Fined for leaving car unlocked

A Sydney police officer’s decision to issue a $112 fine to a man for leaving his car unlocked at a service station made national headlines in February.

The driver, Ben Judd, was making his way to work when he stopped at a service station for just a few minutes to buy a meat pie. When he returned to his vehicle, he found a fine for leaving his car unlocked with the vehicle’s windows down.


The offence

Regulation 213 of the Road Rules 2014 outlines that it is an offence for a driver to move 3 metres away from their vehicle without doing the following:

·      Switching off the engine

·      Removing the key from the vehicle’s ignition

·      Securing the vehicle’s windows

·      Locking the vehicle’s doors

There are some exceptions to the rules, such as if you are driving a delivery vehicle or a vehicle engaged in the collection of rubbish.

Drivers are also required to apply their parking brakes effectively (irrespective of how far away they move from their vehicle).


Get in touch with a criminal lawyer today.

More obscure laws – NSW

People were shocked by the imposition of the fine. Many people, including Ben, claimed they had never heard of this law.

Given that ignorance of the law is not a defence, we’ve compiled a list of some more unusual laws that you may not have heard of.

Splashing mud on bus passengers

A driver must take due care (by slowing down, or stopping their vehicle if necessary) not to splash mud on any person:

·      In or on a bus

·      Entering or leaving any stationary bus

·      Waiting at a bus stop

Maximum penalty: $2,200

Beeping your horn as a farewell gesture

A driver is only permitted to use their horn for the following objectives:

·      To warn road users of the approach or position of the vehicle

·      To warn animals of the approach or position of the vehicle

·      As an anti-theft device

Maximum penalty: $2,200

Unnecessarily revving your vehicle

A person must not start a vehicle or drive a vehicle in a way that makes unnecessary noise or smoke.

Maximum penalty: $2,200

Driving with an animal on your lap

It is an offence to drive with an animal on your lap, as is outlined by Regulation 297 of the Road Rules 2014.

Maximum penalty: $2,200

Obscure laws around Australia

Criminal offences differ between states. Here’s some offences to keep in mind if you travel interstate.

Obstructing a wedding or funeral – South Australia

A person who intentionally obstructs or disturbs a wedding or funeral (whether secular or religious) in South Australia is guilty of an offence under s 7A of the Summary Offences Act.

Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years.

Falsely advertising that someone has died – Queensland

Section 21 of the Summary Offences Act 2005 (QLD) outlines that it is an offence for a person to publish an advertisement that states any of the following (if they know what they are stating is false):

·      A child has been born who has not been born

·      A person who is still living has died

·      A funeral for a person who is still living is to happen (or has happened)

·      A couple are engaged (if they are not engaged)

·      A couple has been married (if they do not intend to be married, or are to be married)

Maximum penalty: $1,100 penalty units or imprisonment for 6 months.

Key Takeaways

Police discretion?

Police are equipped with some discretion as to whether they will charge an individual with an offence. This explains why you probably haven’t heard of many people receiving fines for leaving their cars unlocked at service stations.

A recent example of Police exercising their discretion was when NSW Police revoked hundreds of parking fines that were issued on the Central Coast in January, after residents complained of an injustice.

However, while the laws exist, we’ll be locking our car doors.

At Hamilton Janke Lawyers we are experienced in dealing with the obscure. If you need advice or representation for a criminal matter, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 4038 1666 (office hours) or 0422 050 502 (24/7).

Written By
Picture of James Janke
James Janke

James Janke is founding partner at Hamilton Janke Lawyers, and has more then decade of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. Admitted to both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia