10/09/2022 15:19

Vietnam: When shall a traffic accident subject to criminal prosecution?

Vietnam: When shall a traffic accident subject to criminal prosecution?

Hi, Lawnet. I have some questions. When shall a traffic accident subject to criminal prosecution? My brother, while riding a motorcycle, collided with another motorbike, causing the other driver to break his arm. Aside from that, no property damage occurred. Will my brother go to jail in this case? (My Dung – Dak Lak, Vietnam)

Thank you for your question. Lawnet would like to answer as follows:

Article 260 of the Criminal Code 2015 (amended and supplemented in 2017) of Vietnam stipulates the road traffic offences as follows:

"1. Any person who violates road traffic rules and causes damage for another person in any of the following circumstances shall be liable to a fine of from VND 30,000,000 to VND 100,000,000 or face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 01 - 05 years' imprisonment:

a) The offence results in the death of a person;

b) The offence causes ≥ 61% WPI for another person;

c) The offence causes a total WPI of 61% - 121% for more than one person.

d) The property damage caused by the offence is assessed at from VND 100,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000.

2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 03 - 10 years' imprisonment:

a) The offender does not have a driving license as prescribed;

b) The offender is under the influence of alcohol and with blood or breath alcohol content above the limit, or under the influence of drugs or other strong stimulants;

c) The offender leaves the site after causing the accident to evade responsibility or refuses to help the victim;

d) The offender fails to comply with the traffic controller's commands;

dd) The offence results in the death of 02 people;

e) The offence causes a total WPI of 122% - 200% for more than one person;

g) The property damage caused by the offence is assessed at from VND 500,000,000 to under VND 1,500,000,000.

3. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 07 - 15 years' imprisonment:

a) The offence results in the death of ≥ 03 people;

b) The offence causes a total WPI of ≥ 201% for ≥ 03 people;

c) The offence results in property damage assessed at ≥ VND 1,500,000,000.

4. If a road traffic offence that is likely to have any of the consequences mentioned in Point a, b, c Clause 3 of this Article is not promptly prevented, the offender shall be liable to a fine of from VND 10,000,000 to VND 50,000,000 or face a penalty of up to 01 year's community sentence or 03 - 12 months' imprisonment.

5. The offender might also be prohibited from holding certain positions or doing certain jobs for 01 - 05 years.”.

Thus, a person who violates the regulations on participating in road traffic will be prosecuted for criminal liability if causing damage to property or people to the following extent:

- The offence results in the death

- The offence causes a total WPI of ≥ 61% of 01 person

- The offence causes a total WPI of 61% to 201% of more than 02 people

- The offence results in property damage assessed from 100,000,000 VND to less than 500,000,000 VND.

Depending on the actual consequences, the fault of the violator, and the severity of the cases specified in Clauses 2 and 3, Article 260 of the Criminal Code shall be considered. Furthermore, offenders will face additional penalties such as a one- to five-year ban from holding certain positions, practicing certain professions, or performing certain jobs. 

Regarding your brother's case:

Because the information you provided is not specific, we have a few comments as follows:

Firstly, it is necessary to determine the fault factor of your brother: it is necessary to determine whether your brother, in the process of participating in traffic, has violated one of the above according to the Road Traffic Law.

Secondly, regarding the actual consequences: your brother's case did not cause damage to property but caused damage to the health of the other person. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the WPI according to the provisions of Circular 22/2019/TT-BYT.

From the above criteria, if your brother's actions cause the above consequences, he will be examined for criminal liability.

Your brother will not be prosecuted for criminal responsibility if the behavior does not have enough evidence to conclude a crime. However, because your brother's behavior has caused injury to another, it is necessary to compensate for the damage according to civil law.

Clause 1, Article 584 of the 2015 Civil Code provides:

"1. A person intentionally or unintentionally harming the life, health, honor, dignity, reputation, property, or other legal rights or interests of a person, must compensate for such damage, unless otherwise prescribed in this Code or relevant laws."

The compensation shall be based on the principles under Article 585 of the Civil Code 2015, specifically as follows:

- Actual damage must be compensated in full and promptly. Unless otherwise provided by law, parties may agree on the amount of compensation; on the form of compensation, which may be money, in kind or the performance of an act; lump sum payment or payment in instalments; and on the method of compensation.

- The compensation payable by a person having caused damage may be reduced if such damage was caused unintentionally and is very large in comparison to the financial positions of such person.

- If the amount of compensation determined becomes unrealistic, the aggrieved person, or the person having caused damage, has the right to request a court or another competent authority to change the amount of compensation.

- If the aggrieved party is partly his/her fault for causing the damage, that part of damage shall not be compensated.

- The party having rights and interests infringed shall not be compensated if such damage incurs due to his/her failure to adopt necessary measures to prevent the damage.

Best regards!

Phuong Uyen
99


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