Hindering police

Hindering police

It is an offence to assault, resist or hinder a police officer while they are doing their duty.

Hindering police

If you are charged with an offence of ‘hinder police’ it means the police allege that you did something that stopped a police officer from doing their duty.

A common example of this is if you tried to get in the way of a police officer arresting someone else. Another example is if you stopped a police officer going onto public land or warned someone else that the police were coming. Whether you are guilty depends on the exact facts and circumstances of your case.

Resisting arrest

It is an offence to struggle against or to try to escape from police when they have made it clear that you are under arrest.

Assaulting police

Sometimes you can be charged with this offence if you struggle against police really hard while they are trying to arrest you,

It is a more serious assault charge if police are injured In the assault. See Violent behaviour.

Going to court

If you are charged with hindering police or resisting arrest, the prosecution has to prove that:

  • the police were acting in a lawful way, and
  • you got in their way, tried to stop them or assaulted them while they were acting in their lawful duty
  • you knew that the person was a police officer and that you were hindering or resisting them.

The most common example of this offence is a person trying to get involved while the police are arresting someone. This offence also applies to a broad range of actions such as tipping off drivers about speed cameras.

Your options at court

You have three options at court:

Possible defences

You may have a defence if:

  • you did not know that the person was a police officer or
  • you did not know that you were being arrested
  • if the police officer was not acting lawfully.

Can I adjourn the hearing?

You can ask the magistrate for an adjournment if you want to:

  • go in the diversion program
  • see a private lawyer.

Adjournments are hard to get for any other reason. The magistrate may say no.

Penalties

If you are found guilty of hindering police, resisting arrest or assaulting police the magistrate may give you a fine. You can get up to 25 penalty units.

The magistrate can also give you up to six months jail. The magistrate would usually only give you jail if you had other charges on your charge sheet such as assault or if you had a lot of similar prior convictions.

The magistrate may also:

In deciding what penalties to give, the magistrate looks at:

  • whether you have been in trouble for this sort of thing before
  • whether the hinder meant that someone else got away with breaking the law
  • whether there was violence involved (that is, did the police lay other charges)
  • how serious the offence was of the person you helped get away (if you helped someone).

What else might happen if I am found guilty?

Compensation: If the police lost time or if they had to pay for things, they can ask for you to pay for lost time or any costs.

Criminal record: What happens in court goes into your criminal record.

The court and the police can see your criminal record. Sometimes they can let other people know what is in your criminal record. For example, a criminal record, especially with convictions, may make it harder for you to get some jobs or get visas to some countries.

Can I appeal the magistrate’s decision?

Yes. If you do not agree with the decision you can appeal to the County Court. You have 28 days to do this. Get legal advice before you decide. You could get a higher penalty.

How do I pay a fine?

You can pay the fine at any Magistrates’ Court. Go to the court counter and ask the staff for help.

Let the magistrate know if you might have trouble paying the fine. There are options. You can ask the magistrate to:

  • make a plan for you to pay bit by bit
  • give you community work instead of the fine.

If you do not pay, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with criminal offences.