Offensive Behaviour by a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area
A person may be charged with engaging in offensive behaviour while in a motor vehicle contrary to section 18 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) if he/she uses words or makes gestures which are likely to offend a reasonable person.
The offensive behaviour by a person in a motor vehicle in a declared area is only heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
What is the legal definition of Offensive Behaviour By a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area?This section enables the Minister, by notice published in the Government Gazette, to declare a location if he/she is satisfied that people frequently loiter in the area to solicit sex work.
The Minister must particularise the streets or parts of the street which are included in the boundary.
Examples of Offensive Behaviour By a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area
- Engaging a prostitute from a car
- Engaging in sexual behaviour while in a car
LegislationThe legislation for this offence can be found on section 18 of Summary Offences Act 1966.
Elements of the offenceThe burden is on the Prosecution to prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt to make out this offence:
- The accused used words or made a gesture;
- While in a vehicle;
- In an area declared by the minister;
- The words or gestures used were made within the view or hearing of another person in a public area;
- The words or gestures are likely to offend a reasonable person.
“Can they prove you engaged in offensive behaviour?”
Possible defences available to a person charged with this offence include:
- Factual dispute
- Honest and reasonable mistake as to fact
- Wrongful identification
- Mental impairment
- The accused was not in a public place
Questions in cases like this
- Did you engage in offensive behaviour?
- Did you make a rude gesture?
- Were your words in fact offensive?
- Did the Minister publish the streets in the Government gazette?
The maximum penalty a Magistrate can impose for Offensive Behaviour by a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area (s18 of Summary Offences Act 1966) is 5 penalty units, which is around $600.