What Can Happen if you Do a Burnout While Drink-Driving in a Carpark Above a Police Station?

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

A 42-year-old man who was allegedly drink-driving, has for reasons beyond human comprehension, decided to perform burnouts in a carpark above a police station in Adelaide’s CBD, and as one would expect, will now be facing court over the matter.

Reports from South Australia Police reveal that at about 2:30am on Saturday 20 February 2021, officers patrolling Hindley Street in Adelaide’s city centre had their attention drawn to the booming sounds of a car driving erratically in a neighbouring car park.

Officers went to investigate the matter and upon entering the carpark, were smacked with a substantial amount smoke and the smell of burnt rubber.

Spotting a green Holden Commodore amid the mayhem, police stopped the vehicle as it attempted to exit the carpark and questioned the driver – a man from Paralowie in Adelaide’s north.

The man was breath-tested and allegedly returned a positive result of 0.120 – over twice the legal limit.

His licence was suspended on the spot for a period of six months.

His car was also impounded for 28 days.

The man was reported for misuse of a motor vehicle and drink-driving.

He will be summonsed to face Adelaide Magistrates Court at a later date.

The man has since become the laughing stock of locals, who have denounced his juvenile behaviour.

“Sounds like a very smart and impressive human being”, and “42 years old and still acting like a child, how pitiful!”, people have uttered in response to news of the incident from South Australia Police to social media.

Other members of the community have echoed this sentiment with comments such as, “Can you be much dumber than to do burnouts directly above a police station?”, and “Crush the vehicle in front of him and give him the block of metal, then charge him for the crushing”.

In South Australia, it is an offence to misuse a motor vehicle.

This includes racing a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle to produce a sustained wheel spin (burn out), cause the engine or tyres to create noise that is likely to disturb people in the vicinity, or driver a motor vehicle in a park, garden or a road related area causing damage to the surface.

As set out in section 44B of the Road Traffic Act 1961, in South Australia, such conduct – considered “hoon offences” – carry maximum penalty of a weighty fine and even jail time depending on the circumstances of the offence.

The Court can also order compensation for any damage that may be caused during the offending.

 

South Australia Police Powers to Seize and Impound Motor Vehicles

In South Australia, under the Criminal (Clamping, Impounding & Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007, police have the power to immediately seize and impound a motor vehicle where it has been involved in hoon offences.

This power also extends to vehicles involved in some drink- and drug-driving offences.

The police can only clamp a vehicle when the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence either has been, or knows that they will be, charged for the offence.

The police can clamp or impound an offender’s vehicle for up to 28 days, however they cannot clamp a vehicle that is in a public road, unless it is being clamped awaiting seizure.

Additionally, the police can also request the Magistrates Court to extend this period to up to 90 days.

To clamp”, in relation to a motor vehicle, means to immobilise the motor vehicle by means of wheel clamps.

NSW Penalties on Burnouts

While burnouts may seem like a fun pastime for those who may be bored, ultimately, they threaten public safety, and disturb the neighbourhood with loud and unwanted noise, along with strong fumes.

In NSW, being a menace on the road attracts heavy penalties.

Specifically, as outlined in section 116 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), a person is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle on a road in way that causes 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.

An offence of this kind carries up to a $1,100 fine and three demerit points.

However, the maximum penalties increase significantly to a fine of $3,300 for a first offence and a fine of $3,300 fine and/or imprisonment for 9 months for a second or subsequent offence where the offending takes place under certain circumstances.

These circumstances include where the person:

  • operates the vehicle knowing that any petrol, oil, diesel fuel or other inflammable liquid has been placed on the road beneath one or more tyres of the vehicle, or
  • does, or omits to do, any other thing that prolongs, sustains, intensifies or increases loss of traction, or
  • continues to operate a motor vehicle in this manner, or
  • operates a motor vehicle at a time, or on a road in a place, aware that there is an considerable risk that operation of the vehicle in that manner at that time and place is likely to interfere with the amenity of the locality or the peaceful enjoyment of any person in the locality or make the place unsafe for any person in the locality
  • willingly participates in any group activity involving the operation of one or more vehicles associated with the burnout, or
  • organises, promotes or urges any person to participate in, or view, any group activity involving the operation of one or more vehicles associated with the burnout, or
  • photograph or film a motor vehicle being operated for the purpose of organising or promoting the participation of persons in any such group activity involving the burnout.

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