It is an offence to assault, resist or hinder a police officer while they are 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 depends on the exact facts and circumstances of your case.
Sometimes you can be charged with this offence if you struggle against police really hard while they are trying to arrest you.
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.
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:
- admit to the charges and ask for – the means your case is treated differently. It is normally for less serious cases. You must agree to certain conditions. You do not get a .
Can I adjourn the hearing?
Adjournments are hard to get for any other reason. The magistrate may say no. See our going to court for a criminal charge page for more information about what to do at court.
- 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.
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 such as assault or if you had a lot of similar prior convictions.
The magistrate may also:
- put you on an to behave well for a certain amount of time
- you to a . This would usually involve community work.
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?
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?
How do I pay a fine?
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.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 11 April 2022