Traffic and vehicle regulatory offences are the most common criminal cases heard in Australian courts, making up 34% of all offences in the 2019/20 financial year. Tens of thousands of these occur in New South Wales with infringements including littering, speeding, using your phone while driving, running a red light or parking illegally.
If you are accused of committing a minor traffic offence, you will typically be sent a penalty notice and issued with a fine. You may also be given demerit points, which can lead to your licence becoming suspended if you accumulate too many.
It’s important to know your rights when you are accused of committing an offence and what course of action you can take if you feel the penalty is unjust. The legal system in New South Wales allows you to challenge traffic offences in court provided you take action within 28 days of the notice and have not yet paid the fine.
Contesting a fine in court
If you choose to take your case to court, you will be sent a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) by the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) with information on where and when your case will be heard. There are three possible outcomes of contesting your penalty notice in court: guilty, not guilty and no conviction after a plea. The first two are self-explanatory – if you are found guilty and convicted you will need to pay the fine and accept any applicable demerit points, while a finding of not guilty will clear the charge. However, it’s also possible to plead guilty without receiving a conviction or any penalties if you can convince the court such punishment isn’t necessary. This may be provided on condition of good behaviour for a specific period of time, and can be achieved with the assistance of a good lawyer who understands how traffic offences are dealt with by the courts.
What if I have requested a review?
Many people who receive a penalty notice for a traffic offence choose to request a review by Revenue NSW. You can make a request if you believe an error has been made or there were special circumstances which may have justified or contributed to the offence you are accused of committing.
It’s important to note that you won’t be able to take your case to court if a review is pending, which means you’ll need to formally challenge the penalty before or after a review if you wish to take it to court.
How to Go to Court and Save Your Drivers Licence
We have an Online Service that helps you represent yourself and win a favourable result. You could stop a licence suspension and avoid any more demerit points by going to court. Click here to learn more.
Alternatively, contact us 24/7 on 1800 100 529 to hire a lawyer for your traffic law case.