With double demerits running through Christmas and New Year to 3 January 2021, many drivers are being cautious on the road. No matter how safe of a driver you are, you are only as safe as the driver next to you. On the road, we can take precautions and drive defensively but there is always a possibility that someone else may lose control of their vehicle and drive into you. This applies even if you are a pedestrian.
Over the long weekend, police allege a driver hit four pedestrians at an intersection in Parramatta. The driver and two passengers got out of the car to help the pedestrians. However, after briefly helping the pedestrians, all occupants of the car returned and the car left the scene without providing any information to the injured pedestrians. The nature of the injuries are unknown, however, it is reported that they suffered minor injuries and required treatment at Westmead Hospital.
Following investigations, police arrested the driver and a breath test was conducted which produced a positive reading. Police then charged the driver with failure to stop and assist after impact causing injury, not providing particulars to injured person/s, negligent driving and driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOU GET INTO AN ACCIDENT?
First step is to ensure that everyone is safe.
Next, you must determine whether police should be called. Police will only attend the scene of an accident in the following circumstances:
- If police are required to direct traffic or deal with hazards;
- If any driver appears to be affected by drugs or alcohol;
- If a bus or truck needs to be towed; and/or
- If anyone involved has failed to exchange details and/or failed to stop.
Whether police attend or not, drivers must exchange the following details whenever they are involved in an accident.
a) The driver’s name and address;
b) The name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle;
c) The vehicle’s registration number;
d) Any other information necessary to identify the vehicle; and
e) An explanation of the circumstances of the crash (if police are involved).
The above is set out in Regulation 287 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW). This section states that a driver must stop at the scene of the crash and provide particulars to all drivers involved, any other injured person and the owner of any property that has been damaged as a result of the crash.
If police are not required, once those details are exchanged, the matter is dealt with in the Civil Jurisdiction of the Courts and no police are necessary.
If, however, someone has failed to stop or exchange details, then it is likely that police will be involved and the driver may be charged with a criminal offence, similarly to the person involved in the incident over the long weekend.
WHAT MUST THE PROSECUTION PROVE?
To establish whether a person failed to stop and give particulars, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- There was an accident; and
- You were the driver or rider of a vehicle involved in the accident; and
- You failed to stop your vehicle; or
- You stopped your vehicle but did not provide your particulars to another driver, an injured party or an owner of the damaged property.
National Criminal Lawyers® are one of the most sought-after and leading traffic lawyers that Sydney and Greater Sydney has to offer. We have been successful in defending a number of ‘failure to stop and give particulars’ charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the required elements. Our dedicated team have also achieved several non-convictions for this type of offence, as well as many other traffic-related offences.
An offence of fail to stop and give particulars is normally finalised by way of a traffic infringement notice, a fine of $325 and a loss of 3 demerit points. You will not be required to attend Court if you are given an infringement notice from the NSW Police or the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS).
However, if elected to go to Court, the maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200.00. It is important to remember that this penalty is in addition to any expenses involved with insurance claims, medical needs and vehicle repairs. Please note that the above penalties are only for accidents which do not involve death or grievous bodily harm.
For such cases, the penalties are far more severe and include a $3,300.00 fine or imprisonment for 18 months or both (in the case of a first offence) or a $5,500.00 fine or imprisonment for 2 years or both (in the case of a second or subsequent offence).
If you think this might be you, speak with our experienced team to ensure that you are provided with the necessary information to best present your case.
The award-winning team at National Criminal Lawyers® strive to educate our readers on the law and their rights. If you have any specific topics you would like us to discuss in the future, we encourage you to let us know.