Misuse of a Motor Vehicle Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • $2,500 fine

Possible Defences

  • You weren’t driving
  • You had the property owner’s consent
  • You weren’t driving in the manner alleged
  • You did not intend to drive in the manner alleged

What Is The Charge Of Misuse of a Motor Vehicle?

Our criminal lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers are experts in all driving matters and specifically misuse of a motor vehicle.

It is an offence for a person to misuse a motor vehicle. A person misuses a motor vehicle if the person:

  • races a motor vehicle;
  • operates the vehicle to produce a sustained wheel spin (burn out);
  • causes the engine or tyre to make a noise that is likely to disturb people in the vicinity; or
  • drives a motor vehicle in a park, garden or a road related area causing damage to the surface.

If such conduct is done with the consent of the owner, occupier or person in control of the place, then the misuse of a motor vehicle will not be an offence.

This offence is contained in section 44B of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA).

Our criminal lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers are experts in all driving matters and specifically misuse of a motor vehicle. 

What Is The Penalty For Misuse of a Motor Vehicle?

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,500.

However, the Court can also order compensation for any damage caused.

The maximum penalty for a basic offence is 3 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is 5 years imprisonment.

An offence is aggravated if you:

  • deliberately and systematically inflicted severe pain on the victim;
  • used, or threatened to use, an offensive weapon;
  • committed the offence against a police or prison officer;
  • tried to dissuade a victim from participating in legal proceedings;
  • knew the victim was under 12 years of age;
  • knew the victim was over 60 years of age;
  • committed the offence against a former spouse/partner;
  • committed the offence against your child or a child of your former spouse/partner;
  • committed the offence in company with another person;
  • abused a position of trust or authority;
  • committed the offence against a disabled person;
  • committed the offence against a person who was vulnerable because of their employment; or
  • committed the offence in contravention of a court order (e.g., a bail agreement or restraining order).

If You Plead Guilty

Deciding whether or not to plead guilty to misuse of a motor vehicle has important implications and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

If you do decide to plead guilty to a driving offence of misuse of a motor vehicle we can assist you to get the best result possible.

Our team of specialist criminal lawyers have extensive criminal law experience and know the best way to present your case before each of the Magistrates in the State. The results they obtain speak for themselves.

Call 08 8120 3783 to make an appointment with one of the knowledgeable lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance with your driving matter.

What Are The Possible Defences For Misuse of a Motor Vehicle?

You weren’t driving

In some cases the wrong person is charged with an offence. There are a variety of ways in which this can occur. It may be that there was an administrative error on the prosecution’s behalf or perhaps the offender was carrying your identification that they presented to police. It is a complete defence to this charge if it can be shown that you were not driving the vehicle.

You had the property owner’s consent

Under section 44B(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, any of the aforementioned activities, taking place with the consent of the owner or occupier of the property at which they occur will not be subject to a charge under this legislation.

You weren’t driving in the manner alleged

If it can be shown that you were not engaging in any of the conduct defined by the legislation as misuse of your vehicle you may have a defence to this charge.

You did not intend to drive in the manner alleged

If it can be shown that you unintentionally engaged in any of the conduct defined by the legislation as misuse of your vehicle (e.g. accidental wheel spin) you may have a defence to this charge.

Penalty Reduction

Suspended Sentence

If you find yourself in the unfavourable position of not only having been found guilty of an offence, but also having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment, we may be able to obtain a suspended sentence on your behalf under section 38 of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988. If you receive a suspended sentence, you will be required to enter into a good behaviour bond and to comply with any other conditions the Court sees fit to impose.

In previous cases, the solicitors at Caldicott Lawyers have negotiated with prosecutors to have the charge of causing death by dangerous driving reduced to lesser charges, which did not result in imprisonment or driver’s licence disqualification.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

  1. you were driving a motor vehicle;
  2. you drove in one of the above ways; and
  3. you intended to drive in that way.

This matter will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

Come and see the helpful team at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance with your driving matter.

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

Case Study – Drug Driving

Case Study – Drug Driving

Reference: 1800002

Withdrawing a PCA Charge

Withdrawing a PCA Charge

Driving with Methamphetamine and Cannabis in Blood

Driving with Methamphetamine and Cannabis in Blood

Driving (Failure to wear seat belt)

Driving (Failure to wear seat belt)

Reference: 1400779

Drink Driving

Drink Driving

Reference: 1400628

Drink Driving

Drink Driving

Reference: 1600530

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Call us on (08) 8110 7900 to make an appointment with one of the knowledgeable lawyers for assistance with your matter.