Traffic Fines and Suspension (what to do)
Many of us have found the occasional and sometimes more than the occasional traffic infringement notice (driving fine) in our letter box.
Below is a brief but very useful blog on how to get a fine reviewed, how much time you have and what do if that fine leads to suspension.
The Demerits points system
Demerits points last for 3 years from the date of the offence.
All unrestricted drivers in NSW get either: –
13 demerit points or
14 demerits for professional drivers (ie: people who driver for a living (truck drivers, taxi drivers etc).
Other licence types get less for instance: –
7 points for a Provisional P2 licence
4 points for a Provisional P1 licence
4 points for a Learner licence.
If you accumulate more demerits points than your allocated licence allows, then you will likely lose your licence (ie: licence will be suspended for a period of time).
What you need to do to avoid a traffic infringement fine
Of course, the most obviously thing to do is obey the roads and traffic rules.
However, with unmarked cars, speed and red-light camera popping up literally everywhere and the new rules where no prior warning is required to alert drivers of a mobile speed camera check, there will be occasions when the road and traffic rules are inadvertently broken by even the most rule obeying drivers.
Therefore, if you do receive a fine (infringement notice) you have a few options with the due date period of the fine: –
Pay the fine and lose the points; or
Ask for the fine to be reviewed by the RMS; and/or
Elect to take the fine to Court.
You can also take the fine to court within 90 days of receiving the fine even if you have paid the fine.
Asking for an RMS review is done online through the RMS website. Here you can either seek leniency for a good driving record of 9 nine years or more or explain the circumstances and put forth a case to the RMS to dismiss the fine.
Electing to go to Court
You can either wait for the decision of the RMS and elect to go to Court or at the same time as the RMS is reviewing the fine elect to go to Court.
Electing to go to Court will mean you will be issued with a Court Attendance Notice to attend the Local Court.
At the Local Court you can either: –
plead not guilty (you did not break the road rules or have a legal defence such as necessity to avoid a greater harm); OR
plead guilty with an explanation and seek what is known as a section 10 dismissal.
Section 10 dismissals (or section 9(1)(b)) as they are now known in the legal world allows a Court to record no-conviction and show leniency. Meaning that you will NOT incur the demerit points.
However, in the event you still are convicted which means you incur the demerits points AND you are over your allocated points for your licence type you will receive a notice to suspend your licence.
Also be aware that electing to take a fine to Court, may incur extra cost such as Court cost and the fine amount may also increase in the event you lose your case.
What to do when you get a notice of suspension
When you receive a notice to suspend your licence you have 28 days to either: –
Appeal the suspension; or
If you are on a unrestricted licence elect to go on a 12month Good Behaviour Bond. A Good Behaviour licence will give you 2 points for the whole 12mths.
Good Behaviour Bond
Unrestricted licence holders are eligible to apply for good behaviour bonds. AND Once your good behaviour bond of 12 months is finished and IF you did not incur any fines that resulted in the loss of the 2 points or more then your demerits points reset and you have all your 13 or 14 points back….Happy days!
However, if you are not on an unrestricted licence
just do not wish to risk the good behaviour bond period since if you do get a fine that results in losing 2 points or more your original suspension is back plus DOUBLE the duration. In other words, if your suspension was originally for 3 months, losing 2 points on Good Behaviour licence means your suspension will now be 6 months!
Then an option is to appeal the suspension.
Appealing the suspension
Appealing the suspension means you elect to appeal the decision of the RMS to suspend your licence.
You MUST appeal within 28 calendar days, and before the suspension is set to begin.
The suspension appeal is heard in the Local Court usually in the suburb/or area where you incurred the fine.
The suspension appeal MUST be on the prescribed form which can be downloaded from the NSW Local Court website at https://www.localcourt.nsw.gov.au/local-court/forms-and-fees/forms.html#Civil3 titled ‘Appeal against decision of RMS (Licence appeal)’.
On the suspension appeal submissions your grounds to appeal the suspension should cover at least one of the following 2 options: –
That having regard to your good character and driving history you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence; and/or
That you require your licence for family and/or work purposes.
You can also specify another reason, such as any other circumstances that is relevant to your own personal circumstances, and/or how the fines or event occurred that led to the suspension.
At the suspension appeal the Court will either: –
agree with you, and your suspension is overturned and you keep driving….again Happy days!; OR
Uphold the suspension, but reduce the time; OR
Dismiss your case and you are on the suspension as notified.
We here at Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment lawyers have helped many people avoid fines and/or suspensions of their licence. So if you or someone you know has been issued a traffic fine or is facing licence suspension, contact Rep-Revive Criminal & Employment Lawyers® for a free initial consultation on (02) 9198 1997 or visit www.rpr5.sydney for further information on how we listen, we fight, and you win!