Interacting with police
No doubt, wherever you're celebrating schoolies, there's going to be a strong police presence to help prevent violence, assaults and general disorderly conduct. When interacting with the police, it's important to know your rights and responsibilities.
You can be charged by the police if you are found breaking any laws. Police can also take alcohol away from you if they believe that you're under 18.
You must give your correct name and address when the police ask you for it. The police will ask for this information when they believe:
- You have broken the law
- You are about to break the law
- You can help them with information about a possible offence
Generally the police don't have the right to demand your name and address without a reason. The police must tell you why they want your name and address. You can ask for their reasons, but be polite and don't be smart about it. If you've done nothing wrong what does it matter?
However, the police do have the right to demand your name and address without a reason when you are:
- Driving a car, motor bike, boat or bicycle
- On the tram, train, bus or on public transport property
- In a hotel or licensed premises (a place where you can buy alcohol). Staff in a hotel or licensed premises can also ask for your proof of age
It's a criminal offence to refuse to give your name and address, or to give a false name and address to the police or public transport officers. You can be fined for these offences by a court.
The police must also tell you their name, identification number, the name of the police station where they work and their rank. The police must give you this information in writing, when you ask.
For more information about your rights, check out Victoria Legal Aid's Police Powers - Your Rights in Victoria (PDF, new window).
If you are involved with drug use (new window) during schoolies, you may have to deal with the police. Types of offences you could face include use, possession and trafficking. A 'trafficable quantity' of drugs is stated in the law and is different for various types of drug.
Even selling drugs to a friend is trafficking. Trafficking is a serious offence. The penalties can be very harsh.
Being suspected of using, possessing or trafficking drugs
If police have reasonable suspicion that you are either, using, possessing or trafficking drugs, they have the right to question you or search you, your house or your property without a warrant. You have the right to know why they want to question or search you.
If you're arrested and held in custody, it's your right to seek bail and to be brought before a magistrate (or bail justice) to have your application heard.
If you believe that you have been mistreated you can make a complaint against the police officer you dealt with.
Responsible Alcohol Victoria - Young people and the liquor law
Information and fact sheets about the liquor laws and how these relate to young people.
Responsible Alcohol Victoria - Breaches fact sheet (PDF)
Details the minimum and maximum penalties for breaches of the Victorian Liquor Act.
Victoria Police - Young People: Alcohol, Drugs and the Law
Brochure with information about alcohol and drug laws and how these relate to young people.
Victoria Legal Aid - Police Powers - Your rights in Victoria
A general guide to help you when you deal with the police. It includes specific information for people under the age of 17. This booklet is also published in Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, Turkish and Vietnamese.