Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

By Doogue + George Criminal Defence Lawyers

 

What’s the Maximum Penalty for “Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs” in Melbourne? How Serious is This Charge?

There is a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years or a fine of up to 1200 penalty units for a person found guilty of the charge of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs. The longest licence disqualification period that may be imposed is also 4 years. These penalties are specific to worst cases of this offence and, normally, the Courts impose lower penalties depending on the degree of criminal behaviour. The legislation for this charge cites various situations wherein this offence may apply and the corresponding maximum penalty for each situation. Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs can be a very serious offence depending on the situation that caused you to receive this charge (you may check the legislation for the various situations). The length of licence disqualification period also depends on whether the charge is your first time or if it is a subsequent offending. The Magistrates’ Court usually hears cases related to this offence.

 

The legislation on Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

Section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986 is the relevant law for Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs and is as follows:

                          

Duty of Driver etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs

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

 

   (a)  must immediately stop the motor 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 motor vehicle and the identifying number of the motor vehicle-

 

   (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 motor 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 motor 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 motor vehicle a person is killed or suffers serious injury; and

 

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

 

the driver is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum) or a level 5 fine (1200 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 paragraph (c), (d) or (e) of subsection (1) 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 80 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 8 months and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 240 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 4 months and not more than 2 years.

 

(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 5 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 days and for a subsequent offence to a penalty of not more than 10 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not less than 14 days and not more than 1 month.

 

(6) On conviction of a person for, or finding a person guilty of, an offence against this section, if a person is killed or suffers serious injury as a result of the accident, the court must cancel all driver licences and permits held by the convicted person and, whether or not that person holds a driver licence, disqualify him or her from obtaining one for-

    (a)  in the case of a first offence, at least 4 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 2 years in any other case; and

 

   (b)  in the case of a subsequent offence, at least 8 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 4 years in any other case.

 

(7) 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.

 

(8) 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.

 

Pleading guilty or not guilty to Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs in a Melbourne Court

Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not to the charge of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal defence solicitor. If you are found guilty, there could be severe consequences.

 

Elements of the charge of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs in a Melbourne Court

The Prosecution must show that the defendant was driving a motor vehicle. There should have been an accident and the defendant either (1) did not stop, (2) did not render assistance, (3) did not provide the defendant’s name and address to the other party, (4) or did not report the accident to the Police. Aggravating circumstances must also have been present. This can include the defendant causing death or serious injury to the victim, or causing damage to the other person’s property.

 

Defending the charge of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in relation to this charge are issues revolving around a factual dispute. In some cases, the defendant also did not know, or could not have reasonably known, that the accident had occurred and that as a result a person was killed or seriously injured.

 

For more information on Duty of Driver, etc. of 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. 3, 2012 and relates to the law that it stands at this time.         



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