Tougher penalties for drivers who evade police
The Police Powers and Related Legislation (Evasion) Act 2017 commenced operation on 13 September and makes a number of amendments to various legislation relating to the offence of evading police.
- Evading Police is where a driver takes action to avoid apprehension or interception by Police. The new laws increase penalties for the offence, including a minimum fine of $1590 for a first time offender. The minimum fine for a second offence is at $3180.
- A new offence of evading police with aggravated circumstances has also been included in the new laws. This will apply to drivers who evade police and at the time are driving dangerously or recklessly, are drink or drug driving, or whose drivers licence has been suspended or disqualified. The evade police will also be deemed aggravated where the vehicle is stolen or the driver has committed another serious offence or is breaching bail. The penalty for a first offence of evading police with aggravated circumstances is a minimum fine of $3180 up to $15,900.
- There are also minimum periods of driver licence disqualification for offending drivers. Where an evade police offence has occurred, the driver will be disqualified for at least 6 months. For a second offender, the driver will be disqualified for at least 12 months. If the offence is aggravated, the driver will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of 2 years.
- Police also have new powers to arrest offenders who they believe on reasonable grounds to have committed and offence and have up to three months to locate and seize a car used in an evading police offence.
- Where an individual is a repeat offender, the new laws allow for the car to be automatically forfeited and sold or destroyed. Where the driver is not located but the car is, police now have the power to seize the car until the driver is identified. Where a driver is not located, police may also have the car forfeited and sold or destroyed.
- Children who commit the offence of evading police will now be treated as adult. Evading police is now a prescribed offence for youths aged 14 – 17 years.