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Evade Police S 64A

S 64A – Evade police

The offence of driving a motor vehicle when directed to stop is found in s 64A of the Road Safety Act 1986 (RSA).

The offence is commonly referred to as “evading police”, as a refusal or failure to stop when given police instruction to do so is interpreted as wilfully avoiding the police.

Under s 64A(1), a person must not drive a motor vehicle if:

  • (a) he or she knows that he or she has been given a direction to stop; or
  • (b) ought reasonably to know that he or she has been given a direction to stop.

Penalty: Driving after being given direction to stop

The penalty for failing or refusing to stop when given direction to do so under s 64A(1) is:

  • for a first offence – 60 penalty units and/or 6 months imprisonment; or
  • for a subsequent offence – 120 penalty units and/or 12 months imprisonment.

Licence suspension:

If a person is found guilty of a first offence of driving after being given direction by police to stop, the court must:

  • cancel that person’s driver licence or learner permit; and
  • disqualify that person from driving for such time as the court thinks fit, being at least a minimum of 6 months.

If a person is found guilty of a subsequent offence of driving after being given direction by police to stop, the court must:

  • cancel that person’s driver licence or learner permit; and
  • disqualify that person from driving for such time as the court thinks fit, being at least a minimum of 12 months.

This is the mandatory minimum period of disqualification the court must impose after determining that a person is guilty of an offence under s 64A. While a Magistrate cannot impose a shorter period of disqualification, they can certainly impose a longer one. You should seek advice from a traffic law specialist if you have been charged with evading police or driving after you have been given a direction to stop by police.

A “subsequent offence” for the purposes of s 64A is a second, third, fourth etc. offence against s 64A(1). That is, you must have previously been convicted or found guilty of evading police.

Elements:

In order for the prosecution to establish that you continued driving (evaded police) after you were given a direction to stop, they must show that you were indeed given a “direction to stop”.

Section 64A(5) gives a non-exhaustive definition of what a direction to stop might mean. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • (a) police or protective services officers (PSOs) giving hand signals or displaying signs; or
  • (b) flashing headlights, use of red and blue flashing lights, or sounding of an alarm, siren or other warning device of a motor vehicle driven by police in the course of his or her duties.  

A direction to stop by police may also include a verbal direction to stop, even if none of the above signals were used.

Driving a motor vehicle when directed to stop by police is also a “relevant offence” for the purposes of impoundment, immobilisation and forfeiture of motor vehicles under the hoon offences legislation. As a result, evading police may mean your car will be impounded by the police. If your car has been impounded or immobilised and you are not able to have it released, you can seek advice from a traffic lawyer about the possibility of having it released to you.

Evading police can sometimes involve dangerous or negligent driving while being pursued by police, which is a distinct offence against s 319AA of the Crimes Act. The penalty for dangerous or negligent driving while being pursued by police after being given direction to stop is three years imprisonment. If you have been charged under s 319AA, you should seek immediate legal advice.

What you can do:

If you have been charged with evading police, or driving when given a direction by police to stop, you should seek advice from a traffic law professional. There may be defences open to you, such as an unlawful direction to stop by police, an unclear or ambiguous direction to stop, or failing to stop in circumstances that are reasonable, such as reasonably being unable to see the direction, or waiting for a safe place to stop (a defence under s 64A(2)).

A traffic lawyer will be able to provide you with advice, and represent you at court. You risk losing your licence for a significant period of time, as well as paying heavy penalties. You should contact an experienced traffic lawyer as soon as possible in order to better prepare your matter and receive the best possible outcome at court.  

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