Ever woken up from a big night out and seen a message on your phone and thought “I did what?”. Maybe gone on to Facebook and seen a photo of someone that looks an awful lot like you – but he/she is at a pub that you definitely don’t remember going to, let alone “dropping it like it’s hot” on the table, as you so aptly captioned the photo.
While this is all fun and games now, the morning might come when it is not so funny. The morning might come when you wake up at home with a big yellow Infringement Notice. Or worse, a Notice to Appear. Worse still, you might not wake up at home. You might wake up in the watch house with an early morning date with one of Queensland’s finest Magistrates.
Below, we will outline the most common ways that your first (or your last) tequila shots could have you on the wrong side of the Queensland Police Service.
This article will review the common behaviour that will lead to an Infringement Notice. The second part of this article will analyse the implications of not ‘bouncing from the club’ in accordance with a bouncer’s formal direction. The final part of the article will detail how a refusal to comply with the Queensland Police Service can lead you to being served (with a Notice to Appear in Court).
The infringement notice
At the lowest end of the scale, that long walk between one pub and another could, over the course of 30-90 seconds (depending on bladder size) cost you $126.00. Most night club districts are now fitted with “City Safe” cameras. These cameras are high definition and are manned almost 24 hours, 7 days per week. Generally by upstanding members of your community, meaning it may well be your boss, mother or grandfather who sees you making the mistake of “breaking the seal” in public.
Once you have been seen on camera, the Queensland Police will be notified within a matter of minutes. From there, a crew of officers will find you, and wait for an opportune time to interrupt you. (if you are wondering, just as you are trying to get into the location of your next few bad decisions is an “opportune time”). They will then politely present with a yellow infringement notice for urinating in public.
While this will result in raucous laughter from your “mates” it will not result in a mark on your criminal history, and (luckily) you will not have to appear in Court or tell your boss.
Below, we will examine the issues that can stem from being extracted from a ‘licenced venue’. I’m sure you have all seen someone being quietly escorted out the front door – usually quietly from the bathroom, or quite loudly from the bar or dance floor.
Ultimately, bouncers have a lot of power. While you may not think you have done anything wrong, resisting their requests for you to “leave the licenced premises” can lead to criminal charges very quickly. Sadly, once you have been charged, you have no choice but to defend or accept the charges. In our professional opinion, it is better to avoid being charged in the first place.
Alas, on this night, your twin has not heeded our advice and we resume our story as the police drive away.
You get a kind and gracious bouncer who lets you into the next pub (ignoring the yellow paper sticking out the top of your back pocket). You decide another few tequila shots have never led you in the wrong direction before. Suddenly, the same bouncer who ignored your earlier conversation with the Police requires you to leave. As he does so he mentions something which sounds like “you aren’t allowed to dance on the table, or smoke inside, and we saw you spew behind that plant.”
Obviously, none of these sound like good reasons to you, however, if you resist (even for a short period of time) the bouncer would have every right to call the Queensland Police back. The Police have the ability to charge you with Refusing to Leave a Licenced Premises.
For someone with little to no criminal history, this would usually be dealt with by way of a Fine. However, depending on the location there may be a mandatory period of Community Service. The question to ask yourself is “how good would I look picking up rubbish on Sunday morning?”.
To determine whether you (or your long lost twin) is looking at a mandatory period of Community Service we recommend getting criminal law advice from one of our experienced team.
Alas, the night isn’t over yet. As you will see, a bad night can, within the space of a few minutes turn into a horrendous night, which will leave you with a litany of charges to answer.
Once the police arrive
As you are being dragged out, you vent your frustration by kicking a wall. This quickly leads to a Wilful Damage charge. While this is a relatively minor charge by itself, in conjunction with a number of others, it can be part of a very bleak picture for you and your future.
Next, things escalate into a physical scuffle with the bouncer which ends with you “shaping up” and threatening to hit the bouncer. Sadly for your twin, even an act as small as pushing or threatening to punch a bouncer may constitute a common assault.
Common assault for someone with little to no history will again usually attract a fine or period of community service. However if it appears to the magistrate that you have ongoing issues with alcohol abuse he could very easily sentence you to a long period of probation.
Finally, the Police arrive. They demand that you place your hands on the cop car to be handcuffed, and give them your phone and wallet. Even a slight refusal, or physical resistance can result in you being charged with assault/obstructing a Police Officer.
As you can see it doesn’t take much for a “big night out” to turn from “I did what?” to “Where have you been?” as your cab pulls up at home on Monday afternoon, following a sleepover at your local watch house.
If any of these situations are a bit too familiar or you aren’t sure what to do with that Notice to Appear on your kitchen table, we recommend talking to our experienced criminal law team.