Disputing a Traffic Fine
Disputing a Speeding Infringement
How do I dispute my speeding infringement?
To dispute your fine 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. You have 28 days from the date of the infringement notice to indicate to Queensland Transport that you are disputing the fine. After this time you will be required to pay the fine.
If appropriate, in addition to disputing your fine in court you can also write a submission to the Queensland Police Service Traffic Camera Office about the circumstances of your speeding infringement. To preserve your right to dispute the infringement in court if your submission is not accepted, you must also elect to challenge the infringement notice using the process on the back of your notice (outlined above).
Please refer to the Department of Transport and Main Roads web-site for more information about how to dispute a fine: http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/fines/contest/
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 is not uncommon for the summons to take several months to issue.
Once you have received the summons, you will have another option to plead guilty in writing.
When you appear at your first court date, the Magistrate will ask you whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, your matter can be heard and finalised on your first Court date.
You can adjourn your matter for “case conferencing”, which allows you the opportunity to make submissions to the Police and attempt to negotiate your matter in between your first mention and next court date.
If you plead not guilty a hearing will be fixed at a later date. You may request a brief of evidence which will contain the statements and exhibits the prosecution will rely upon in support of their case against you.
If you fail to appear or enter a plea on your first court date, the case will normally be heard in your absence and you will receive the penalty in the mail.
You can engage a lawyer to represent you in court or write a submission. A lawyer can review the evidence and advise you on the relevant law, applicable defences, court process and procedure, your prospects of success at trial and your options. At the hearing of your matter, 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.
What will I need to prove in court?
The prosecutor will need to prove;
(i) What the maximum speed limit was on the relevant road; and
(ii) That you were travelling at a speed exceeding this limit; and
(iii) That you were the driver of the vehicle.
When the police rely on images produced by particular kinds of traffic cameras, they are permitted to produce a certificate which states that the camera in question was in the condition required by the law. If this certificate is provided, then the court will presume that evidence of the speed your car was travelling is accurate.
It will then be your responsibility to provide evidence to persuade the court that, despite this certificate, the camera was not working for some other reason. This is a very technical, difficult point to prove to the court. You may be required to call an expert to dispute the accuracy of the device.
Are there any risks in disputing the infringement?
There are certainly risks associated with challenging a speeding infringement.
If you are unsuccessful there is a chance that, in addition to paying your original infringement, you will be required to pay;
- Any court fees (including the costs of the complaint and summons, approx. $90);
- Costs incurred by the prosecutor in calling witnesses at the final hearing (including their experts);
- The offender levy ($110 in the magistrates court);
- Costs for having a solicitor represent you at the hearing; and
- Costs associated with sny expert evidence or reports (which can be thousands of dollars).
In addition challenging a speeding infringement can take several months and require you to take time off work in order to attend court.
In most cases, people find that the costs of challenging a speeding infringement far outweigh the cost of the ticket. It is important to weigh up these potential costs when deciding whether it is worthwhile to challenge a speeding infringement.
I am concerned that if I do pay for this fine, I will lose my license. Can I get a work license?
Your speeding fine will result in a loss of license due to the accumulation of too many demerit points, you will be sent an 'Accumulation of Demerit Points – Notice to Choose'. This notice will advise you to choose between:
- having your licence suspended for a few months (usually 3 or 4 months, depending on the amount of points accumulated) ; or
- agreeing to continue driving under a period of good behaviour for 1 year.
You must hold a current Queensland driver licence if you want to choose the good behaviour option. If you choose to continue driving under a period of good behaviour for 1 year, you may keep your current licence provided that you do not accumulate more than 1 demerit point during the 12 month period.
If you accumulate 2 or more demerit points during this period, your licence will be suspended for double the original suspension period (i.e. 6-8 months).
If you are charged with committing a high speed offence (driving more than 40km per hour over the speed limit); and/or you have accumulated more than on point on a good behaviour licence, you may be eligible for a special hardship order. Please contact our office for further information as strict time limitations apply. You can also see our page on Special Hardship Licenses.
If I accept the fine, I have been told I will lose my licence. Is there anything else I can do?
If you were on a single point good driving behaviour period when you were caught speeding, you will receive a “Notice of Accumulation of Demerit Points during a Good Driving Behaviour Period” letter which states when your licence suspension will start and for how long you will be suspended.
Depending on how fast you were going, you might also receive a separate “Notice of Suspension for High Speed Offence” letter which will state when your licence will be suspended. The suspension time for this particular offence will be 6 months.
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 are 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.
You may be eligible for this order if:
- You hold a current provisional or open Queensland driver license; and
- Your licence has not been suspended or cancelled for any other reason than a SPER suspension in the last 5 years; and
- You do not have any convictions for dangerous driving offences in the last 5 years.
You must make an application for a special hardship order within 21 days from the date of your suspension taking effect.
If you meet all of the above criteria we recommend that you contact a traffic lawyer as soon as possible after receiving your suspension notice. You must meet other requirements, namely, that you can show the court:
- That you are a “fit and proper” person to hold a special hardship order licence; and
- That if the order is not made you or your family will suffer extreme hardship because you won’t be able to work or will suffer severe and unusual hardship for some other special reason.
What are the benefits of engaging a solicitor to help me with my Special Hardship Application?
The process for applying for a special hardship license can be complex and technical. This process requires you to;
- Prepare documents to be given to the court;
- Attend court and make submissions to a Magistrate about why you require the order to be made.
Many applicants have difficulty with this process and require legal attention.
If losing your license will result in the loss of your job we always recommend seeking legal assistance with this process.
The solicitors at Potts Lawyers are traffic law experts with years of experience in helping our clients to successfully obtain special hardship orders. Our solicitors are able to assist you with this application by;
- Obtaining all the documents and information relevant to your application;
- Dealing with your employer to obtain evidence;
- Dealing with the police;
- Drafting professional, high-quality court documents designed to maximise your chances of obtaining this license;
- Advising you on things you can do to improve your prospects; and
- Appearing in court and making submissions to the Magistrate on your behalf.
If you need more information on applying for a special hardship order and the services we provide contact our office to make an appointment with one of our traffic law experts today on (07) 3221 4999.