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  • Hooning Offences and Penalties in Queensland

    Queensland is among the states in Australia that have adopted a sterner approach in reducing the rate at which people commit hooning offences.

    The reason for this is not far-fetched. Hooning is an anti-social behaviour that increases the chances for road accidents, consequently putting the lives of others at risk. Examples of hooning activities include street racing, reckless or careless driving and starting a car in a way that causes excessive noise.

    The strict approach adopted involves including punishments such as impoundment and forfeiture of vehicles apart from fines and imprisonment sentences.

    These penalties are evident under different sections of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) and the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld).

    This article will discuss what the laws say regarding the act of hooning, the penalties and possible defences.

    If an individual is convicted in a Queensland court for a Hooning offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a national criminal background check in Queensland.

    What the Law Says Regarding Hooning

    Based on the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), a person may face charges for hooning if they commit an offence under the following sections:

    #1. Careless Driving of Motor Vehicles

    Section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld), states that it is an offence for an individual to operate a motor vehicle without proper care or consideration for other road users. The maximum penalty for this crime is 40 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment. Also, the court will have to disqualify the offender for a minimum of 6 months.

    However, there are some circumstances under which an offender in this section may receive higher penalties. These circumstances include the offender causing grievous bodily harm or death to others and not possessing a licence.

    Specifically, Section 83(a) of the Act established that if the offender caused death or severe bodily harm to others and was without a licence, they may receive 160 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment.

    However, if the offender only caused severe bodily harm or death to others, they will be liable to 80 penalty units or 1-year imprisonment.

    Nevertheless, convicting a person for the crime of careless driving of motor vehicle requires that the prosecution proves beyond all reasonable doubt that:

    • The defendant operated a motor vehicle.
    • The way the accused drove the vehicle endangered the lives of other road users.
    • The defendant has no justifiable excuse for their action.

    #2. Dangerous Driving of Vehicles

    Section 84 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) establishes that a person can become guilty of an offence if they dangerously drive a vehicle, a tram, an animal or a train. An offender under this section is liable to 4 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

    However, suppose the offender has been convicted once in the past for a similar offence. In that case, they will be liable to a maximum of 8 penalty units or 1-year imprisonment, while a double conviction in the past attracts a mandatory imprisonment sentence.

    Nevertheless, for the court to convict a person for dangerous driving of a vehicle, the prosecution will need to show that:

    • The accused drove a vehicle, animal, tram or train.
    • The defendant drove in a way considered to be dangerous.
    • The accused has no way of justifying their actions.

    #3. Racing and Speed Trials on Roads

    Section 85 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) states that it is an offence if:

    • A person organises, promotes or engages in street racing using vehicles or animals.
    • An individual attempts to break a speed record on the street using a vehicle or an animal.
    • A person carries out a speed trial on the street using a vehicle or an animal.
    • An individual tries to display their driving skills or the mechanical condition of their vehicle to win a trophy or get a reward that is at $100 or above.

    Carrying out any of these acts attracts a maximum of 40 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment and a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 6 months.

    However, in the case of speed trials on the road, if a person has obtained a permit from the commissioner, they may not be guilty of an offence.

    When giving this permit, the commissioner may impose some special conditions to ensure the public's safety. If the recipient of this permit contravenes the conditions present in the permit, they will be liable to a maximum of 40 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.

    Nonetheless, it is essential to note that the court cannot convict a person for committing the crime of racing and speed trials on the road without the prosecution convincing the court that:

    • The defendant organised, promoted or engaged in street racing and speed trials.
    • The accused made use of a vehicle or an animal.
    • The defendant intentionally committed the offence and has no justifiable excuse.

    The Power of the Police over a Suspect

    Upon the commission of a hooning offence, the police have the right to impound, immobilise or confiscate a vehicle as seen in the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld).

    Specifically, the type of hooning offence determines the punishment the police will issue. Primarily, hooning violations come in two categories; type 1 and type 2 hooning offences.

    Type 1 hooning offences include acts such as dangerous/careless driving, street racing, and noisily starting a vehicle.

    On the other hand, type 2 hooning offences include driving an uninsured car, operating a car without a valid licence or permit, driving under the influence, and going beyond the prescribed speed limit.

    In the case of impoundment, a suspect will have to apply to the commissioner of police for the early release of their vehicle. The commissioner may either accept or reject the application. If denied, the suspect can appeal through the Queensland Magistrates Court.

    Possible Defences to a Hooning Offence

    There are several defences that the defendant can claim when facing charges for hooning. Some of these defences include:

    #1. Necessity

    If a defendant committed the crime of hooning to prevent something terrible from occurring, they could claim the defence of necessity.

    #2. The Defendant Was Distracted

    A defendant can raise the defence that they committed the crime because something distracted them while driving.

    #3. The Accused Has a Permit

    A defendant might not be guilty of hooning if they obtained a permit from the commissioner of police before organising or participating in street racing.

    The Court that Handles Most of the Offences Classified as Hooning

    In Queensland, the Magistrates Court conducts the majority of trials for the offences categorised as hooning.

    Bottom Line

    Hooning attracts a wide range of penalties, which is why getting the right legal assistance is crucial. A legal practitioner has the experience required to help a person accused of hooning get the best result possible.

    Will a Hooning Offence in Queensland (Qld) show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a Hoon offence in Queensland (Qld), the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on the results of their criminal background check.

    Individuals can obtain a criminal history check online via the Australian National Character Check - ANCC® website.


    Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) -

    Police Power and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) -

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