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Failure of Driver to Disclose Own Identity to Police

Failure or refusal of a driver to disclose their own identity is an offence under section 15(1) of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were the driver of a vehicle,
  2. You were required to disclose your identity in accordance with section 14 of the Act, and
  3. You failed or refused to do so,

Subsection 14(1)(a) of the Act sets out the obligations of drivers to disclose identity information to police.

The subsection provides that a police officer who suspects on reasonable grounds that a vehicle is, was or may have been use in or in connection with a serious offence may require the driver to disclose their identity, as well as the identity of any driver or passenger that was in the vehicle at or around the time the vehicle was or may have been so used, or was last stopped or a direction was given for the vehicle to stop.

You are not guilty of the offence if you establish, on the balance of probabilities, that you had a reasonable excuse for your conduct.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, necessity and self-defence.

If you are able to raise evidence of a general legal defence, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case.

You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

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