Failing To Stop For Police
Section 754 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 makes it a serious offence to fail to stop a motor vehicle when required to do so by a police officer. The minimum penalty is 50 penalty units or 50 days imprisonment, and the maximum 200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.
In addition to this mandatory minimum penalty, a mandatory disqualification period of 2 years must be applied to any Queensland driver’s licence held by a person who is guilty of the offence.
What Must be Proven
For a court to find a person guilty of this offence, the following must be established:
- A police officer gave you, as the driver of a motor vehicle, a direction to stop your vehicle, and
- You did not stop your vehicle as soon as reasonably practicable (if a reasonable person would have stopped in the same circumstances).
Key to any prosecution for an offence against s754 is proof that a direction was actually given (i.e. there was some overt indication to stop from a clearly identifiable police vehicle) and that the person to whom the direction was given did not stop as soon as reasonably practicable. This means that even if you do ultimately stop your vehicle, you might still be charged if the police form the view that you did not stop as soon as was reasonably practicable.
You might not be guilty of an offence of failing to stop if the direction given by the police was not clearly given. For example, if a plainclothes officer in an unmarked vehicle gives an equivocal hand motion or, as was the case in Williams v the Commissioner of Police, where the police vehicle giving the direction to stop is so far away that a reasonable person would not necessarily understand that the direction was being given to them in particular.
Which Court Will Hear My Matter?
Charges of failing to stop a motor vehicle for Police will be heard and determined in a Magistrates Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.