Failing To Stop For Police (Vic) | Armstrong Legal

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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.

Failing To Stop For Police (Vic)


Failure to stop for police in Victoria can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Section 59 of the Road Safety Act 1986 states a driver has a general duty to stop the motor vehicle if requested or signalled by a police officer.

The offence

Section 64A of the Act states a driver who knows, or who ought to know, that they have been directed to stop the vehicle, must stop it as soon as practicable. If the driver fails to comply, they will be deemed to have committed an offence.

Under the Act, a police officer is authorised to stop a motor vehicle for reasons including:

  • to conduct a random breath test;
  • to inspect a driver licence;
  • to check logbook requirements are being met;
  • to assess a suspected contravention of regulations for mass or dimensions of a vehicle or trailer;
  • to ensure a vehicle with its load and any trailer are weighed.

Driving a vehicle after being directed to stop by police is also a “relevant offence” under hoon legislation. This could lead to a court order that a vehicle be impounded or immobilised for certain period or time, or forfeited.

Failing to stop for police is also an offence under section 319AA of the Crimes Act 1958. The section covers dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police. It states a person must not drive dangerously or negligently if they know, or ought to know, that they have been directed by police to stop the vehicle, and a police officer is pursuing the vehicle. The penalty is 3 years imprisonment.

Direction to stop

A “direction to stop” means any action by a police officer on duty to indicate to a driver that they must stop the vehicle. It includes the:

  • giving of hand signals;
  • display of signs;
  • flashing of headlights;
  • use of red and blue flashing lights;
  • sounding of an alarm, siren or other warning device from a vehicle driven by a police officer in the course of their duties.

What must be proven

The prosecution must prove:

  • the driver was given a direction to stop;
  • a police officer gave the direction;
  • the driver knew they had been given a direction;
  • the driver did not stop as soon as reasonably practicable.

Defences

The Act states a driver might not be guilty of an offence of failing to stop if the person making the request or signal is not in uniform, or the driver believed that person was not a police officer.

The driver might not be guilty of an offence of failing to stop if the direction given by the police was not clearly given.

The driver may be able to claim they could not stop the vehicle within a reasonable time after the direction.

Penalties

For a first offence, the penalty is 60 penalty units ($9913.20), or imprisonment for 6 months, or both, and a licence disqualification of at least six months. For a subsequent offence, the penalty is 120 penalty units ($19,826.40), or imprisonment for 12 months, or both, and a licence disqualification of at least 12 months.

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

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