Road Traffic Offences | Perth, WA

Failure to stop or render assistance after an incident causing bodily harm (Hit and Run Offence)

Your lawyer will outline the requirements under the relevant laws, such as the obligation to stop at the scene of an accident, provide assistance to injured persons, and report the incident to authorities. Additionally, a lawyer can discuss the factors that the court considers when sentencing for this offence, including the severity of the harm caused, the level of culpability of the offender, any mitigating or aggravating circumstances, and the offender’s personal circumstances.

  • Failure to stop or render assistance after incident causing bodily harm is an offence under section 54 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA).
  • The offence can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court depending on the seriousness of bodily harm such as grievous bodily harm or death. The maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with failure to stop and render assistance, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You are the person who did the things asserted constituting the offence
  2. That an incident occurred
  3. That you were involved in the incident
  4. That the incident occasioned bodily harm, grievous bodily harm or death
  5. That you failed to stop immediately
  6. That you failed to render assistance

What does it mean by ‘bodily harm’?

Bodily harm means any bodily injury which interferes with health or comfort.

What does ‘driver must stop’ mean?

The term stop means to stop and remain at the incident for as long as necessary.

What does it mean by ‘ensure assistance that is necessary and practicable’?

The assistance that is necessary and practicable in the circumstances is what a reasonable person in the driver’s position knew or ought to have known, such as the nature of the injuries.

Are there any available defences?

It is a defence for the driver to prove that they were not aware of the occurrence of the incident.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you are the person alleged to have committed the offence
  • whether you were involved in an incident and knew about it
  • whether you the incident occasioned some form of bodily harm
  • whether you stopped immediately
  • whether you rendered assistance to the other person

You may accept that you failed to stop and render assistance but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. A criminal conviction is likely to be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is possible that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for a failure to stop or render assistance after incident causing bodily harm is 20 years imprisonment, however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol or reduce the length of the gaol sentence.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing, the court considers factors such as the severity of the offence, the offender’s culpability and criminal history, impact on victims, mitigating/aggravating circumstances, personal factors, and goals of deterrence and rehabilitation.

Careless Driving Causing Death, Grievous Bodily Harm or Bodily Harm

  • Careless driving is an offence under section 59BA of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA).
  • This offence is a strictly summary offence. It commences and will be finalised in the in the Magistrates Court. The maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment or a fine of $36,000.00. A mandatory disqualification period will be imposed after conviction.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with careless driving, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You are the person who did the things asserted constituting the offence
  2. You were driving a motor vehicle
  3. The motor vehicle whilst driven by you was involved in an incident
  4. The incident occasioned the death, grievous bodily harm or bodily harm of another person
  5. That at the time of the incident you drove the motor vehicle in a manner that was careless

What does ‘careless’ mean?

Careless is defined as driving without due care and attention.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you were driving a motor vehicle
  • whether your driving was careless

You may accept that you committed the offence of careless driving but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. A criminal conviction is likely to be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty?

Though imprisonment is not a likely outcome for an offence of careless driving causing death, grievous bodily harm or bodily harm, and there are many sentencing alternatives, it is possible that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for careless driving is 3 years or a fine of $36,000.00 however the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for careless driving causing death or harm, the court considers factors like severity of the offense, offender’s culpability and criminal history, impact on victims, mitigating/aggravating factors, personal circumstances, deterrence, and rehabilitation. The goal is a proportionate sentence that serves justice and supports offender rehabilitation.

Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Grievous Bodily Harm

  • Dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm is an offence under section 59 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA). This offence is a Schedule II offence.
  • It can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court depending on whether the injury caused was grievous bodily harm or death. The maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. However, if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 3 years imprisonment.  A mandatory disqualification period will be imposed after conviction.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  2. The vehicle was driver on a road or in a place to which the public is permitted
  3. The motor vehicle whilst driven by you was involved in an incident
  4. The incident occasioned the death or grievous bodily harm of another person.
  5. That at the time of the incident you drove the motor vehicle in a manner that was dangerous to the public or any person.

Your lawyer will explain the charges against you, outline the potential consequences, and discuss your legal options.

What does ‘dangerous’ mean?

Dangerous is defined as that having regard to all the circumstances, including speed, would be considered dangerous to the public or to any person.

What does ‘grievous bodily harm’ mean?

Grievous bodily harm refers to a serious physical injury or harm inflicted upon another person.

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  • whether the motor vehicle you were driving was involved in an incident
  • whether that incident occasioned the grievous bodily harm or death of another person
  • whether you accept you were driving in a dangerous manner.

You may accept that you were driving dangerous causing death or grievous bodily harm but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as dangerous driving causing bodily harm or careless driving.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. A criminal conviction is likely to be recorded.

Q. Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm?

Although there are many sentencing alternatives, it is very likely that you will go to gaol if you plead guilty or are found guilty.

The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm is 20 years imprisonment; however, the type of sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, your personal circumstances, criminal history and many other factors.

It is important that a lawyer properly prepares and presents your case to minimise the risk of you going to gaol, or to persuade the court to reduce the length of the gaol sentence.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for dangerous driving causing death or grievous bodily harm, the court considers factors like the severity of the offense, the level of danger posed, offender’s culpability, impact on victims, criminal history, personal circumstances, and goals of deterrence and rehabilitation.

Driving in a reckless manner or at a reckless speed

  • Driving in a reckless manner or at a reckless speed is an offence under section 60 and 60A of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA).
  • It can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the District Court depending on the circumstances of aggravation. The maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment, however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment.  A mandatory disqualification period will be imposed after conviction.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with driving in a reckless manner or at a reckless speed, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  2. The vehicle was driver on a road or in a place to which the public is permitted
  3. That at the time of the incident you drove the motor vehicle in a manner that was reckless.

What does ‘reckless manner’ mean?

A motor vehicle is driven in a reckless manner if it is driven in a manner, including speed, that is inherently dangerous or that is, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, dangerous to the public or to any person.

What does ‘reckless speed’ mean?

A person commits an offence if they drive at a speed of 155km/h or more or at 45km/h above the speed limit on any other length of road.

What does ‘Reckless driving to escape pursuit’ mean?

A person who was driving a vehicle to escape pursuit by a police officer is a circumstance of aggravation. The maximum penalty for an offence in this circumstance of aggravation is 5 years however if dealt with in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

If convicted of an offence in a circumstance of aggravation, a sentence must impose a mandatory minimum of 6 months imprisonment and must not suspend the term of imprisonment.

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. A criminal conviction is likely to be recorded.

Q.Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of driving in a reckless manner or at a reckless speed?

This will depend on a number of factors including, for example:

  • whether you accept that you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  • whether you accept you were driving in a reckless manner or at a reckless speed
  • whether you had a lawful excuse for driving in that manner or at that speed

You may accept that you committed a reckless driving offence but:

  • your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to accept a plea of guilty to a less serious charge such as careless driving.
  • you may disagree with part of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the statement of material facts.

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of driving recklessly or at a reckless speed, the court will consider factors such as the extent of recklessness, the level of danger posed by your driving behavior, any harm caused to others or property, your criminal history, personal circumstances, and the goals of deterrence and rehabilitation.

A good lawyer’s job would be to meticulously prepare and present your case in court to minimise potential consequences.

Driving whilst unauthorised, unlicenced or disqualified

  • Driving whilst unauthorised, unlicenced or disqualified is an offence under section 49 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA).
  • This offence is a strictly summary offence. It commences and will be finalised in the Magistrates Court. Depending on whether the offence is your first or subsequent offence the maximum penalty is either 12 months imprisonment or 18 months imprisonment. Likewise, there will be a mandatory disqualification period of your licence.
  • If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

If you have been charged with driving whilst unauthorised, unlicenced or disqualified, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  2. The vehicle was driver on a road or in a place to which the public is permitted
  3. That at the time you drove the motor vehicle whilst not authorised to do so

Your lawyer may challenge the prosecution’s evidence, question witness testimonies, raise legal arguments regarding authorisation or licensing, and advocate for your rights in court. Additionally, they would work to negotiate with the prosecution for a favourable outcome or present mitigating factors to minimise potential penalties.

What does it mean by ‘forms of unauthorised driving’?

There are different forms of unauthorised driving including:

  1. Never held a licence or it has expired
  2. L-Permit with no instructor
  3. Fines suspension
  4. Application for licence refused
  5. Disqualified (other than fines suspension)
  6. Cancelled
  7. Suspended other than fine suspension
  8. Ceased to hold licence

Q. If I plead guilty or am found guilty, will a conviction be recorded?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded.

Q.Will I go to gaol if I plead guilty or am found guilty of driving whilst unauthorised, unlicenced or disqualified?

If you have been charged with driving whilst unauthorised, unlicenced or disqualified, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. That you were the driver of a motor vehicle
  2. The vehicle was driver on a road or in a place to which the public is permitted
  3. That at the time you drove the motor vehicle whilst not authorised to do so

Q. What will the court take into account when sentencing?

When sentencing for driving while unauthorised, unlicensed, or disqualified, the court considers factors like the circumstances of the offense, the potential danger posed, prior driving offences, the offender’s criminal history, personal circumstances, and goals of deterrence and rehabilitation.

Why Choose Hugo Law Group to Defend You

Hugo Law Group is a law firm that is focused on protecting and defending your rights. Drawing on decades of experience, our team of criminal lawyers will guide you through the legal process, providing comprehensive, honest and strategic advice – qualities that give us our renowned reputation.

Whether you want to plead not guilty, you are looking to secure the best possible sentence, or a loved one wants to apply for bail, it is essential to have an experienced team of criminal defence lawyers in your corner.

Seeking comprehensive and practical advice at an early stage will best ensure your rights and interests are protected. Our lawyers will properly prepare and present your case to assist you in getting the best possible outcome.

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At Hugo Law Group, we will clearly explain what your rights and obligations are so that you can make informed decisions about how to deal with the police and the court process.

Even if you have not yet been charged with a criminal offence, you should seek advice from a lawyer at an early stage to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

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Get in contact with us today or feel free to call us at 02 9696 1361 (Sydney), 02 5104 9640 (Canberra), or 08 6255 6909 (Perth) and find out how we can help you.