If you have allegedly committed a traffic offence like speeding, you may be issued with a traffic infringement notice.
Traffic infringement notices the date, time and nature of the alleged offence and what the penalty is.
In some cases, they may also come with a court attendance notice which means that you are required to attend court to deal with the matter.
When you receive a traffic infringement notice you have two options. You can either choose to accept the charges and pay the fine, or you can challenge the infringement.
If you need help with traffic infringement notices it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced traffic lawyer.
Why should I challenge a traffic infringement notice?
Infringement notices can be expensive, especially if you get a number of them in a short space of time and they can lead to the accumulation of demerit points on your driving licence.
If you accumulate over a certain number of points you may lose your licence and this can impact on your lifestyle and financial situation in a number of ways.
Traffic infringement notices are not always accurate and although it may seem easier to just pay the fine, if you are in any doubt as to whether or not you actually committed the offence listed on the notice, it is worth seeking help and/or requesting a review.
If there were mitigating circumstances that contributed to the offence and you reasonably believe that you should be treated leniently you may be able to challenge the infringement notice successfully.
How can I request a review?
If you have received a penalty notice and the due date on the penalty reminder notice hasn’t yet been reached you can request a review by filling out an online request with the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO).
If you have already submitted a request to have the matter dealt with in court you can’t request an online review, and any reviews you have pending will be cancelled.
What happens after I request the review?
While your matter is being reviewed any outstanding fines will be placed on hold.
You will be informed of the outcome in writing within 20 days.
There are three possible outcomes from a traffic infringement review.
The penalty notice may be upheld, which means that it stands and you will be required to pay the amount specified.
Another possibility is that you will receive a caution.
A caution is given when the SDRO deems that the penalty notice was issued correctly, but they agree to give you a caution instead of deducting demerit points and requesting payment.
In some cases, the caution will be recorded on your driving history even though demerit points aren’t recorded.
The third possible outcome is that your penalty notice will be cancelled.
This will happen if the offence has not been sufficiently disclosed on the penalty notice or the SDRO finds that it has been issued in error.
If your penalty notice is cancelled you won’t receive any demerit points and you won’t have to pay a fine.
What information will help me get a good outcome?
The SDRO has a strict review process and they will assess your application against a series of criteria.
You will need to provide evidence to support any claims you make, and if you are challenging speeding or other traffic infringements you may also need to show that you have a clean driving history for at least 10 years.
You will need to provide documentary evidence of any changes of vehicle ownership, police reports if the car was stolen at the time the offence was committed, and complete a statutory declaration if you weren’t the driver at the time of the alleged offence.
If you had a medical reason for committing an offence you will need to provide proof from the hospital or medical facility you were going to at the time of the alleged offence.
Can I request a review for all traffic infringements?
The review process is available for minor traffic offences.
Some more serious or life threatening traffic offences are considered exempt from leniency. If you want to challenge these, you will need to go to court.
The offences that are not usually considered for leniency include:
- Demerit offences which are committed in school zones.
- Speeding offences where you are driving at speeds over 30km/h over the speed limit.
- Driving while using a mobile phone.
- Cases where multiple offences were detected by a single camera, for instance red light and speeding penalties from a single incident.
- Seat belt offences.
If you have received an infringement for a serious offence it is worth seeking experienced legal advice if you decide to challenge it.
Challenging a traffic infringement in court can lead to further fines and increased costs if you aren’t successful and getting some advice beforehand can save you time and money in the future.