LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
  • Resources & Technical Articles
  • Pre-Employment Screening Topics
  • Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z)
  • Driving & Traffic Offences
  • Locations
  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Driving & Traffic Offences Hooning Offences Hooning Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    Hooning Offences and Penalties in Western Australia (WA)

    In recent times, there have been several complaints regarding people engaging in hoon activities such as street racing and reckless driving.

    As a means of curtailing these acts, the state of Western Australia amended the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) to include stiffer penalties. Penalties for hooning now range from the impoundment of vehicles up to fines or imprisonment.

    The legislation for hooning is evident in sections covering the aspects of "driving in a reckless manner", "driving at a reckless speed", and "dangerous driving."

    This article will primarily consider the various sections under the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) that deals with the act of hooning, the penalties that follow, and possible defences.

    If an individual is convicted in a WA court for a Hooning offence, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in WA.

    What the Law Says in Regards to Carrying out Hooning Activities in WA

    According to the Road Traffic Act 1974, a person can face charges for hooning if they commit an offence under the following:

    #1. Driving in a Reckless Manner

    Section 60 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) states that a person commits an offence if they recklessly drive a motor vehicle, posing a danger to other road users. The penalties for this violation depend on the number of times a person has been convicted.

    A first-time offender is liable to a fine of 120 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment. Also, the court will have to disqualify them from obtaining or possessing a licence for at least 6 months.

    A second-time offender may face 180 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment and a compulsory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months.

    A third-time or subsequent offender could receive a fine of 240 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment and a permanent disqualification.

    However, some circumstances can aggravate the crime of driving in a reckless manner, consequently increasing the penalties.

    Some of these circumstances include:

    • The offender was driving a vehicle without authorisation from the owner.
    • The offender has no proper authorisation to operate a vehicle.
    • The accused person was driving over the speed limit of 30km/h.
    • The offender was driving in a reckless manner to escape arrest.

    In a situation where the offender was trying to escape the police, they may receive a five years imprisonment sentence. Nevertheless, if the case is dealt with summarily, the penalty will be two years imprisonment.

    Additionally, the court will have to disqualify the offender for a period not less than 2 years, while a third or subsequent offence will attract a permanent disqualification.

    Nevertheless, before the court can convict a person for the crime of driving in a reckless manner, the court will need to convince the court that:

    • The defendant intentionally drove in a manner that put other road users at risk.
    • The defendant has no legal excuse for driving recklessly.
    #2. Driving at a Reckless Speed

    Based on Section 60A of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA), a person commits a crime when they drive a vehicle at a speed of 155km/h or beyond on any length of the street.

    Also, a person can become guilty of an offence if they drive a vehicle at a speed of 45km/h within a confiscation zone or any other length of the street.

    A first-time offence under this section comes with a fine of 120 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment and a compulsory disqualification for a minimum of 6 months.

    In the case of a second-time offence, this carries a fine of 180 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment and a mandatory disqualification for at least 12 months.

    This crime attracts a fine of 240 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment and a permanent disqualification for third and subsequent offences.

    However, there are circumstances under which the crime of driving at a reckless speed can become aggravated. Some of these situations are:

    • The accused did not get permission from the vehicle owner before getting behind the wheel.
    • The offender does not have a relevant licence or permit.
    • The offender drove at a reckless speed to avoid being caught by the police.

    Nevertheless, convicting a person for the crime of driving at a reckless speed requires that the prosecution establish that:

    • The defendant intentionally drove the vehicle beyond the prescribed speed limit.
    • The accused has no way of legally justifying their action.
    #3. Dangerous Driving

    Section 61 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) establishes that any individual who drives a motor vehicle in such a way that endangers the lives of the public or another person is guilty of an offence.

    A first time offender under this section is liable to 60 penalty units. In comparison, a repeat offender may receive a fine of 120 penalty units or imprisonment for 9 months, including a 12 months disqualification.

    However, committing the crime of dangerous driving under an aggravating circumstance can attract more severe penalties. Consequently, this could result in a fine of 720 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment and a disqualification lasting at least 2 years.

    Nonetheless, before the court can conclude that a person is guilty of dangerous driving, the prosecution will need to establish the following:

    • First, the defendant drove a vehicle in a manner that put others in danger.
    • The defendant intentionally committed the crime and has no legal excuse.

    The Actions That the Police Can Take When a Person Commits a Hooning Offence

    Upon commission of a hooning offence, the police have the right to arrest a suspect without a warrant. Also, the law allows the police to impound the suspect's vehicle for a particular period.

    Possible Defences

    Some defences are suitable in challenging an allegation of hooning. These defences are:

    #1. The Defendant Was Distracted

    If the accused did not commit the crime of hooning intentionally, but as a result of being distracted, they may have a defence.

    #2. Necessity

    The defence of necessity stands when the accused can show that they committed the crime for a good reason and that there was no alternative. For instance, the defendant can claim that they drove recklessly in the process of escaping someone that was trying to kill them.

    #3. The Accused Was Not Driving

    If the defendant raises the defence that they were not the person operating the vehicle and the prosecution cannot prove otherwise, the court may have to acquit the accused.

    The Court that Handles Trials for Hooning Offences in WA

    In Western Australia, the Magistrates Court handles most traffic crimes, including hooning offences.

    Bottom Line

    Among the different traffic offences, the offences regarding hooning carry severe penalties. As such, when facing charges for any hooning violation, a person should seek legal counsel. Getting legal counsel can increase a person's chances of getting the best result possible.

    Will a Hooning Offence in WA show up on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

    If an individual is found guilty of a Hoon offence in WA, 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.

    Copyright & Disclaimer

    The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

    The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

    You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

    The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

    Top