The offence of failing to nominate driver of motor is found in section 60 of the Road Safety Act.
s 60 Duty of owner of motor vehicle to give information about driver
(1) An owner of a motor vehicle, or a relevant nominated person in relation to a motor vehicle, is guilty of an offence if, when required to do so by a police officer who is acting in the execution of duty, the person fails to give any information which it is within the power of the person to give and which may lead to the identification of any person who was the driver of the motor vehicle on any occasion or had possession or control of the motor vehicle on any occasion or fails to make all reasonable enquiries in order to obtain that information.
- If the requirement is made by a police officer who is investigating an accident involving a motor vehicle that resulted in a person being killed or suffering serious injury—to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 4 months or to both;
- in any other case—to a penalty of not more than 20 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 months or to both—
- On conviction the Court must cancel all drivers licences for a period of 2 years in relation to a first offence and 4 years in relation to second offence.
- That a member of the police force required the relevant information
- That the police officer was acting in their duty
- That the police officer has identified the motor vehicle and the occasion it was driven
- There is a demand for the relevant information
- There was a failure to, provide the requested information or make reasonable enquiries to be able to provide the information, to allow police to ascertain the identity of the driver
- The information requested might have led to the identification of the driver of the motor vehicle at the relevant time.
- That the registered operator or nominated person in control of the motor vehicle has made reasonable enquires but was unable to ascertain the identity of the driver. (This is an objective test)
- Honest and reasonable mistake in relation to the nomination of the driver, that is, the information that is provided to police maybe wrong, in those circumstances the accused can rely upon the defence of honest and reasonable mistake in relation to the nomination.
Can you make no comment answers to police?
- The short answer is, not in relation to a demand made by police for information that meets the other elements of the offence.
- What you can do is provide the information but make no comment responses to all other questions asked about the driving occasion.
Important Considerations to avoid licence loss:
On a plea of guilty it is critical to consider section 8 of the Sentencing Act in relation to whether a conviction is recorded. On a finding of guilt but where a conviction is not recorded, licence disqualification becomes discretionary.
This means that on a non-conviction it is not mandatory for the Magistrate to disqualify a defendant from driver for 2 years on a first offence or 4 years on a second offence. In these circumstances a Magistrate may be persuaded to not interfere with a defendant’s drivers’ licence.
This is why in relation to this charge it is very important to engage, experienced and competent criminal lawyers to assist you in either defending the matter or arguing for a non-conviction and therefore potentially avoiding licence loss.
If you are facing this charge be smart and engage Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers to help you. We are experienced in these types of matters.