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Charges After A Car Accident – What Are Your Rights?

It is essential to understand what charges can result from a traffic accident in Sydney, NSW as a driver. You must follow strict requirements when you are involved in a traffic accident on public roads.

These rules cover exchanging details with the different motorists involved, cooperating with police, and assisting injured people. Several charges can occur after a road accident in NSW. In this article, we will summarise these offences and penalties.

What Are the Offences Associated with Road Accidents In Sydney?

 Section 146 of The Road Transport Act 2013 requires the driver involved in a traffic accident to stop and provide all necessary assistance in their ability to any injured people at the scene. Where a person is involved in an impact occasioning the death of, or injury to, another person fails to stop and give any assistance to those injured persons, they can be liable to a fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 18 months.

Charges After A Car Accident - What Are Your Rights?
Charges After A Car Accident – What Are Your Rights?

Section 52AB of The Crimes Act 1900 declares that if a person sustains grievous bodily harm, or a severe and permanent injury as a result of a car accident, the driver of a vehicle involved in the accident must stop and assist those injured persons. Failure to do so carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of up to 7 years.

Any persons involved in a car accident, whether it be a major or a minor accident, must stop and exchange particulars with the driver/s of the other vehicle. This is stipulated under Regulation 287 of the Road Rules which requires that any persons involved in a car accident must obtain the following from the other driver:

  • the driver’s name and address, and
  • the name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle, and
  • the vehicle’s registration number (if any), and
  • any other information necessary to identify the vehicle.

You must also provide a short description and explanation of the circumstances of the incident to any relevant police officer.

The driver must also give the other driver’s required particulars, as soon as possible or except within exceptional circumstances, within 24 hours after the crash, to a police officer if:

  • anyone is killed or injured in the crash; or
  • a driver does not, for any reason, give the driver’s required particulars to each person mentioned in subrule (2); or
  • the required particulars for any other driver involved in the crash are not given to the driver; or
  • a vehicle involved in the crash is towed or carried away by another vehicle (except if another law of this jurisdiction provides that the crash is not required to be reported); or
  • the police officer asks for any of the required particulars.

Failure to exchange particulars or provide particulars to the Police will result in a court-imposed fine of up to $2,200.

Driving An Unregistered Or Uninsured Motor Vehicle

Traffic laws in Sydney require every motor vehicle that is driven on the road to be registered and insured.

Section 8(1)(a) of the Motor Vehicles Compensation Act 1999 states that a person is guilty of an offence if they use a motor vehicle that is not insured on a road or causes or permit another person to use such an uninsured motor vehicle on the road. The Court can impose a maximum fine of $5,500.

It is a defence to this offence if you can establish that you had reasonable grounds for believing and did in fact believe that the motor vehicle was insured at the time of the offence.

Section 68(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 also makes it an offence for a person to drive and use an unregistered registrable vehicle on a road. The Court can impose a maximum fine of $2,200.

 Driving Suspended Or Unlicensed

The penalties and charges that apply to unlicensed/suspended drivers in Sydney are listed below       

Pursuant to section 53(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), you are committing an offence if you drive a motor vehicle on any road without holding a valid driver’s licence. You must be holding the appropriate class of driver’s licence depending on the type of vehicle you are driving.

Under section 53(3) of the Road Transport Act 2013, you are also deemed to drive unlicensed if you are driving a motor vehicle and have never been licensed to do so.  You are considered to be driving unlicensed if you have never held a driver’s licence in Australia in the 5 years immediately before you committed the offence. You are also deemed to be driving unlicensed if you do have a driver’s licence for the previous 5 years but have failed to renew your licence.

The Court can impose a maximum fine of $2,200 (for a first-time offender) or $3,300 and/or 6 months of imprisonment (for a second or subsequent offence).

Section 54 of the Road Transport Act 2013 also makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road whilst your driver’s licence is disqualified, or your licence is suspended or cancelled. The maximum penalty that can be imposed is a fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 6 months (for a first-time offender); or a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment for 12 months (for a second or subsequent offence).

Your driver’s licence can also be cancelled or suspended if you fail to pay a fine. Under section 54(5) of the Road Transport Act, if you are caught driving with a cancelled or suspended driver’s licence due to the non-payment of a fine, the court can impose of a fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 6 months (for a first-time offender); or a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment for 12 months (for a second or subsequent offence).

 Negligent Driving

 It is an offence to drive negligently on NSW roads. Negligent driving is not defined in the Road Transport Act 2013; however, the courts have held that it involves driving in a manner that falls short of the standard requirements of an ordinary driver. To be negligent refers to the failure to exercise care.

Examples of negligent driving, including but are not limited to:


  • driving and excessively exceeding the designated speed limit given the condition of the road;
  • Driving in close proximity to other cars so as to obstruct your full vision of the road;
  • Not providing enough notice when indicating to change directions;
  • Not reducing your speed or taking caution when driving at intersections; and
  • Driving recklessly and in a risky manner.

When considering whether you were driving negligently, the court will consider the following circumstances of the offence:

  • The nature, condition and use of the road on which the offence is alleged to have been committed;
  • The amount of traffic that actually is at the time, or which might reasonably be expected to be on the road; and
  • Any obstructions or hazards on the road (including broken down or crashed vehicles, fallen loads and accident or emergency scenes).

If a motorist drives carelessly and causes the death of another person, they suffer a penalty of a fine of up to $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment (for a first-time offender); or a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment of 2 years (for a second or subsequent offence)

If a motorist drives negligently so as to cause grievous bodily harm, a fine of $2,200 and/or imprisonment for 9 months can be imposed (for a first-time offender); or a fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment of 12 months (for a second or subsequent offender).

If you are found guilty of driving negligently however not causing the death or grievous bodily harm of any person, a maximum fine of $1,100 can be imposed.

Dangerous Driving Causing Injury In Sydney NSW

 The Crimes Act also carries hefty penalties for drivers who cause the death of another person in an accident when the motorist was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving at a critical speed or in a hazardous manner. This is known as dangerous driving.

A motorist sentenced to dangerous driving faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

If the driver surpassed the prescribed alcohol concentration, was exceeding the speed limit of more than 45 km/h, was attempting to escape a police chase, or was heavily impaired by drugs, the offence becomes complicated and the maximum penalty may be imposed is 14 years’ imprisonment.

Your rights and obligations

 You have a universal right to remain silent when approached by police. However, you must provide your name and address and Australian driver’s licence details if required by police at the crash scene. Failure to do so may attract a fine of $2,200.

You may also be questioned about the details of the accident. It is always sensible to comply with a regulation given by a police officer. Nevertheless, if you have not been arrested, you do not have to go with the police to the station for interrogation. You should check with the officer whether you must answer or comply before doing so and check these obligations with your lawyer.

Contact Platinum Lawyers for Assistance Regarding Road Accidents

At Platinum Lawyers we understand how stressful it can be when you are involved in a car accident or have been charged with a driving offence. Our expert team is here to help you and guide you through the process. There are many car dealers who buy accident cars for cash in Sydney, Mega car removal is your local accident car buyer.


Call (02) 8084 2764 to get in touch with us for all traffic offences, divorce, criminal, family and property law issues.


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