During the Christmas break, collisions on our roads seem to be more commonplace. Any driver who has been involved in a car crash can agree that it is not an easy situation to deal with. A series of concerns play on the driver’s mind…
- Am I injured?
- Was the driver of the other vehicle hurt?
- How bad is the damage?
A number of individuals are so fearful that they drive away from the scene in a panic. However, many do not realise that leaving the scene of a car crash without exchanging certain information is a criminal offence. If you are a driver, there are three simple steps you can take to avoid being criminally charged.
Regulation 287 of the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) 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. Required particulars include:
- The driver’s name and address;
- The name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle;
- The vehicle’s registration number;
- Any other information necessary to identify the vehicle; and
- An explanation of the circumstances of the crash (if police are involved).
Particulars must be provided within the “required time”. In exceptional circumstances, it may not be reasonable to provide particulars at the scene of the crash. If this is the case, particulars must be provided within 24 hours after the incident.
As a driver, you must also provide particulars within the required time to a police officer in the event that:
- Anyone is killed or injured in the crash;
- The driver does not, for any reason, give the driver’s required particulars to each person mentioned in step one;
- The required particulars for any other driver involved in the crash are not given to the driver;
- A vehicle involved in the crash is towed or carried away by another vehicle; or
- The police officer asks for any of the required particulars.
If a driver fails to stop and provide the required particulars, he/she will often receive a traffic infringement notice and a fine of $325. The offence also carries that the driver will lose 3 demerit points. If you receive a traffic infringement notice from the NSW Police or the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS), you are not required to attend court. However, if you believe you are not guilty of the offence, you may seek to have the matter heard in the Local Court.
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.
If the matter proceeds to court and you are found guilty of failing the three steps above, the maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200. It is important to remember that this penalty is in addition to any expenses involved with insurance claims, medical needs and vehicle repairs.
WHAT IF THE CRASH CAUSES DEATH OR SERIOUS HARM?
Crucial note to drivers – if a vehicle impact causes death or grievous bodily harm, failing to stop and assist may constitute a much more serious offence. Pursuant to section 52AB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a person is guilty of a criminal offence if:
- A vehicle driven by a person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of another person;
- The person knows, or ought reasonably to know, that the vehicle has been involved in an impact occasioning death or grievous bodily harm to another person; and
- The person fails to stop and give any assistance in his/her power that may be necessary.
The law is not limited to crashes between two vehicles. A driver may also be charged under section 52AB for colliding with a pedestrian or cyclist and failing to stop and assist. Just over a year ago, a Sydney woman was charged after colliding with a cyclist and fleeing the scene. The cyclist was left with multiple fractures. The woman was charged with negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, failing to stop and render assistance after impact as well as three additional charges. Pedestrians and cyclists are more vulnerable on our roads compared to drivers of motor vehicles.
The maximum penalty for an offence under section 52AB involving death is 2 years imprisonment (if heard in the Local Court) and 10 years imprisonment (if heard in the District Court). The maximum penalty for an offence under section 52AB involving grievous bodily harm is 2 years imprisonment (if heard in the Local Court) and 7 years imprisonment (if heard in the District Court).
At National Criminal Lawyers® we understand that certain situations may lead to regretful decisions. We also understand that there are circumstances which may give rise to a possible defence in your matter.
If you have been charged for failing to provide particulars or failing to assist after vehicle impact, there may be more than one possible avenue. To discuss your options with a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee, click here to contact National Criminal Lawyers®.