What do I do after a car accident in SouthAustralia? If you are in South Australia and are involvedin a car accident, your legal obligations include:• stopping at the accident site • helping anyone who has been injured, and• assisting police with their investigations.
If you don’t, you may be charged with anoffence.
You may also be charged with an offence forthe accident itself.
Some of these offences carry serious consequences.
Your responsibilities after a car accidentin South Australia are set out in the Road Traffic Act 1961.
This Act states that thedriver of a motor vehicle involved in a car accident must stop their vehicle and giveall possible assistance if a person has been killed or injured as a result of the accident.
In addition, unless you are interviewed bypolice at the scene of the accident and are advised otherwise, you must present at a policestation no more than 90 minutes after it occurs.
If a motorist fails to comply with these rules,they may face a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a driving disqualification ofat least 1 year, or both.
Section 45 of the South Australian Road TrafficAct states that a motorist may be charged after an accident if they were driving theirvehicle without due care or attention.
Higher penalties will apply where the motorist causedinjury or death as a result of their careless driving, or where they were trying to evadepolice, were driving under the influence, or were speeding excessively.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 12months in jail, disqualification from driving for at least 6 months, or both.
A motorist in South Australia will be chargedwith an offence if they drive without the correct compulsory third party or CTP insurance,or if they leave an uninsured vehicle standing on the road.
This will come to light followingan accident when you exchange insurance information with the other party or parties involved inthe accident.
The penalty for uninsured driving is a fineof up to $10,000.
You will also be charged with an offence if,after an accident, a police officer discovers your vehicle was unregistered.
In this case,you will be liable to pay a fine of up to $7,500.
Severe penalties will apply to a motoristinvolved in a car accident in South Australia where they are driving without a licence orwhile disqualified or suspended from driving.
The penalties vary depending upon the charge.
For unlicensed driving, you can be fined approximately $1,250.
If you have never held a licence,you can be fined approximately $2,500 the first time you drive unlicensed.
If you arecaught a second or subsequent time, you can be fined $5,000 and sentenced to 1 year imprisonment.
If you are driving even though your licence has been suspended or you have been disqualifiedfrom driving, you may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 6 months for a first offence,and up to 2 years for any subsequent offence.
In addition, for all of these unlicensed drivingoffences, you may also be disqualified from holding a licence for any period the Courtthinks is appropriate.
After a car accident in South Australia, policeroutinely check to see whether drugs or alcohol were a factor.
If a police officer finds evidence of any drugs or alcohol in your system at the timeof the crash, you will be charged with an offence of driving under the influence orDUI, a drug driving offence, or both, depending upon the circumstances.
The penalties forthese offences vary from fines and driving suspension periods to terms of imprisonmentof up to 12 months.
For example, a first-time drink driving offenderwill receive a fine of up to $1,600 or 3 months imprisonment and a licence disqualificationfor at least 12 months.
Any further breaches will attract a higher fine or longer termof imprisonment and a suspension or disqualification from driving of no less than 3 years.
Under South Australian legislation, policeofficers have the right to ask you certain questions and request that you provide information.
While you do have some rights in refusing to answer questions asked of you, it is alwayswise to comply with a police direction.
Refusing to answer questions following a car accidentcould result in a criminal charge.
Following a car accident in South Australia,police will most likely only ask very general questions such as your name, address, dateof birth, facts surrounding the accident, and other broad questions that will assistin the investigation of the accident.
What to do next If you or someone you know is facing chargesas a result of their involvement in a car accident, it is important to obtain legaladvice quickly.
Go To Court Lawyers operate a Legal Hotlineon 1300 636 846 where you can talk directly to a lawyer 7am – midnight, 7 days/week.
Yourcall will be treated with the strictest confidentiality and without judgement.
The lawyer will assess your matter and recommenda course of action.
Should you need a Court lawyer, even if itis at very short notice, the Legal Hotline staff will be able to arrange legal representationfor you.
You can also request a call back via the website gotocourt.
Au and a lawyerwill call you back to assess your matter.