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

Failure to observe a duty of a driver of a motor vehicle if accident occurs is a charge that is regularly heard in the Magistrates Court.

The maximum penalty for this charge is 10 years and/or 1200 penalty points as well as a licence cancellation and disqualification which may vary depending on the subsection for anyone found guilty of this offence.

The penalties that may apply depend upon the objective seriousness of the duty that has failed to be observed. In circumstances where a person leaves the scene of an accident, where another person has been killed or seriously injured, the Courts will often impose a period of imprisonment to be served.

This charge is generally laid in situations where a person drives a motor vehicle, that an accident occurs at the time that the person was driving the vehicle and the driver fails to complete one of the duties as listed in the section.

In essence to prove this charge the Police must show that the accused drove a motor vehicle at the time that an accident occurred and that the accused failed to either stop, render assistance, provide their name and address to the other party or to report the accident to police. The aggravating circumstances to this charge are that the driver caused the other person’s death or serious injury, caused damage to the other person’s property, failed to stop at scene of accident, failed to stop at scene of accident, failed to give name and address, failed to render assistance, or failed to report accident to police.

A defence to this charge amongst others could be a factual dispute.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged.

Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

This is legislation that comes from section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986.

Possible Defences

  • Factual Dispute and Concept of Beyond Reasonable Doubt
  • Mental Impairment
  • Consent
  • Duress
  • Self Defence
  • Honest and Reasonable Mistake of Belief
  • Charges are Statute Barred
  • Sudden or Extraordinary Emergency

Penalties

  • Deferral of Sentencing
  • Diversion
  • Without Conviction Order
  • Adjournment of the Charges on Undertaking (Good Behaviour Bond)
  • Fine
  • Community Corrections Order
  • Suspended Prison Sentence
  • Term of Imprisonment

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