The Queensland Government in reaction to a number of police pursuits has imposed mandatory fines and disqualification periods for all offences of Evade Police. While this may seem appropriate for substantial offences involving dangerous, high speed, police pursuits, the reality is that minor infringements will also see the imposition of these mandatory sentences.
Section 754 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, makes it an offence for a driver of a motor vehicle to fail to stop if a police officer, using a police service vehicle, gives the driver a direction to stop the motor vehicle.
A police officer will usually give a driver a direction to stop the motor vehicle by activating the standard red and blue flashing lights and/or siren.
The driver is then compelled, under section 754(2) of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, to stop the motor vehicle as soon as reasonably practicable, if a reasonable person, would do so in the circumstances.
The penalty for failing to stop was recently amended by the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012, to include a mandatory minimum sentence.
A driver who fails to stop when directed, or evades police, faces a minimum fine of 50 penalty units. In dollar terms, that is a minimum fine of $5500.00.
In addition to this fine, if a person is convicted of the offence, the court must also impose a minimum disqualification period of two years.
To be found guilty of this offence, the legislation states that it is sufficient evidence that, in failing to stop, the driver “took action” to avoid being intercepted by police.
|Evade police – $5,500 & 2 years loss of licence.|
A minimum fine of $5500 and mandatory two-year disqualification is a significant penalty for this offence considering the following scenario:
- John Doe, a provisional licence holder is intercepted driving along the Gold Coast Highway, at night, with more than one passenger in the vehicle, contrary to the restrictions on his licence.
- He sees the flashing blue and red lights behind him, and in a moment of foolishness accelerates away to avoid police and the potential loss of licence.
- He quickly sees the foolishness of his situation and pulls over allowing police to catch up with him. He has, albeit for an instant “taken action” to avoid police detection.
- Police charge him with an offence of “evading police”.
- He now faces a minimum $5500 fine and a mandatory two-year disqualification of his licence, causing him severe financial hardship, the loss of his employment and the inability to transport his young children to school.
If John Doe contacted Gatenby Criminal Lawyers immediately, our experience solicitors would explore a number of avenues to reduce the severity of the charge. We routinely make submissions to the prosecution asking them to proceed on a lesser allegation thereby enabling the Magistrate to utilise their discretion as to both the duration of any disqualification period and the amount of any fine.
If you have been charged with evading police, call Gatenby Criminal Lawyers now on (07) 55 800 120 and speak with one of our experienced criminal solicitors. The first consultation is free.
We will sit down with you and provide professional advice along with an obligation free estimate of the cost of our representation with respect to your matter.