Improper Use of Motor Vehicle

by Doogue O'Brien George Criminal Defence Lawyers


How Serious is “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” in Melbourne? What’s the Maximum Penalty?

There is a maximum penalty of a fine of 5 penalty units for a person convicted of the offence of “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle”. This is a moderate driving offence. It is heard summarily before a Magistrate in the Magistrates’ Court.


The legislation on “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” 

Section 65A of the Road Safety Act 1986 is the relevant law for “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” and is as follows:


Improper Use of Motor Vehicle
(1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle in a manner which causes the motor vehicle 
to undergo loss of traction by one or more of the motor vehicle's wheels.
Penalty: 5 penalty units.
(2) In a proceeding for an offence against subsection (1) it is a defence to the charge for 
the accused to prove that he or she had not intentionally caused the alleged loss of 
(2A) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who drives a motor vehicle in the 
manner described in subsection (1) on land other than a highway in the course of-
   (a)  an event or function that-
   (i)  is conducted at a motor sport venue; and
   (ii) is authorised by the operator of the venue; or
   (b)  an event or function that-
   (i)  is organised, conducted or sanctioned by a motoring organisation; and
   (ii) is conducted in accordance with the rules of conduct of the motoring 
organisation; or
   (c)  driver training that-
  (i)  is supervised by a person for financial gain or in the course of any trade or 
  business; and
(ii) is conducted at a venue designed, or primarily used, for driver training or at a 
   motor sport  venue; or
   (d)  vehicle testing by, or authorised by, a manufacturer of vehicles or vehicle 
    components; or
   (e)  training activities of Victoria Police.
(2B) In subsection (2A)- motor sport venue means a permanent venue for motor sports 
   (a)  has a permanent track; and
   (b)  is used for 2 or more motor sport events or functions each year; and
(c)  is on land the use of which for motor sports and any development associated with 
that use is lawful. Examples 1. Calder Park Raceway. 2. Sandown Motor Raceway. 
3. Winton Motor Raceway.
(2C) Subsection (2A) does not affect any requirement made by or under any other Act.
(3) The Minister may, by notice published in the Government Gazette, declare that the 
provisions of subsections (1) and (2) and of any regulations (except as specified in the 
declaration) do not apply to persons-
(a)  while the persons are participating in a function or event, or a type of function or 
event, specified in the declaration and conducted on land specified in the declaration; 
(b)  while the persons are participating in an event or function at a motor sport venue 
specified in the declaration; or
(c)  while the persons are participating in an activity, event or function, or a class of 
activities, events or functions, specified in the declaration.
(4) A declaration under subsection (3)(a) may be made on the application of the owner 
or occupier of the land on which the function or event is to be conducted.
(5) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person while the person is participating in-
    (a)  a race or speed trial specified in a notice published under section 68(3); or
(b)  a function or event sanctioned, or organised and conducted, by a motoring 
organisation the subject of a notice published under section 68(4).


Pleading guilty or not guilty to “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” in a Melbourne Court

Deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty to “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” has crucial implications and should be made after proper consultation with a criminal defence solicitor. If you are convicted, negative results are likely to follow.


Elements of the charge of “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” in a Melbourne Court

The prosecution must show that the defendant was driving a motor vehicle and that the manner of driving was such that it caused a loss of traction by one or more of the vehicle’s wheels.


Defending the charge of “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle” in a Melbourne Court

Defences that are often run in relation to this charge are factual dispute and absence of the required intent. Criminal lawyers may consider other defences depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending.


For more information on “Improper Use of Motor Vehicle”, you may visit the Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne Criminal Lawyers site (here). Further information can also be found at the Traffic Lawyers Melbourne site (here).


Doogue O’Brien George Melbourne can provide you more detail about this

Our Head Office is at 5/221 Queen Street, Melbourne

Phone (03) 9670 5111 (24 hrs if you are in a Police Station)


This article was written on Sep. 18, 2013 and relates to the law that stands at this time.


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