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In South Australia, it is the obligation of every driver to pull their vehicle over whenever the police give the order. Primarily, this provides the opportunity for the police to enforce traffic laws.
For instance, the police can determine if a person is driving under the influence and subsequently prevent the furtherance of the offence.
As such, failing to stop for the police in South Australia is an offence with its consequence. The rules and sanctions regarding failing to stop for the police are present in the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA).
This article will delve into the law on failing to stop the vehicle after the police have given the order. It will discuss the penalties and possible defences for this crime and the court that handles the trials.
If an individual is convicted in a SA court for a failing to stop for police offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national criminal background check in South Australia (SA).
The Road Traffic Act 1961 empowers the police to carry out the following actions:
Section 40H of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) states that the police have the authority to:
Also, section 40H(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 establishes that upon receiving the order to stop the vehicle, a driver must do so as soon as practicable. Going against any of these directions attracts a fine of $5000.
Nevertheless, the court will only convict a person for an offence in this section after the prosecution has established that:
Section 40Q of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) allows the police to inspect a vehicle on the road or official premises. The inspection can occur even when the driver is not present in the vehicle. There are several reasons why police can carry out an inspection. These reasons are :
Section 40R of the Road Traffic Act 1961 empowers the police to search vehicles on certain official premises to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. According to this section, a police officer can search a vehicle whether or not a person is present in the vehicle if they believe that:
In this section, a search can involve the police carrying out the following action:
There are three primary courts in South Australia. These courts are the Magistrate, District and Supreme courts.
The Magistrates courts handle most of the less severe offences, such as failing to stop after the police have given the order.
However, the District and Supreme courts conduct trials of severe crimes. It is important to note that while the District and Supreme courts have a jury, the magistrate does not require a jury.
There are some defences a person can use when faced with a charge of failing to stop after the police have given the order. Some of these defences are:#1. The Accused Did Not Get the Signal to Stop
There are different signals the police give when trying to stop a vehicle. These signals could involve headlights, the siren and the red and blue flashing light on their service vehicle. If a defendant was not aware of any of the signs the police have, they might have a defence.#2. Mistake of Fact
A mistake of fact defence applies when the accused did not know that an order was coming from a police officer. This ignorance could be because the police had no means of identification. It could also be that the police officer was not using their service vehicle when they gave the order.#3. Duress
A defendant could claim duress if they refused to stop the vehicle because of a threat they received from someone. This threat may involve physical harm. However, this defence depends on the ability to convince the court that there was no other option but to commit the offence.#4. Emergency
Some emergencies could require a person to continue driving after receiving an order to stop the vehicle. An example of these situations is if a person is trying to get to a hospital for immediate medical attention.
Although the law gives the police the power to stop vehicles, this authority has some limitations. These limitations are the right of the person pulled over. A person pulled over has the right to:
Getting convicted for failing to stop for the police could leave a person with a criminal record. A criminal record can limit a person's access as they will be unable to apply for some jobs or travel to some countries. Therefore, a person must seek legal advice or representation when accused of failing to stop.
If an individual is found guilty of a failing to stop for police offence in SA, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their criminal background check.
Individuals can obtain a national police clearance online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) - https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/lz?path=%2FC%2FA%2FRoad%20Traffic%20Act%201961
Legal Services Commision of South Australia (Traffic Offences) - https://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/dsh/print/ch13.php
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