Fail to Nominate Driver; Dangerous Driving

Charges: Fail to Nominate Driver section 60 Road Safety Act (RSA); Dangerous Driving section 64 RSA; Careless Driving section 65 RSA (3 demerit points); Improper Use of Motor Vehicle section 65A RSA (no demerit points).

Facts: The client was driving home and lost traction travelling through a roundabout. A retired police officer who was driving behind the client witnessed the vehicle lose traction.

Fortunately for the client the witness could not see who was driving or how many people were in the car. When approached by police later about the incident the client refused to indicate who was driving and opted instead to say nothing.

Results: Drivers must answer questions in relation to the identity of the driver of a motor vehicle when asked by a member of police acting in the execution of their duty. In keeping silent the client had committed an offence. Being convicted of this charge alone means gaol time and 2 years off the road.

The police could not establish who was driving and so, following negotiations, they had to withdraw all the driving charges. This was important because the client had no demerit points left. A guilty finding on the dangerous driving charge would have meant at least 6 months disqualification.

Following submissions to the Court, the Magistrate chose not to convict the client in relation to the Fail to Nominate charge. Further, his driver’s licence was not suspended. The client was extremely lucky to keep his licence and receive only a fine.

This case highlights why having a lawyer who has in depth knowledge of the charges is critical when trying to resolve a case like this.