Tampering or Interfering with Motor Vehicle Without Just Cause or Excuse

– section 70 of the Road Safety Act 1986
Man Under Car
A person may be charged by Police with tampering or interfering with a motor vehicle if he/she interferes with another person’s car without their consent.
Examples of Tampering or Interfering with Motor Vehicle Without Just Cause or Excuse
  • Tampering with the brakes on a person’s car without their consent;
  • Tampering with the locks on a person’s car without their consent;
  • Letting down someone’s tires without their consent.
Questions in cases like this
  • Did you have consent?
  • Did you tamper with someone’s car?
What are some of the possible defences to Tampering or Interfering with Motor Vehicle Without Just Cause or Excuse?

If you have been charged with this offence, you may rely on one of the following defences:

  • Factual dispute;
  • Wrongful identification; or
  • Lawful excuse.

You should call us to discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers 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.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

This charge carries a maximum penalty of 2 penalty units (fine) or imprisonment for 14 days. Apart from imprisonment or fine, if the person holds a drivers’ licence or permit, the Court may cancel that licence or disqualify the person from obtaining one for a period that the court thinks fit, not exceeding 4 years.

Tampering or interfering with a motor vehicle without just cause or excuse is dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court.

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What is the legal definition of Tampering or Interfering with Motor Vehicle Without Just Cause or Excuse?

Section 70(1B) of the Road Safety Act defines “specified equipment” as equipment of a type specified for the purposes of this section by the Minister in a notice published in the Government Gazette.

Section 3 of the Road Safety Act defines “motor vehicle” as –

‘a vehicle that is used or intended to be used on a highway and that is built to be propelled by a motor that forms part of the vehicle but does not include—

  1. a vehicle intended to be used on a railway or tramway; or
  2. a motorised wheel-chair capable of a speed of not more than 10 kilometres per hour which is used solely for the conveyance of an injured or disabled person; or
  3. a vehicle that is not a motor vehicle by virtue of a declaration under subsection (2)(b)’.
Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 70 of Road Safety Act 1986.

Elements of the offence

The burden rests on the Prosecution to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to make out this charge:

  1. The accused tampered or interfered;
  2. with a motor vehicle or equipment attached to the motor vehicle; and
  3. the motor vehicle belongs to another person.
“Can the Police prove that you did not have consent to tamper or interfere with the motor vehicle?”
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts

Magistrates' CourtFrom 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016, there were 307 cases (425 charges) of Tampers or Interferes with a Motor Vehicle – section 70(1) that were heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. These cases resulted in the following sentences:

  • Imprisonment – 30.3%
  • Community Correction Order – 24.1%
  • Fine – 22.5%
  • Adjourned Undertaking/Discharge/Dismissal – 16.0%
  • Other – 1.3%
  • Youth Justice Centre Order – 0.7%1
Other important resources

 



[1] SAC Statistics – Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) : s 70(1) – tampers or interferes with a motor vehicle < https://www.sentencingcouncil.vic.gov.au/sacstat/magistrates_court/86_127_70_1.html >