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Section 199 Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002
Failing to Comply with a Direction

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Failing to comply with a direction is an offence under section 199 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 which carries a maximum penalty of a fine equivalent to 2 penalty units.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you refused or failed to comply with a direction that was validly given under Part 14 of the Act, which spans across section 197 to 200A.

Section 197(1) of the Act provides that a police officer may give a move on direction to a person in a public place if the officer believes on reasonable grounds the person’s behaviour or presence:

  1. Is obstructing another person or persons,
  2. Constitutes harassment or intimidation,
  3. Is causing or likely to cause fear to any person of reasonable firmness,
  4. Is to unlawfully supply or solicit any person to unlawfully supply a prohibited drug, or
  5. Is to obtain, procure or purchase a prohibited drug.

Section 197(2) makes clear that such a direction must be reasonable in the circumstances to:

(a) reduce or eliminate the obstruction, harassment, intimidation or fear, or

(b) stop the supply, or soliciting to supply, or the obtaining, procuring or purchase of a prohibited drug.

A ‘public place’ is one which is open to the public, whether or not on payment of money, whether or not normally so open or used, and whether or not the public to who it is open consists of a limited class of persons only, and includes any road or road-related area.

Section 198(1) of the Act additionally empowers a power officer to direct a person to leave a public place and not return for a specified period of time not excessing 6 hours if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person’s behaviour resulting from intoxication:

(a) is likely to cause injury to any person or persons, damage to property or otherwise give rise to a risk to public safety, or

(b) is disorderly.

Section 198(2) makes clear the direction must be reasonable in the circumstances to:

  1. Prevent injury or damage, or reduce or eliminate the risk to public safety, or
  2. Prevent the continuation of disorderly behaviour.

A police officer must provide a formally warn to a suspected person that failing to comply with a direction is an offence, and may only charge the person with the offence if the failure persists thereafter.

Section 198A empowers a police officer to give a direction under section 197 or 198 to a group of persons without having to repeat a warning to each person, although the section makes clear this does not necessarily mean each person within the group is taken to have received the direction or warning.

A person who is likely to be placed in fear for the purposes of any direction need not be in, but must be near, the public place at the relevant time, and no person of reasonable firmness need actually be present or likely to attend the actual scene.

Section 200 stipulates that a police officer is not permitted to give a direction relating to an industrial dispute.

The section further restricts police from giving a direction that relates to an apparently genuine demonstration or protest, a procession, or an organised assembly unless the officer believes on reasonable grounds the direction is necessary to deal with a serious safety risk.

However, a direction can be lawfully given where the demonstration, protest, procession or assembly is obstructing traffic and:

  1. Is not an authorised assembly, and
  2. The direction is limited to any person obstructing the traffic.

You are not guilty of the offence of failing to comply with a direction if you are able to establish, on the balance of probabilities, that you had a reasonable excuse for your conduct.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, necessity and self-defence.

If you are able to raise evidence of a general legal defence, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case.

You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

If you are going to court over an allegation of failing to comply with a direction, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced, specialist criminal defence lawyers who will assess your case, advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight for the optimal outcome.

The Legislation

Section 199 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 is the offence of failing to comply with a direction, and reads as follows:

199 Failure to comply with direction

(1) A person must not, without reasonable excuse, refuse or fail to comply with a direction given in accordance with this Part.

Maximum penalty–2 penalty units.

(2) A person is not guilty of an offence under this section unless it is established that the person persisted, after the direction concerned was given, to engage in the relevant conduct or any other relevant conduct.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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