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 4 months and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 120 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 2 months and not more than 1 year.

 

(5) If no person is killed or suffers injury as a result of the accident then a person who contravenes any provision of this section is guilty of an offence and liable for a first offence to a penalty of not more than 2·5 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 7 days and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 5 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 days and not more than 14 days.

 

(6) If a person who is convicted or found guilty of an offence against any provision of this section has at any time been convicted or found guilty of an offence against another provision of this section or any previous enactment corresponding to any of those provisions, the conviction for, or finding of guilt of, the offence against that provision is to be taken to be a conviction for, or finding of guilt of, a subsequent offence.

 

(7) The specifying by subsection (3) of fault elements for an offence against that subsection is not intended to affect the question of whether fault elements are required for any other offence against this section or any other provision of this Act.

 

(8) In this section, specified vehicle means a vehicle that is not-

 

   (a)  a motor vehicle; or

   (b)  a non-motorised wheel-chair; or

   (c)  a motorised wheel-chair that is not capable of a speed of more than 10km per hour.

 

Pleading guilty or not guilty to “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” in a Melbourne Court

The matter of whether you should plead guilty or not to the charge of “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” is best discussed with a criminal defence solicitor. Legal issues could have very severe consequences that you can best prepare for with the help of a qualified legal expert.

 

Elements of the charge of “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” in a Melbourne Court

There are various elements that must be established by the Prosecution in Court to prove the guilt for this offence. First, the defendant must have been driving a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle. An accident must have ensued and the defendant should have either (1) failed to stop, (2) failed to render assistance, (3) failed to provide the defendant’s name and address to the other party, or (4) failed to report the accident to the Police. There can also be aggravating circumstances such as the defendant causing the other person’s death or serious injury, or causing damage to the other person’s property. It will also fall under this charge if the case involves the defendant leaving a non-motor vehicle standing on a highway. If the non-motor vehicle moved of its own accord from the position where it was left and caused an accident, the defendant must – as soon as possible after becoming aware of the accident and as far as the circumstances permit – comply with the requirements stated on the legislation for this offence.

 

Defending the charge of “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in relation to this charge revolve around a factual dispute. A lawyer ensures that all facts reported to the Court are valid and accurate. Obviously, wrong facts may lead to a criminal charge being dismissed. Honest and reasonable mistake of belief is also a consideration. Other defences may further be used depending on the circumstances.

 

For more information on “Duty of Driver etc. of Vehicle that is Not a Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs”, you may visit the Australian Defence Lawyers Association site (click here) and also the Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).

 

Doogue & O’Brien Melbourne can provide you more detail about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)

http://www.criminal-lawyers.com.au/about-us/melbourne-criminal-lawyers

 

This article was written on Oct. 4, 2012 and relates to the law that it stands at this time.



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