Burnout Offences & Defences in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.


It was the Sydney wedding celebration that gave us terrifying flashbacks of Salim Mehajer’s extravagant nuptials, and for some of its guests, came with a more expensive gift than perhaps first thought out.

On the morning of Friday 2nd April 2021, a wedding celebration in Auburn grew so out of hand that police were forced to weigh in and charge three of the guests with “significant” offences.

The celebrations captured the attention of police after plumes of smoke burst into the air over western Sydney suburb.

Aerial footage of the disorderly celebrations exposed three fervent wedding-goers deafeningly driving up and down Sheffield St performing burnouts as a gesture of their support for the newlyweds.

All the while, guests dressed glamorously took selfies amongst the mayhem.

The burnouts left the entire street filled with thick smoke, causing problems to visibility to those on the road.

They also left tyre marks stretching over 100 metres up the suburban street.

Police were not impressed with the hoon behaviour, saying that along with causing significant visibility issues, it also put the lives of the wedding guests at risk.

Around 100 people attended the wedding, with police shortly arriving to break up the commotion after receiving reports of the burnouts.

It is understood a white Holden Commodore, a white Ford falcon, and a red Nissan Silvia swiftly fled the scene once police arrived.

Nevertheless, by Sunday, officers managed track down two of the drivers, males aged 22 and 24, who were slapped with numerous offences.

They were issued with court attendance notices for aggravated burnouts, while their drivers’ licenses were suspended.

The third man, who was the owner of the remaining car, was also eventually tracked down.

He is, however, not believed to be the driver, leaving police still on the hunt for the third driver.

All three men were charged with “significant burnout offences”.

Anyone with further footage or information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.


Number Plate Confiscation: Tough Measures in Place in Fight Against Anti-Social Car Hoon Behaviour

In NSW, the Roads and Maritime Services maintains that street racing and other hoon behaviour – including burnouts, speeding and police pursuits – are considered both dangerous and anti-social.

In fact, it is also made clear that the actions of such irresponsible drivers, who treat NSW roads “as their own personal race track” is “selfish and dangerous behaviour, and will not be tolerated”.

As such, tough measures have been put in place to combat the conduct.

One such measure includes police being given the power to apply roadside sanctions where aggravated burnouts have been detected, which came into place in July 2012.

Specifically, where a driver commits an aggravated burnout and is the registered operator of the offending vehicle, police have the power to confiscate the number plates at the roadside and impound the vehicle under section 239 and 242.

The vehicle impoundment and plate confiscation is for a fixed three-month period. This in some circumstances can be for up to 6 months.

A person may apply to the local court for an order for the early release of confiscated plates or an impounded vehicle. 

Court Imposed Penalties for Burnouts in NSW

In NSW, burnout offences are prescribed under section 116 of the Road Transport Act 2013, with substantial penalties in place.

Section 116 makes clear that it is an offence to operate a motor vehicle on a road in such a manner so as to cause the vehicle to undergo sustained loss of traction by one or more of the driving wheels (or, in the case of a motor cycle, the driving wheel) of the vehicle.

The maximum court-imposed penalty for a burnout is a fine of $1,100.

However, where the burnout is an aggravated offence – which includes circumstances such as a driver’s associates willingly participating in, or urging others to participate in, photographing or filming to promote or organise the burnout activity – the maximum court-imposed fine is $3,300 for a first offence and $3,300 and/or 9 months imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence.

A 12-month automatic period of disqualification also applies following conviction for the offence.

Where a police officer instead of issuing a court attendance notice, issues an on-the-spot fine of $686. This also attracts 3 demerit points.

Some possible defences to this charge may include involuntary actions due to mental health or reflect action. Other defences may include an incorrect or mistaken identity of the driver, or duress or necessity.

Questions? Call our criminal lawyers Wollongong branch to arrange a consultation today.

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