','

' ); } ?>

Fail to Report Accident to Police When Person Injured

There is an obligation on the driver of a motor vehicle to report an accident to the police where a person, animal or property is damaged/injured when there is a police officer is not present at the scene of the accident. This report must be made in person to the police station most accessible from the scene. Failure to do so is an offence pursuant to 61(1)(e) of the Road Safety Act 1986.
As a summary offence, any summons for this charge will primarily be handled by the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Elements of the offence
The prosecution must prove:

  1. The accused was a driver of a motor vehicle party to the accident;
  1. A person was injured or property (including animals) damaged or destroyed as a result of accident;
  2. No police officer was present at the scene of the accident;
  3. The accused did not report the full particulars in person to the most accessible police station.
Examples of Fail to Report Accident to Police When Person Injured
  • Being involved in a collision and the other driver injures their back;
  • Being involved in a collision and the other car is badly damaged and cannot be driven
Legislation
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 61(1)(e) of the Road Safety Act 1986.
 
Defences that are often run in relation to this charge revolve around a factual dispute. A lawyer ensures that all facts reported to the Court are valid and accurate. Wrong facts may lead to a criminal charge being dismissed.

Honest and reasonable mistake as to a fact is also a consideration. That is where you would submit to the Court that you were unaware that you had been involved in a collision. The onus is on you to satisfy the Court that your mistake was honest and reasonable in the circumstances. Other defences may further be used depending on the circumstances.

If you are intending to plead guilty it is important to discuss with your lawyer the best way to get the best result. This is especially so, because mandatory license disqualifications apply.

Questions in cases like this
  • Were you the driver of the car?
  • Were you aware that you had been involved in a collision?
  • Did you notify police that you were involved in a collision and that the other driver was injured?
Traffic offences are viewed seriously by Courts and can lead to a multitude of negative consequences. If you have been charged with this offence, it is important that you see a lawyer as soon as possible. A conviction and driver’s license disqualification can have a detrimental impact on a person’s life. Your lawyer will assess your circumstances and discuss the options available to you.
 

The offence of Fail to Report Accident to Police When Person Injured (s61(1)(e) of the Road Safety Act 1986) carries a fine of 2.5 penalty units (around $403) or 7 days imprisonment as the highest possible sentence. A subsequent offence of this nature carries a fine of 5 units (around $800) or 14 days imprisonment. If there is a finding of guilt, it is also mandatory that a Court cancel all driver licenses and permits held by the convicted person and disqualify him or her from obtaining one for at least 4 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 2 years in any other case. If this was a subsequent offence, at least 8 years if a conviction is recorded and at least 4 years in any other case.

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts
From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, there were 157 cases (158 charges) of Fail to Report Accident to Police When Person Injured that were heard in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria. More than half (53.5%) of these cases resulted in financial penalties while the rest were faced with various sentencing options:

  • Community Correction Order – 15.9%
  • Imprisonment – 12.1%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 11.5%
  • Wholly Suspended Sentence – 5.1%
  • Partially Suspended Sentence – 1.3%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.6%
Of the financial penalties imposed, the highest was between $10,000 and $20,000 but this was given to only 1.1% (aggregate) of those who were fined. The majority received a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 (39.6%).

Of the 19 cases that led to imprisonment, 36.8% (majority) was sentenced to a term between 3 and 6 months. The longest prison term handed down by courts was more than 36 months but this was given to only 5.3% that were sentenced to prison.1

Please note that suspended sentences were abolished in Victoria for all offences committed on or after 1 September 2014.2


[1] SAC Statistics – Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) : s 61(1)(e) – fail to report accident to police when person injured < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/86_127_61_1_e.html >
[2] Suspended Sentence | The Sentencing Advisory Council < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence >