Offensive Behaviour by a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area

– section 18 of Summary Offences Act 1966
Offensive Person in Motor Vehicle
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.
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
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?
What are some of the possible defences to Offensive Behaviour By a Person in a Motor Vehicle in a Declared Area?

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

If you have been charged with this offence, you should call us to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

Magistrates' Court
The offensive behaviour by a person in a motor vehicle in a declared area is only heard in the Magistrates’ Court. The maximum penalty a Magistrate can impose for this offence is 5 penalty units, which is around $600.

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.

Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 18 of Summary Offences Act 1966.

Elements of the offence

The burden is on the Prosecution to prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt to make out this offence:

  1. The accused used words or made a gesture;
  2. While in a vehicle;
  3. In an area declared by the minister;
  4. The words or gestures used were made within the view or hearing of another person in a public area;
  5. The words or gestures are likely to offend a reasonable person.
“Can they prove you engaged in offensive behaviour?”

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