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Road accidents involving vehicles that weigh 4.5 tonnes or beyond often result in severe injuries and sometimes death. Therefore, Queensland has established specific laws to regulate the use of these vehicles.
These stipulations are to prevent such vehicles from causing more damage. As such, any person operating a heavy vehicle must abide by the given regulations.
Failure to abide by these regulations can attract some sanctions. Interested individuals can find these regulations and sanctions in the Vehicle National Law (Queensland).
This article will discuss the different regulations on operating a heavy vehicle, including the penalties. Also, it will cover the possible defences for the various heavy vehicle offences.
If an individual is convicted in a Queensland court for a heavy vehicle offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a criminal history check in Qld.
The Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) contains various rules on the use of heavy vehicles within the state. These regulations are as follows:
Section 85 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) states that a person can only modify any part of a heavy vehicle after they have gotten approval. Modifying a heavy vehicle is an offence that can result in a fine that is not beyond $3000.
However, before a QLD court can convict a person, the prosecution will need to establish that:
It is important to note that modifying a vehicle in this section means adding, removing or changing a part of a heavy vehicle.
Under Section 87A of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland), it is an offence for a person to tamper with a plate or label attached to a heavy vehicle. This offence can attract a fine not exceeding $3000.
Nevertheless, the court cannot convict a person without the prosecution establishing that:
Section 89 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) states that it is an offence for an individual to drive a faulty heavy vehicle. Committing this offence can result in a fine not exceeding $6000.
However, the court will only convict a person after the prosecution has proven beyond all reasonable doubt that:
Section 90 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) states that it is an offence to use or permit another person to drive a heavy vehicle without an emission control system.
Committing this offence can lead to a fine, not above $3000. Also, using an emission control system in contravention of the manufacturer's design is an offence. This offence can attract a fine of $3000.
Additionally, a person can become guilty of an offence if they use an emission control system that does not fit the required standard. This offence can result in a fine of $3000.
Section 91 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) establishes that it is a crime for a person to tamper with the emission control system of a heavy vehicle. Committing this offence can lead to a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Also, it is illegal for an operator to use or permit another person to use a heavy vehicle without an emission control system. This act can result in a fine that is not above $10,000.
Section 92 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) makes it an offence to use the wrong warning signs required on a heavy vehicle. These signs could be to indicate the size of the heavy vehicle or any configuration.
Using the wrong warning signs can attract a fine of $3000. Nevertheless, the court cannot convict a person without the prosecution establishing that:
Based on Section 93 of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland), tampering with the speed limiter of a heavy vehicle is a crime. This crime can attract a fine that is not above $10000.
Furthermore, it is an offence to fix a tampered speed limiter to a heavy vehicle intentionally. The penalty for this crime is a fine not exceeding $10000.
Additionally, it is illegal for an operator to use or permit another person to use a heavy vehicle with a tampered speed limiter. This act can result in a fine that does not exceed $10000.
There are some defences for heavy vehicle offences. Some of these defences can lead to the court giving a less severe penalty or acquitting a person of a heavy vehicle offence charge. Some of these defences are:
If a person drove a faulty vehicle while taking it to a repair shop, they may not be guilty of an offence. However, this might require that the defendant prove the truthfulness of their claim.
The defence of duress is applicable when the accused committed the heavy vehicle offence because of a threat they received from someone.
Some situations may require an officer to commit a heavy vehicle offence while carrying out their duty. In such a situation, they may not be guilty of a crime.
During a trial for most heavy vehicle offences, the prosecution must establish that the accused intentionally committed the crime. As such, an accused may not be guilty of an offence if they can prove that the violation was unintentional.
When accused of committing a heavy vehicle offence, it is best to seek legal advice or representation. This is because a legal practitioner has the required experience to increase a person's chances of avoiding conviction.
If an individual is found guilty of a heavy vehicle offence in a Qld court, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of a police background check.
Individuals can obtain a national police clearance online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.
Heavy Vehicle National Law (Queensland) - http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/hvnl326/
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