The charge of evading police, also known as failing to stop is an extremely serious charge with the Queensland Government enacting some of the toughest legislation in the country. The government have shown a continued desire to see people jailed for evading the police, recent charges to the legislation have caused more confusion as to what exactly the punishment for the offence should be.
What is evading police?
Section 754 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000provides that to be charged with evading police the driver of a motor vehicle must have failed stop the motor vehicle as soon as reasonably practicable after a police officer has directed them and a reasonable person would have stopped the motor vehicle in the circumstances.
The section provides that;
754 Evasion offence
(1) This section applies if, in the exercise of a power under an Act, a police officer using a police service motor vehicle gives the driver of another motor vehicle a direction to stop the motor vehicle the driver is driving.
(2) The driver of the motor vehicle must stop the motor vehicle as soon as reasonably practicable if a reasonable person would stop the motor vehicle in the circumstances.
Generally the offence would occur when a police officer in a police vehicle attempts to stop a driver who fails to do so within a reasonable time and thus “evades” police.
What’s the difference between evading police v failure to stop v evasion offence?
In practice nothing, they are all names for the same offence. Generally in court its referred to as a failure to stop charge or evading police charge.
What court hears an evading police charge?
An Evading police charge is heard in the Magistrates Court. You can see a list of all the courthouse and their contact details here.
What is the punishment for evading police?
This is not as easy a question to answer as it should be. When the legislation was first drafted it provided the penalty as;
Minimum penalty—50 penalty units.
Maximum penalty—200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment
This meant that the court had to impose either a fine of $5,000 (a penalty unit was then $100) or a term of imprisonment. In the case of Commissioner of Police Service (Qld) v Magistrate Spencer & Ors  QSC the court found that they could impose probation and no fine meaning the accused would not have to pay the $5,000 and apart from complying with the probation terms would not have to serve time in jail.
After this case the Government changed the law so the penalty was then;
Minimum penalty— 50 penalty units or 50 days imprisonment served wholly in a corrective services facility.
Maximum penalty—200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.
On the face of it the law would seem to require the court to impose a fine or to impose 50 days imprisonment which must be served in a jail.
Cases decided after the change have found that the change in law still did not prevent the court from imposing probation or community service rather than actual jail or a fine of $6,600. The most recent cases however seem to indicate that the court cannot impose probation but must impose either a fine of $6,600 (the penalty unit has increased since the law was changed to $133) or imprisonment for 50 days served in prison.
Evading police is also classed as a type 1 hooning charge which can have quite severe consequences. For the first Type 1 offence, the vehicle can be impounded or immobilised for 90 days. For the second offence the vehicle can be impounded and may be confiscated at the end of any legal proceedings.
How long will I lose my licence for?
The minimum disqualification period for evading police is 2 years.
Can I get a work licence?
No, you cannot apply for a work license or special hardship licence.
Are there any defences to the charge of evading police?
Some possible defences might be that;
- the driver stopped the vehicle as soon as practical
- a reasonable person would not have stopped the vehicle in the circumstances
- the police officer was not in a police vehicle at the time of the direction to stop
- someone else was driving the vehicle
- the direction to stop was not given clearly and the driver did not realise they were directed to stop
This is very complicated area of law and you will need legal advice to determine if you have any defences.
I’ve received an evasion notice because my car was invoiced in a police chase
If the police are unable to intercept the vehicle then they may choose to serve an evasion offence notice on the registered owner of the motor vehicle. If that occurs the owner of the motor vehicle has 4 business days to give a declaration to the police otherwise they will be deemed to be the driver of the vehicle involved in the evasion offence.
It is critical to respond to the evasion notice within the time limits and to get immediate legal advice about that declaration.
Is the charge really that serious?
It is, the charge is one of the leading reasons people charged with a driving offence go to prison.
Is there anything that can be done to reduce the charge?
Negotiations with the police prosecutor are often an excellent way to try and reduce the charge and avoid the very harsh penalties. We have great success in reducing charges to an offence such as under section 60 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 which means the court would not imprison a person nor have to disqualify a person’s drivers’ licence. The prospects of negotiating is very much dependant ion the circumstances of each persons case.
How can I avoid a prison sentence?
In a word you will need an experienced traffic lawyer. They will be able to organise character references, have you attend a course like QTOP and work out the best submissions to make to the magistrate to try and avoid 50 days imprisonment.
Engaging Clarity Law to act for you
Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period avoiding a jail sentence. We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland and have helped many people charged with evading police. It is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients. Other law firms simply do not have the experience that we do and don’t know the magistrates like we do. Just some of the benefits of us acting for you include;
- we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome for a disqualified driving charge
- we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not seek a jail sentence
- we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in court
- engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously
- your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
- you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court
- unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests
What courts do you appear in?
We appear in every court in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Maryborough. Just some of the courts we appear in for disqualified driving charges are;
- Beenleigh Magistrates Court
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Caloundra Magistrates Court
- Caboolture Magistrates Court
- Gympie Magistrates Court
- Holland park Magistrates Court
- Ipswich Magistrates Court
- Maroochydore Magistrates Court
- Noosa Magistrates Court
- Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
- Southport Magistrates Court
- Toowoomba Magistrates Court
- Wynnum Magistrates Court
For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.
We have offices at;
Will I need to come into the office to see you?
In most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office. We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.
What do you charge?
We charge a flat upfront fee for our services that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.
We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.
Our prices include;
- full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
- negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
- drafting submissions for the court
- arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
- all telephone calls, faxes emails and meetings with you
- detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
- appearing in the court with you to conduct your guilty plea
To see what we will charge for a guilty plea on a disqualified driving charge click here
If I contacted you what would occur?
If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm’s founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 40 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your charge, all at no cost.
If you want to engage us then it’s easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don’t want to engage us or want to engage another firm that’s fine, you won’t be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your evasion charge. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them.
How do I get more help or engage you to act for me?
We have been operating since 2010 undertaking evading police charges throughout South East Queensland.
If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
- Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
- Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
- Visit our main website page
We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba. We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people. We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about evading police charge. You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us. Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, an evading police charge will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.
Need more information?
We have a range of articles on evading police on our blog. Some of the most recent have included:
This article general information only and not legal advice and is written subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here