In Queensland the Police Power and Responsibilities Act makes it an offence to evade police when you’re driving a motor vehicle.  The Queensland Government has passed legislation amending the penalty for that offence.

If you evade police and are charged with the offence you will be up for a fine of minimum $5,500.00 and a mandatory disqualification period of 2 years.  That’s a pretty heavy penalty for an offence where, in our experience, the facts of the offending could be as minor as accelerating around a corner to get away from Police to a high speed chase on the Bruce highway.

However, earlier this year, a Judge of the Supreme Court held that the minimum fine penalty did not exclude Magistrates from imposing other sentences including probation.  At present, if a Magistrate takes the view that a probation order, community service or some other order was more appropriate than a fine those sentencing options are available.  However if the Magistrate considered that a fine was appropriate, the minimum fine would be $5,500.00.

Following that decision, the Queensland Government has introduced further legislation to close the so called judicial loophole created by the Supreme Court’s decision.  The amendment to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act proposes that the penalty for an evade police offence now be either 50 penalty units ($5,500.00) or 50 days actual imprisonment.  This is in addition to the mandatory 2 year disqualification period. That represents a significant restriction on the discretion of Magistrates in sentencing proceedings.

Stay tuned for updates on this legislation as the amendment makes its way through parliament.