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The term hoon refers to anti-social driving behaviour.

Hoon driving includes acts of driving that are particularly reckless or dangerous (including street racing) as well as certain acts of driving that are regarded as obnoxious or annoying (such as making “donuts” and “burnouts”).

In 2006, legislators in Victoria responded to complaints about hoon driving by enacting new laws that permit the police to seize the vehicles used to commit hoon offences. The anti-hoon laws were strengthened in 2011.

Anti-hoon laws give the Victoria police the authority to seize and impound or immobilize vehicles for 30 days if the police have reasonable cause to believe that the driver has committed a hoon offence. The police may seize the vehicle even if the driver who committed the hoon offence does not own the vehicle. The legislature believed that “targeting what is nearest and dearest to the hoons’ hearts — their vehicles” would put an end to hoon driving behaviour.

What is a Hoon offence?

There are two categories of hoon offences. The category known as “tier 2 offences” includes:

  • Dangerous driving that involves an intentional loss of traction
  • Dangerous driving between 45 km/h and 70 km/h over the limit
  • Dangerous driving between 145 km/h and 170 km/h in a 110 km/h zone
  • Driving a heavy vehicle between 45 km/h and 70 km/h over the limit
  • Driving a heavy vehicle between 145 km/h and 170 km/h in a 110 km/h zone
  • Careless driving that involves an intentional loss of traction
  • Improper use of a motor vehicle by creating an intentional loss of traction
  • Intentionally creating excessive noise or smoke using a motor vehicle
  • Street racing and speed trials
  • Disobeying a police directive to stop
  • Crossing railroad tracks when a train is coming
  • Driving with more than one person per each seat in a vehicle

The phrase “intentional loss of traction” includes intentional skidding, intentionally making tires squeal, and making donuts and burnouts.

The other hoon offences, known as “tier 1 offences,” are regarded as more serious. They include:

  • A repeat offence of unlicensed driving
  • A repeat offence of driving while disqualified
  • A repeat offence of driving with a BAC of 0.10 or higher
  • A repeat offence of driving with illegal drugs in the driver’s blood
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 70 km/h or more
  • Driving faster than 170 km/h in a 110 km/h zone
  • Dangerous driving while eluding the police

What the police can do

If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that a vehicle has been involved in a hoon offence during the previous 48 hours, they are authorized to:

Search for the vehicle;

  • Direct any person on the premises who is at least 18 years old to reveal the vehicle’s location; and

Seize the vehicle.

The vehicle can be seized from any location authorized by a search warrant. If the officer does not have a search warrant, the vehicle can be seized from:

A public place;

A private place if the owner consents; or

  • From a garage located at the address given on the registration application as the place where the car is normally kept.

After seizing the vehicle, the police are authorized to:

Impound the vehicle in a holding yard for 30 days, or

  • Immobilize the vehicle (prevent it from being driven by applying a wheel clamp or steering wheel lock) for 30 days.

If the vehicle was impounded, the costs of transportation and storage usually need to be paid before the vehicle will be released.

If you need some free advice, or need a competent lawyer to help you avoid a further vehicle impoundment or forfeiture,

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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