How do I dispute my traffic infringement?
The only avenue in which a person is able to dispute an issued infringement notice is in court.
In order to dispute your alleged infringement you will need to fill out the “Election for Court” section on the back of your infringement notice and send it to the address provided on the notice.
In addition to disputing your fine in court you can also write a submission to the Police Prosecutions about the circumstances of your infringement. If you wish to preserve your right to dispute the infringement in court if your submission is not accepted, it is crucial to ensure that you also elect to challenge the infringement notice using the process on the back of your notice.
You will have 28 days from the date of the infringement notice to indicate to Queensland Transport that you will be disputing the fine. After this time you will be required to pay the fine as specified.
What happens next?
When the Department of Transport and Main Roads receives your request you will receive by mail a summons to attend court. It can typically take several months to receive your court date.
At this court date you will have the opportunity to request the brief of evidence from the prosecutor. This brief will contain all the evidence that the prosecutor intends to provide to the court to prove that you did commit the speeding infringement.
Once this material is provided to you it is advisable to ask the court for an “adjournment” in order to review the evidence and decide whether you still wish to continue to challenge your fine.
Because it is very difficult to provide accurate, specific advice without looking at the brief of evidence we usually recommend that people wait until they have obtained their brief before contacting our office to book in a meeting with one of our lawyers.
At your next court date the Magistrate will typically set down a further date for a final hearing of your matter. During this final hearing the court will consider all of the evidence provided by both you and the prosecutor in order to decide whether you are guilty of the speeding infringement.
Are there any risks in disputing the infringement?
There are certainly risks associated with challenging a traffic infringement.
An important risk to be aware of is that if you are unsuccessful there is a chance that, in addition to paying your original infringement and the loss of wages for the time you must take off work to attend court, you may be required by the court to pay;
- Any court fees;
- Costs incurred by the prosecutor in calling witnesses at the final hearing;
- The offender levy;
- Costs for having a solicitor represent you at the hearing.
In most cases people find that the costs of challenging an infringement far outweigh the cost of the ticket. It is important to weigh up these potential costs when deciding whether it is worth your time to challenge the notice.
If I accept the fine I will lose my license. Is there anything else I can do?
If you were on a good behaviour driving period when you were caught speeding your license will be suspended as a result of your new infringement.
For many people, losing their license can result in them losing their job and can result in significant financial hardship for both them and their family.
If losing your license would result in the loss of your job it is very important to get advice on whether you would be eligible for a special hardship order.
A special hardship order is an order made by the court that will allow you to drive under special conditions even though your normal driver license has been suspended as a result of incurring excess demerit points.
If your license will be suspended as a result of a serious speeding offence or because you have incurred demerit points during a good behaviour period contact our office and talk to our traffic lawyers for more information on obtaining a special hardship order.