I’ve been caught hooning, what can I be charged with?
Hooning is a broadly used term to describe anti-social behaviour while driving, such as speeding, burnouts and street racing. There are a number of offences that may result from hooning behaviours, including:-
- making unnecessary noise and smoke;
- dangerous operation; and
- racing on a public road.
The penalty imposed will be dependent on the offence you have been charged with, however, will often involve a fine or jail sentence. Additionally, you may lose your licence for a period of time. To learn more about whether you will lose your licence, please click here.
Impounding and immobilising your car
The police are able to impound or immobilise your car if you are involved in a hooning offence. This is in addition to any other charges or penalties that arise from your behaviour.
There are two categories of “hooning offences”, and the police have different powers depending on which category of offence you have committed. The categories are described as “Type 1 Offences” and “Type 2 Offences”.
Type 1 Offences
Type 1 Offences are considered more serious than Type 2 Offences. Type 1 Offences include:-
- evading police (not pulling over when required);
- dangerous driving;
- making unnecessary noise or smoke;
- careless driving; and
- participating (or organising) speed races.
The police can impound or immobilise your vehicle if you commit a Type 1 Offence. If you commit a further Type 1 Offence, the police can impound or immobilise your car and seek that your car be confiscated at the end of any legal proceedings. This is in addition to any other penalty that is imposed.
Type 2 Offences
Type 2 Offences include the following:-
- driving without a licence;
- high speed offences (more than 40km/hr over the limit);
- drink driving (high range);
- driving a modified vehicle that does not meet safety standards; and
- driving an uninsured and/or unregistered vehicle.
The police will not impound or immobilise your vehicle the first time you are charged with one of the above offences. However, if you are charged again, it will be impounded or immobilised. The period of impoundment or immobilisation depends on whether it is your first, second or subsequent offence. Ultimately, repeat offenders can have their vehicle confiscated.
Therefore, although Type 2 Offences are not considered to be as serious as Type 1 Offences, continued offending will result in a lengthy period of impoundment or immobilisation.
Where does my car go if it is impounded?
Your vehicle will be towed to a holding yard if it is impounded. Your number plates will be removed if your car is immobilised.
Will my car be impounded if I don’t own it?
The vehicle you were driving may be impounded or immobilised, regardless of whether you own it.
Who pays for my car to be impounded?
You will be responsible for the cost of towing and storing your vehicle. You may need to pay these costs in full before your vehicle is released.
Can I get my vehicle released early?
In some circumstances, you can make an application to have your vehicle released early. These circumstances include:-
- financial hardship caused by the impoundment or immobilisation;
- you are the owner of the vehicle;
- the impoundment or immobilisation was not reasonable.
You should seek legal advice prior to making any such application.
What do I do if I get charged with a hooning offence?
Getting legal advice, and representation at Court, will ensure the Court understands any mitigating features in your favour. This can result in a lesser penalty being imposed.