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This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

Hoon Laws (Qld)


Laws to prohibit hooning were introduced to improve road safety and protect the public from dangerous and anti-social use of vehicles. Hooning offences are governed by Chapter 4 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and are divided into Type 1 and less serious Type 2 offences. Depending on the seriousness of the offence, an offender can be issued with an infringement notice, a notice to appear in a magistrates court, or arrested. Penalties include immobilisation, impoundment and confiscation of vehicles on top of any or other court orders or fines.

Type 1 Hooning Offences

Type 1 hooning offences are:

  • dangerous driving;
  • careless driving;
  • organising, promoting or taking part in racing and sped trials;
  • wilfully starting or driving a vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke;
  • evading police.

Penalties

Police have the power to impound a vehicle for 90 days for a first Type 1 offence.

For a second or subsequent Type 1 offence:

  • police can impound a vehicle until the end of proceedings for all charges;
  • the vehicle can become the property of the state (forfeited).

Type 2 Hooning Offences

Type 2 hooning offences are:

  • driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle;
  • driving without a licence or suspended licence;
  • high range drink driving (blood alcohol content .15% or above);
  • speeding by more than 40km/h over the limit;
  • driving a modified vehicle that does not comply with vehicle safety standards;
  • failure to supply a specimen of breath or blood;
  • driving while under a 24-hour suspension order.

Penalties

For the first Type 2 offence, the vehicle will not be immobilised or impounded.

For a second Type 2 offence, police have the power to impound a vehicle for 7 days.

For a third Type 2 offence, police have the power to impound a vehicle for 90 days.

For a fourth Type 2 offence:

  • police can impound a vehicle until the end of proceedings for all charges;
  • the vehicle can become the property of the state (forfeited permanently).

Vehicle impoundment or immobilisation for hooning

Police can order a motor vehicle to be produced at a stated time and stated place for impoundment or immobilisation. The owner must pay the costs of towing, storage and release.

If a police officer decides the impounded vehicle is to be kept at a place other than a holding yard for the impoundment period, the officer can choose to remove and confiscate the vehicle’s number plates. The officer may attach a “number plate confiscation notice” to the vehicle. The notice states:

  • the vehicle must not be operated;
  • the period for which the vehicle must not be operated;
  • the notice must not be removed from the vehicle;
  • the date the notice was attached to the vehicle

If the plates are removed, such a notice must be attached to the vehicle.

The officer can also choose to attach an immobilising device, or arrange for an immobilising device to be attached, to the vehicle.

The owner of the vehicle is prohibited from moving it during the impoundment period, or interfering with it while it is immobilised or the number plates are removed.

Once an impoundment period has ended, the owner or an authorised representative must collect the vehicle to reclaim the number plates and pay any costs associated with the impoundment. Failure to pay the costs could lead to the vehicle being sold to pay the debt.

Vehicle forfeiture for hooning

If a person commits two Type 1 hooning offences or four Type 2 hooning offences within five  years, the vehicle can be forfeited to the state to be sold at auction or crushed for scrap metal. This is regardless of the value of the vehicle or whether there is money owing on a loan for it.

Appeal rights

The user of a vehicle that has been impounded or immobilised for hooning offences can apply for the release of the vehicle on the basis that they would suffer severe hardship without the use of the vehicle. The commissioner may grant an application only if they are satisfied a refusal would:

  • cause severe financial hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s family by depriving the applicant of a way to earn a living;
  • cause severe physical hardship to the applicant or the applicant’s family.

The owner of a vehicle can also apply for its release:

  • if the offence for which the car was impounded or immobilised happened without the owner’s consent;
  • if the cause of the offence has been rectified e.g. the vehicle was unregistered and it is now registered;
  • on the grounds the impoundment or immobilisation was unreasonable.

For advice on hoon laws or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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