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Misuse of a motor vehicle

Elements of the offence

A person misuses a motor vehicle if the person —

  1. operates a motor vehicle so as to produce sustained wheel spin; or
  2. drives a motor vehicle so as to cause engine or tyre noise, or both, that is likely to disturb persons residing or working in the vicinity; or
  3. drives a motor vehicle onto an area of park or garden or other road related area so as to break up the ground surface or cause other damage.

[see Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 44B].

Unless it is done with the consent of the owner, occupier or person in control of the place, misuse of a motor vehicle is an offence. This offence may include conduct such as drag racing, “wheelies” and so on. The provisions that deal with these offences and that of emitting excessive noise from a motor vehicle are often referred to as 'hoon' laws.


A person who is found guilty of the offence is punishable by a fine of up to $2500 [s 164(A)(2) Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA)]. In addition the offence also carries a penalty of 4 demerit points [Motor Vehicles Regulations 2010 (SA) Sch 4 Part 2].

Compensation for damage

Persons found guilty of this offence will also be ordered by the Court to pay compensation for any damage caused to property [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s44B(5)].

Police powers to impound vehicles

Police officers also have the power to seize and impound a motor vehicle involved in the commission of the offence [see Clamping, impounding, seizure and forfeiture offences].

Dishonest communication with a child  :  Last Revised: Fri Aug 10th 2018
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