Duty of Owner of Motor Vehicle to Give Information About Driver

The duty of owner of motor vehicle to give information about driver is the sort of charge regularly heard in the Magistrates Court. It is one of the rare charges which arise from not saying something to the Police when asked. It an exception from the general right against self-incrimination.

This charge is generally laid in situations where a person is an owner of a motor vehicle and when asked by a member of the police force, fails to give any information which may lead to the identification of any person who was driving the owner’s motor vehicle at a specific time.

In essence to prove this charge the Police must show that a police officer, while acting in the execution of their duty, requested from the accused information about the driver who was in possession of the accused’s motor vehicle and that the accused failed to give the police officer the information requested.

Defences to this could be that the police officer was not acting in the execution of their duty or a factual dispute.

The penalties depend upon whether the information is sought as part of an investigation into a motor vehicle accident. Where that is an aspect of the offence: 20 penalty units, or 4 months imprisonment. In any other case: 20 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than 2 months.

It is important to note that, on conviction, the court must cancel all driver licenses and permits for 2 years for a 1st offence, and 4 years for a subsequent offence.

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 60 of the Road Safety Act 1986.

Possible Defences

  • Factual Dispute and Concept of Beyond Reasonable Doubt
  • 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
  • Detention in Youth Residential Centre or Youth Training Centre
  • Term of Imprisonment

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