In recent years, a number of new offences have been added to the Vehicle Sanctions Scheme in an attempt to reduce the amount of hoon behaviour that takes place on the roads in Sydney. Street racing is considered one of these offences, and if you are found by police to be participating in street racing or drag racing in Sydney, or anywhere else in NSW, you face a number of different penalties and sanctions.
What is the legal definition of street racing?
The definition of street racing is contained in Section 115 of the Road Transport Act 2013.
According to the Act, it is against the law to organise, take part in or promote any race between vehicles, any attempt to break a vehicle speed record, or any trial of the speed of a vehicle, without written permission from the Commissioner of Police.
As well as speed-related activities, it is an offence to participate in a competitive trial intended to test the skill of any driver or the mechanical condition of any vehicle.
In addition to the street racing offences defined in Section 115, Section 116 of the Road Transport Act also lists a number of conduct-related offences which are connected with street racing.
These include organising, promoting and taking photographs of illegal street races.
It is also illegal to operate a vehicle in a way that is likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any person in the locality or cause a risk to the safety of any person in the locality.
What will happen if I’m caught street racing?
If you are found guilty of street racing or other activities like performing burnouts on a public road, you face a severe penalty.
If it is your first offence, you are likely to receive a fine of $3,300, and you could also face disqualification from driving for 12 months or more.
For second or subsequent offences, it is possible that you could be sent to jail for up to two years and face a longer disqualification period.
Police may also decide to clamp or confiscate your vehicle for a specific length of time, or even take it away permanently.
As an alternative to confiscation, police may decide to take away your number plates.
This can be done immediately at the roadside.
If police have confiscated your number plates, you can apply to the local court to have them released early.
If my car is confiscated, can I get it back?
If it is your first offence, your vehicle may be clamped or confiscated by the police for a period of three months.
If your car is being confiscated, you will be ordered to take it to a specified place within a certain period of time (usually 10 days).
Once the three months has elapsed, you will be able to get your car back.
If it is your second or subsequent offence, it may be confiscated permanently and forfeited to the government.
If this happens, you won’t be able to get it back and it will be used for crash testing or sold.
What if it’s not my car?
If you were driving the car at the time of the alleged street race, but it is registered to someone else, the registered driver may be issued with a suspension warning notice informing them that the car may be suspended from registration for three months if it’s used in another street racing offence.
If three offences are committed in the same vehicle within five years, it can be confiscated permanently.
If you are facing charges of street racing or associated conduct it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced defence lawyer.
Having a strong defence can help you avoid imprisonment, allow you to keep your vehicle, and could even prevent you being disqualified from driving.