Elements of the offence
Police officers have the power under section 54 of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) to require vehicles to stop if they are emitting excessive noise by amplified sound equipment or other devices. Noise emitted from a vehicle is deemed to be ‘excessive’ if it is likely to unreasonably disturb persons in the vicinity of the vehicle. Unless there is proof to the contrary, evidence by a police officer that he or she formed the opinion based on his or her senses that the noise was likely to unreasonably disturb persons in the vicinity constitutes proof that the noise was excessive [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 54(8)].
Drivers must give name and address if requested
Where excessive noise is emitted from a vehicle, police can require the driver and any other occupant of the vehicle to state their full name and address, and to provide evidence of their address if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the name or address provided are false [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) ss 54(1)(b) and 54(4)].
Drivers of vehicles emitting excessive noise from amplified sound equipment or other devices may be given a written direction obliging them to immediately turn off the device. This is effectively a warning. Drivers who refuse or fail to comply with the written direction are guilty of an offence punishable by a fine of up to $1250 [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 54(6)].
Offences committed within 6 months of written warning
The police officer who issues the direction must advise the person that, during the period of 6 months after the issue of the direction, it is an offence to cause or allow excessive noise to be emitted from a vehicle driven or otherwise occupied by the person by amplified sound equipment or other devices. This means that a person who has been issued with a warning and who drives or occupies a vehicle emitting excessive noise within 6 months of receiving the warning commits an offence, also punishable by a maximum fine of $1250 [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 54(7)].
It is also an offence to:
- refuse or fail to stop if required by a police officer under this section;
- refuse or fail to supply name and address;
- refuse or fail to supply evidence of name and address if requested to do so;
- state a false name or address;
- produce false evidence of name or address.
These offences are punishable by a fine of up to $1250 or imprisonment for 6 months [see Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 54(5)].
Police powers to impound
Police officers may also have the power to seize and impound a motor vehicle emitting excessive noise [see Impounding Offences].
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.