LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences Serious and Major Traffic Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    Serious and Major Traffic Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    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.

    What the Law Says About the Different Major or Serious Offences

    The Road Traffic Act 1974 has several offences classified as major or serious traffic offences. They include:

    #1. Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Grievous Bodily Injury

    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:

    • The person was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that they were unable to exercise proper control of the vehicle.
    • The individual operated the vehicle while under the influence of drugs to the point where they were incapable of exercising full control of the vehicle.
    • The person was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs to the extent that they were incapable of driving properly.

    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.

    #2. Dangerous Driving

    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:

    • The defendant drove a motor vehicle on the road.
    • The accused person drove a motor vehicle in a manner that placed the public at risk.
    • The defendant has no justifiable excuse for driving in such a manner.

    #3. Reporting Incident Occasioning Harm or Damage to Property

    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:

    • The defendant operated a motor vehicle on the road.
    • The defendant got involved in a road accident occasioning harm or damage to property.
    • The accused failed to report the event to the police.
    • The defendant has no justifiable excuse for failing to report the incident to the police.

    #4. Reckless Driving

    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:

    • The defendant operated a motor vehicle on the road.
    • How the accused drove the vehicle falls under the description of reckless driving.
    • The accused willfully drove in that manner.
    • The defendant has means of justifying their action.

    #5. Driving at a Reckless Speed

    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:

    • The defendant drove a motor vehicle on the road.
    • The accused intentionally drove beyond the prescribed speed limit.
    • The accused has no means of justifying their action.

    Possible Defences for the Major or Serious Traffic Offences

    There are several defences for major or serious traffic offences. Some of these defences are:

    • Offence Was Unintentional
    • If an accused unintentionally committed a serious or major traffic offence, they may not be guilty of a crime.

    • Emergency
    • 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.

    • Defendant is an Emergency Worker
    • 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.

    Bottom Line

    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.

    Will a serious or major traffic offence in WA show up on a nationally coordinated criminal history check?

    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.

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

    The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

    You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

    The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

    Top