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

In Victoria, Duty of Driver of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs is found in section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was driving a motor vehicle and got into an accident resulting in another person being injured or any property being damaged. The driver must have then failed to immediately stop or render assistance, or to give his name or address, or to fulfill other obligations as specified in the section for this offence.

Have you been accused of Duty of Driver of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs? You should call our office to speak with one of our experienced defence lawyers. This charge can have lasting implications on you if it is not handled properly.

duty of driver if motor accident occurs
Police Interview
If the Police suspect you have left the scene of an accident without leaving your details, they will ask you to participate in an interview. However, they will not lead onto the fact that they suspect you have committed an offence. Instead they will frame the interview as a ‘chat’. It is worth noting that they are not asking you questions to allow you to clear up any confusion they may have. The main purpose of the interview is to get you to make admissions or for you to provide information which helps piece together their case.

It is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice before you speak with the Police. One of our lawyers can give you clear advice about what to expect and how to handle the interview process so you do not prejudice your case later on.

Pleading Not Guilty
You may decide to contest a charge of leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging details for a number of reasons:

  • You may not have been the driver
  • There may not have been an ‘accident’
  • You may have left your details
Our lawyers can offer you advice on the best way to approach your case to increase your prospects of the charge being withdrawn or an acquittal. Our lawyers approach matters strategically and look for evidence that the Police may have over-looked during their investigation.

Pleading Guilty
Our lawyers can advise you on your prospects of contesting the charge. However, if your prospects of success are low because the evidence is overwhelming, our lawyers can also represent you on a plea of guilty. Our lawyers will advise you of all the things you should do before Court to get the best possible outcome.

Sentencing
Sentencing in the higher courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Fail to Render Assistance After a Motor Vehicle Accident in the Higher CourtsSentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Fail to Provide Vehicle Identification Number, Name or Address Details After Accident in the Magistrates' Courts
Examples of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs
  • A driver hits a cyclist, drives away and does not report it to the police.
  • A driver is involved in a collision, hits the back of another car and refuses to provide their name and address to the other driver.
Defences
  • You were not involved in any accident.
  • You did not do anything wrong following an accident.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • Were you involved in an accident?
  • What did you do after the accident?
  • Can they prove you did anything wrong?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge
The maximum penalty for Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle if Accident Occurs (s61 of the Road Safety Act 1986) is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 1200 penalty points as well as a licence cancellation and disqualification.

This kind of offence is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What is the legal definition of Duty of Driver, etc. of Motor Vehicle If Accident Occurs?
The Police must show that you drove a motor vehicle at the time that an accident occurred. And you either failed to stop, render assistance, provide your name and address to the other party or report the accident to police.

“Were you in a car accident and did you do something wrong?”

The Law
The section that covers this offence is section 61 of the Road Safety Act 1986.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies