Speed Trials

Speed Trials

Speed Trials is found in section 68(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle on a highway for the purpose of a speed trial or race.

Have you been accused of Speed Trials?

Police Interview
It is important that you receive legal advice before speaking with Police. One of our lawyers can advise you about how to conduct yourself during a Police interview. The Police will only interview because they have already conducted their investigation and believe you are guilty. They are not interested in listening to your explanation. They are trained investigators and know how to elicit information from people.

Car Moving Speedily
It is worth noting that everything you say to the Police will appear in the brief of evidence against you if it helps their case against you.

Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you if you feel more comfortable having someone on your side.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you have been charged with Speed Trials, you should get in touch with one of our experienced lawyers today. We will look at the brief of evidence and advise you on your prospects of successfully defending the charge. You want to get in early because there may be time sensitive evidence that needs to be gathered which the Police may have overlooked. This evidence may undermine the Police case.

For example, we consider – are there witnesses who the Police have not spoken to? Is there evidence that Police have not gathered? Is there data that needs to be protected?

We have a number of in-house counsel who are available to represent you in Court and fight for the best outcome.

Pleading Guilty
Before making the decision to plead guilty to a charge of Speed Trials, it is essential that you get advice from a lawyer. At Doogue + George Defence Lawyers, we will review the evidence against you. We will make sure the prosecution can make out all of the elements of the offence before you plead guilty and we will consider if there are any relevant defences.

Then we will assist you to prepare for your plea hearing. We will obtain character references, take detailed instructions from you about your personal history and the circumstances that lead to the offending.

We will prepare a plea to present to the Court to ensure you receive the lowest possible penalty available to you.
Speed trials are the sort of charge regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Examples of Speed Trials
  • You and your friend are driving in separate cars along a highway. You think it would be fun if you raced each other, so you both slam down the brakes and race along the highway.
What is the legal definition of Speed Trials?
A person who on a highway drives or is in charge of a motor vehicle which is being used in a race or speed trial is guilty of an offence.

Legislation
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 68(1) of Road Safety Act 1986.

Elements of the offence
To prove this charge, the prosecution must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. The accused drove or was in charge of a motor vehicle…
  2. On a highway…
  3. For the purpose of a race or speed trial
Were you driving or in charge of a motor vehicle?
A person does not need to be driving the vehicle to be found guilty of this offence. It will be enough if they are ‘in charge’ of the motor vehicle.

Without limiting the circumstances in which a person is in charge of a motor vehicle, the following persons are to be taken to be in charge of a motor vehicle for the purposes of this Act

  1. a person who is attempting to start or drive the motor vehicle;
  2. a person with respect to whom there are reasonable grounds for the belief that he or she intends to start or drive the motor vehicle;
  • (ba) a person who is a vehicle supervisor of an automated vehicle for which an ADS permit is in force and which is operating in automated mode at any time while the person is assigned by the ADS permit holder to perform duties as a vehicle supervisor in relation to the vehicle;
  1. a commercial driving instructor while the person whom he or she is teaching to drive is driving or in charge of the vehicle;
  2. an accompanying licensed driver while the person whom he or she is sitting beside is driving or in charge of the vehicle.1
Were you on a highway?
‘Highway’ means road or road related area.

‘Road’ means an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles.

‘Road related area’ means

  1. an area that divides a road; or
  2. a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road; or
  3. an area that is open to the public and is designated for use by cyclists or animals; or
  4. an area that is not a road and that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking motor vehicles.2
Were you driving for the purpose of a race or speed trial?
‘Speed trial’ means an organised motor vehicle event, or any part of such an event, that is a competitive test of speed an object of which is, or requires for its attainment, the travelling over a distance in the shortest possible time, but does not include an event, or any part of an event, in which it is a condition of participation that participants comply with all applicable road laws.3

“Can they prove you were driving on a highway for the purpose of racing?”

[1] Section 3AA of the Road Safety Act 1986
[2] Section 3 of the Road Safety Act 1986
[3] Section 58 of the Road Safety Act 1986

 
A defence to this charge could include a factual dispute or that the event/function had approved authorisation by the Minister by Government Gazette.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Questions in cases like this
  • Were you driving or in charge of motor vehicle?
  • Were you driving on a highway?
  • Were you driving for the purpose of a speed trial or race?

The maximum penalty for Speed Trials (s68(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986) is 8 penalty units for a first offence and 15 penalty units for a subsequent offence for anyone found guilty of this offence.