Whether you are a new driver or a motor enthusiast, make sure you take note of Queensland’s tough anti-hoon laws. These laws have increased the penalties that may apply to driving offences and, for some offences, can even result in the permanent confiscation of a vehicle.
These anti hooning laws were introduced in Queensland as an attempt to improve road safety standards and to further protect the community against the dangerous and anti-social use of motor vehicles.
Hooning legislation in QLD
At the end of 2013, amendments were made to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 relating to traffic offences.Under the amended provisions of this Act, police now have an increased power to impound, confiscate or immobilise vehicles that have been involved in a hooning offence.
In Queensland, hooning offences include speeding, playing loud music, careless driving or street racing. Penalties for these types of offences have previously involved a fine or imprisonment.
Section 69A of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 divides certain hooning offences into “Type 1” and “Type 2” offences, depending on seriousness.Certain laws regarding impounding and immobilising vehicles apply, depending on whether the offence is a Type 1 or Type 2 offence, and whether it is the offender’s first or subsequent charge or conviction for that type of offence.
Type 1 hooning charges are considered more serious offences and include:dangerous driving or interference with a motor vehicle; reckless or careless driving; drag racing; wilfully driving in a way that creates unnecessary noise or smoke; and failing to stop after being instructed to do so by police (also known as “evading police”).
Type 2 hooning charges are less serious than Type 1 offences and include: driving in an unregistered or uninsured vehicle; driving without a licence or whilst under suspension; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; failing to complete, or refusing to complete, a breath or saliva test; and speeding in excess of 40 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.
Penalties for hooning offences
The police powers include impoundment, licence plate confiscation and immobilisation.Impoundment will result in the detainment of the vehicle in a holding yard.Licence plate confiscation involves the confiscation of the vehicle’s number places, and immobilisation involves the attachment of an immobilisation device to prevent the vehicle from being moved.
Under the previous scheme, a Type 1 offence would usually result in an impoundment of two days. However, under the recent changes made in Queensland, a first time offender may have their vehicle impounded or immobilised for 90 days. It is important to note however, that any subsequent Type 1 offence will result in the indefinite forfeiture of a vehicle, pending the result of any court proceedings.If you are found guilty of a Type 1 offence on two or more occasions, then your car will be forfeited permanently and will become the property of the State.
A first – time offender of a Type 2 offence will not have their car impounded or immobilised. In the event of a second offence, the offending vehicle will be impounded or immobilised for seven days. A third infringement will result in a 90-day impoundment or immobilisation and a fourth offence may result in the indefinite confiscation of the vehicle after the conclusion of any court proceedings.
What if my vehicle has been impounded?
It is important to keep in mind that even if the car you are driving is not yours, it can still be impounded or immobilised. Once an impoundment period is over, the driver or registered owner of the vehicle must cover all costs associated with the impoundment, unless as the driver you have been found not guilty of the charges, or the proceedings against the driver have been withdrawn. These expenses include towing, impoundment and release costs. Similarly, once an immobilisation period has expired, the registered owner of the vehicle, or an authorised third party, must attend at the property point detailed on the notice of immobilisation to reclaim the number plates and pay any costs associated with the immobilisation.
In certain circumstances, it may also be possible to appeal the impoundment or immobilisation of a vehicle. For example, if the detainment of your vehicle will cause significant financial hardship, or if the offence occurred without your consent, you may be able to apply to the Commissioner of Police for the release of your vehicle. If your application is subsequently refused, you may have additional rights to challenge the decision in the Magistrates Court. To ensure you are fully aware of the charges against you and your rights in relation to your vehicle, a qualified lawyer will be able to assist you to understand the nature of the charges against you and advise you on any rights you may have.
Offences relating to impoundment and immobilisation
If your vehicle has been confiscated by the police and has been impounded, you are prohibited from moving a vehicle from the holding yard during the period of impoundment.To do so is an offence, which attracts a maximum penalty of $4,554.00.It is also an offence to attempt to interfere with a vehicle whilst it is immobilised or whilst the licence plates have been confiscated.