Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver

by Doogue O'Brien George Criminal Defence Lawyers

 

Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver in Melbourne – What’s the Maximum Penalty and How Serious is This Charge?

There is a maximum penalty of 4 months imprisonment or a fine of 20 penalty units for anyone found guilty of the charge of “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver”. The longest licence disqualification period that may be imposed is 4 years, however these penalties are not typically imposed by Courts as they are reserved for the most serious cases of offending. The charge of “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” is a moderately serious form of criminal offending. Jurisdiction for cases relevant to this charge is primarily given to the Magistrates’ Court.

 

The legislation on “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver”

The relevant legislative provision for “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” is section 60 of the Road Safety Act 1986 which is as follows:

                         

Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver
 
(1) An owner of a motor vehicle, or a relevant nominated person in relation to a motor 
vehicle, is guilty of an offence if, when required to do so by a member of the police 
force who is acting in the execution of duty, the person fails to give any information 
which it is within the power of the person to give and which may lead to the 
identification of any person who was the driver of the motor vehicle on any occasion 
or had possession or control of the motor vehicle on any occasion or fails to make all 
reasonable enquiries in order to obtain that information.
 
(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1) a relevant nominated person means a person 
nominated in an effective known user statement (within the meaning of Part 6AA) or 
sold vehicle statement (within the meaning of that Part) as being the responsible 
person (within the meaning of that Part) in relation to a motor vehicle at the time 
when the motor vehicle was involved in an offence that is an operator onus offence 
for the purposes of that Part.
 
(1B) A member of the police force who is acting in the execution of duty may require 
any person whom the member believes on reasonable grounds to have had possession 
or control of a motor vehicle on a particular occasion to give any information which it is 
within the power of the person to give and which may lead to the identification of any 
person who was the driver of the motor vehicle on that occasion or had possession or 
control of the motor vehicle on that occasion.
 
(1C) A person who, without reasonable excuse, refuses or fails to comply with a 
requirement made under subsection (1B) is guilty of an offence.
 
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable-
 
(a)  if the requirement is made by a member of the police force who is investigating 
an accident involving a motor vehicle that resulted in a person being killed or 
suffering serious injury-to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to 
imprisonment for a term of not more than 4 months or to both;
 
(b)  in any other case-to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to 
imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 months or to both-
 
and on conviction the court must cancel all driver licences and permits held by that 
person and, whether or not that person holds a driver licence, disqualify him or her 
from obtaining one for, in the case of a first offence, at least 2 years and, in the case 
of a subsequent offence, at least 4 years.
 
(3) For the purposes of this section owner means-
 
(a)  the owner or the person in whose name the motor vehicle was registered at the 
time when the vehicle was being driven by the person about whom the information 
is sought or at the time when the requirement is made;
        or
 
   (b)  any person who had possession or control of the vehicle at either of those times; 
or
 
   (c)  if the motor vehicle displayed a number plate at either of those times-
 
(i)  the person who, at the time at which the registration number borne by that 
number plate was last assigned by the Corporation or the corresponding body 
under a corresponding Act, was the person in whose name the motor vehicle, to 
which that registration number was assigned, was registered under this Act or a 
corresponding Act of the Commonwealth or of another State or Territory of the 
Commonwealth, whether or not that motor vehicle is the same as the motor 
vehicle about which information is sought; or
 
(ii) the person whose name is disclosed in the records kept by the Corporation or 
the corresponding body under a corresponding Act as being entitled, or last 
entitled, to use or possess that number plate at the time when the vehicle was 
being driven by the person about whom the information is sought or at the time 
when the requirement is made.
 
(4) A requirement under this section may be made orally or in writing.
 
(5) A written requirement may be sent by post addressed to the person to whom it is 
made at the person's home address or at an authorised address (within the meaning of 
section 163A of the Infringements Act 2006).
 
(6) A written requirement sent by post to a person at an authorised address (within the 
meaning of section 163A of the Infringements Act 2006) and returned undelivered to its 
sender is deemed to be served 14 days after the date specified in the requirement as 
the date of the requirement, despite it being returned to its sender as undelivered.
 
(7) Subsection (6) has effect despite anything to the contrary in section 49(1) of the 
Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984.

 

Pleading guilty or not guilty to “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” in a Melbourne Court

Deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty to “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” has significant implications and should only 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 Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” in a Melbourne Court

The prosecution must show that the police officer who was requesting the information was acting in the execution of his or her duty at the time of the alleged offence. The request for information should have been made with the reasonable belief that the defendant had possession or control of the motor vehicle or had information within the defendant’s knowledge relating to the motor vehicle.

 

Defending the charge of “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver” in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in relation to this charge are factual dispute and issues related to the validity of the request for information. If the request was made outside the scope of a Police officer’s duty then it cannot be a valid request with which the defendant must comply.

 

For more information on “Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver”, you may visit the Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here).

 

Doogue O’Brien George 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)

 

This article was written on Sep. 18, 2013 and relates to the law that stands at this time.



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