Offence to Provide False or Misleading Information

– section 84BI of the Road Safety Act 1986
Police Asking for Information
A person may be charged with providing false or misleading information under section 84BI of the Road Safety Act 1986 if they provide a false or misleading statement to Police as to the identity of a person responsible for an offence committed in a motor vehicle registered to them.
Examples of the Offence to Provide False or Misleading Information
  • Providing Police with a fake name when asked about the identity of a person who committed a speeding offence in your car;
  • Giving Police a fake address of the person who had a collision in your car and left the scene;
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you assist the Police?
  • Do you know the identity of the person who drove your vehicle?
  • Did you think the information you provided was accurate?
What are some of the possible defences to the Offence to Provide False or Misleading Information?

If you are charged with an offence under section 84BI of the Road Safety Act 1986, the following defences may be available to you:

  • Factual dispute;
  • Lack of intent;
  • Honest and reasonable mistake as to a fact.

If you have been charged with this offence, you should call us to speak about your case with one of our experienced lawyers. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

If you are found guilty of this offence, you may receive a fine of up to 60 penalty units (around $9,600) in the case of an individual. This doubles in the case of a body corporate, which is a fine of up to 120 penalty units (around $19,400).

The offence of providing false or misleading information is heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

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What is the legal definition of the Offence to Provide False or Misleading Information?

The Prosecution must satisfy the Court that you provided information to an enforcement official knowing that the information was false or misleading. This offence can also be made out if the Prosecution can demonstrate that you failed to provide certain details resulting in the information being misleading.

Legislation

This offence can be found in section 84(B)(i) of Road Safety Act 1986.

Elements of the offence

As with all criminal offences, the burden is on the Prosecution to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to make out this offence:

  1. The Accused gave a statement to an enforcement official in relation to the person responsible for committing an offence in their motor vehicle; and
  2. The Accused knowingly provided false or misleading information in that statement.
“Can the Prosecution prove your statement was false or misleading?”
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts

From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, a total of 19 cases (43 charges) of the Offence to Provide False or Misleading Information have been heard at the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria. Most of these cases resulted in financial penalties (57.9%) but there were also other sentencing options imposed:

  • Community Correction Order – 15.8%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 10.5%
  • Imprisonment – 5.3%
  • Partially Suspended Sentence – 5.3%
  • Wholly Suspended Sentence – 5.3%

ImprisonmentThere was one case that led to a prison sentence and this was for a term between 6 and 12 months. For the fines imposed, the highest category was “$4,000 < $5,000” but this was the least imposed at 4.0% of those who were fined (aggregate). The category that was most frequently imposed was “$1,000 < $2,000” at 36.0% for aggregate and 16.0% for non-aggregate.1

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

Other important resources

 



[1] SAC Statistics – Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) : s 84BI – provide false or misleading information < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/86_127_84BI.html >
[2] Suspended Sentence | The Sentencing Advisory Council < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/about-sentencing/sentencing-options-for-adults/suspended-sentence >