Fail to Stop / Evade Police in QLD
The charge of Fail to Stop / Evade Police in QLD is extremely serious as the Queensland Government has introduced some of the strictest legislation of all states.
Section 754 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 provides 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.
Generally the offence would occur when a police officer in a police vehicle gives a direction to a driver to stop who fails to do so within a reasonable time and has evaded the police intercept.
Parliament has 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.
When the legislation was first drafted the penalty provided for either:
- Minimum penalty—50 penalty units.
- Maximum penalty—200 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment
However, following the decision in Commissioner of Police Service (Qld) v Magistrate Spencer & Ors  QSC where the court found that they could impose probation and no fine (meaning the accused would not have to pay the $5,000 and could comply with probation terms to avoid prison), the Government changed the law.
The new legislation became:
- 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 (then being $5,500.00 which has since increased) or to impose 50 days imprisonment, in a jail.
Nonetheless, cases decided since this change have found that the change in law still does not prevent the court from imposing probation or community service rather than actual jail or a fine of $5,500.
As such, it is extremely unpredictable whether a court will impose a term of imprisonment or not, and will at this stage be dealt with on a case by case basis. You must treat any charge of evading police as extremely serious and get in touch with an expert Driving Defence Lawyer immediately.
Can I Defend the Charge?
Some possible defences you may have include:
- You stopped the vehicle as soon as practical;
- A reasonable person would not have stopped (or been able to stop) the vehicle, all circumstances considered;
- The officer was not in a police vehicle at the time the direction to stop was given;
- It was not you driving the vehicle;
- The direction to stop was not clear and you did not realise you were directed to stop.