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In Western Australia, certain traffic violations fall under the category of major or serious traffic offences. Committing any of these crimes can lead to paying a heavy fine or an imprisonment sentence.
These steep penalties help curb the rate of serious or major traffic offences. Interested persons can find the major/serious traffic offences and penalties in the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA).
This article will discuss the law on these crimes including their penalties and possible defences.
If you get a conviction for a serious or major traffic offence in a WA court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome on the results of your criminal background check.
The Road Traffic Act 1974 has several offences classified as major or serious traffic offences. They include:
As per Section 59 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA), it is an offence if a person's operation of a vehicle results in an accident occasioning death or serious bodily injury and:
A guilty verdict under this section can attract a fine of 720 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, the court will disqualify the offender from obtaining or possessing a licence for at least 2 years.
Section 61 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) makes it an offence to drive a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers other road users. The penalty for this crime depends on whether the violation is a first or a subsequent offence.
A first-time infraction can result in a fine of 60 penalty units. A subsequent offence on the other hand attracts a fine of 120 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment. Additionally, the court will disqualify an offender in this section from obtaining a licence for a minimum of 12 months.
Nonetheless, a WA court will only convict a person after the prosecution has established that:
Section 56 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) makes it mandatory for a driver involved in a road incident to report it to the police. Failure to give a report can lead to 10 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, the court will disqualify the offender from obtaining or possessing a licence for at least 12 months.
However, the court will not convict a defendant without the prosecution proving beyond all reasonable doubt that:
According to Section 60 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA), it is an offence to put other road users in danger by driving recklessly. The penalty for this crime is subject to whether the offence is a first, second or subsequent.
A first-time offender is liable to a fine of 120 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment. A second-time offence attracts a fine of 180 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment. Any subsequent offence after that means a fine of 240 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
Still, a WA court cannot convict a person until the prosecution has successfully proven that:
Section 60A of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) makes it an offence for an individual to drive a motor vehicle at a speed of 155km/h or beyond. Also, driving at a speed of 45km/h or beyond in a confiscation zone or any other type of road is an offence.
Committing an offence in this section can result in several penalties depending on if the offence is a first third or a subsequent offence. A first-time offence can lead to a fine of 120 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment.
Meanwhile, a subsequent offence attracts a fine of 180 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment. In a situation where it is a subsequent offence, the penalty will be a fine of 240 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment.
However, the court will only convict a person after the prosecution has convinced the court that:
There are several defences for major or serious traffic offences. Some of these defences are:
If an accused unintentionally committed a serious or major traffic offence, they may not be guilty of a crime.
A defendant can claim that they committed a serious or major traffic offence as a response to an emergency. For instance, an accused might have driven dangerously in the process of trying to seek immediate medical attention.
A defendant may not be guilty of some major traffic offences if they were carrying out their duties as an emergency worker. An emergency worker refers to personnel such as the police, firefighters e.t.c.
Major traffic offences often come with severe penalties. Based on this, a person mustn't take a major traffic offence charge lightly. In such a situation, the first step to take is to involve a legal practitioner. This will ensure that an individual gets the best result possible.
If an individual is found guilty of a serious or major traffic offence in a Western Australian (WA) court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of a police check.
Individuals can obtain a background check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/rta1974111/
Legal Aid Western Australia (Traffic Offences) - https://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/find-legal-answers/crime/traffic-offences
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