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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Failing to Stop for Police Offences Failing to Stop for Police Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    Failing to Stop for Police Offences and Penalties in Victoria (VIC)

    One of the traffic laws in Victoria is the requirement for drivers to stop their vehicles upon receiving an order from the Police. Any violation of this rule is a crime and has consequences.

    It could result in the Police going in pursuit of the offender and arresting them. Subsequently, the offender may get jail time.

    Interested people can find the rules and sanctions for failing to stop the vehicle after receiving the order in the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic). These rules and sanctions serve to discourage refusing to stop after the Police have given the order.

    This article will discuss the law on failing to stop after receiving the order, including the penalties. It will also cover the possible defences for failing to stop after receiving the order.

    If an individual is convicted in a Victorian 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 Victoria (Vic).

    What the Law Says Regarding Failing to Stop for the Police in Victoria

    Based on the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), a person can become guilty of an offence if they carry out the following acts:

    #1. Drive a Motor Vehicle When Directed by the Police to Stop

    Section 64A of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) states that a driver must bring their vehicle to a halt as soon as practicable after receiving the order from the Police. Furthermore, this section clarifies that a person cannot continue driving unless the Police have ordered them to do so.

    Failing to stop the vehicle can attract a fine of 60 penalty units or six months imprisonment if it is a first-time offence. A second-time offence carries a fine of 120 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

    Additionally, in this section, the court must disqualify a first time offender from obtaining a licence for a minimum of 6 months. On the other hand, a repeat offender will have their licence disqualified for at least 12 months.

    Nevertheless, before a Victorian court can convict a person for driving after the Police have ordered them to stop, the prosecution must establish that:

    • The accused drove a motor vehicle on the road.
    • The Police indicated that the defendant should stop their vehicle.
    • The Police gave this order in the course of their duties.
    • The defendant was aware of the police order but refused to comply.
    • The accused has no legitimate excuse for their actions.

    It is important to note that there are several means through which the Police can indicate for a driver to stop their vehicle. These means include hand signals, a headlight, siren, including the red and blue flashing light.

    #2. Fail to Perform their Duty While Operating or Driving a Motor Vehicle

    As per Section 59 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), certain duties are expected from a person operating a motor vehicle. One of those duties includes the driver stopping the vehicle so the Police can carry out an inspection.

    Usually, the inspection involves the Police checking the driver's licence/permit. Also, it could include asking for the name and address of the driver. However, some other reasons why the Police might require a driver to stop their vehicle are:

    • To determine the weight of the load on a vehicle and to discover the weight of a vehicle's part.
    • To find out if a person is not driving beyond the stipulated number of hours for which they are to drive.
    • Finally, to ensure that a driver is not disobeying traffic laws, such as driving under the influence or going beyond the speed limit.

    Failing to stop a vehicle can result in a fine of 60 penalty units or a minimum of 6 months imprisonment or both if it is a first-time offence. However, if it is a subsequent offence, the fine will be 120 penalty units or a minimum of 12 months imprisonment or both.

    Nevertheless, the court will only convict a person for failing to perform the duty of stopping their vehicle after the prosecution has shown that:

    • The accused drove a motor vehicle on the road.
    • The Police gave an order for the defendant to bring their vehicle to a halt.
    • The defendant was aware of this order.
    • However, the defendant refused to comply with the order without any legitimate reason.

    Possible Defences to the Offence of Failing to Stop for the Police

    There are some defences that a person can use against the charge of failing to stop the vehicle after the Police have given the order. These defences are:

    #1. The Defendant Mistook a Police Officer’s Identity

    An accused can claim that they were not aware that the person that ordered them to stop their vehicle was a police officer. This could be because the officer was not wearing their uniform or using their service vehicle.

    #2. The Accused Was Not Aware of the Order

    A defendant might have a defence if they did not notice the signal the Police gave for them to stop the vehicle. However, this defence's effectiveness relies on how well the accused can convince the court. It will require the defendant to prove the reasonableness of their claim.

    #3. Necessity

    The defence of necessity applies if the accused failed to stop the vehicle because of an emergency. For instance, a defendant might have driven without stopping because they were trying to get immediate medical attention for a passenger.

    The Court that Handles the Trials for Refusing to Stop for the Police

    In Victoria, the three main courts are the Magistrates Court, County Court and the Supreme Court. Among these courts, the Magistrate Court conducts most of the trials for different offences, including failing to stop for the Police.

    The Rights of a Person Stopped by the Police

    Although the legislation of Victoria has given the Police the authority to stop vehicles, there are certain rights available to drivers. These rights are:

    • A person pulled over can ask for the Police to provide a means of identification.
    • A person may decide not to answer any question apart from the questions on their identity.
    • An individual has the right to know why a police officer is asking for their name or address.

    Bottom Line

    A conviction for failing to stop for the Police can leave a person with a criminal record. A criminal record restricts an individual from enjoying certain things.

    For instance, a person with a criminal record may be unable to apply for specific jobs or travel to some countries.

    Therefore, a person needs to seek legal advice or representation when facing a charge of failing to stop for the Police. This legal assistance can go a long way in increasing the chances of getting the best possible result.

    Will a failing to stop for police offence in Victoria show up on a criminal history check?

    If an individual is found guilty of failing to stop for police offence in Victoria, 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.

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