When deciding whether to elect to take a fine issued by police of the RMS authority, there are several considerations you must take into account.
Firstly, you need to be aware of what your options are. Can you dispute the fine? Can you elect to take it to court? and can the court imposed fine be even heavier? Secondly, you need to be aware of what the consequences are for paying the fine vs electing to take the fine to court.
It is important to note that all infringement notices can be taken to court, information on how to do this is on the rear of the infringement/penalty notice and the instructions will direct you to www.sdro.nsw.gov.au where you will need your driver’s licence number, infringement notice number and the date of the offence.
Should you take an infringement notice to court?
This often depends on what the consequences are for paying the infringement notice.
The majority of infringement notices which involve a moving violation incur demerit points. If you have a full licence and you incur 13 or more demerit points the RMS will suspend your driver’s licence for a period of at least 3 months. P1 licences can incur only 4 demerit points while P2 licences have a threshold of 7.
If the infringement notice carries demerit points and you will reach the threshold number for your class of licence you will be suspended by the RMS.
If you have an open licence you can request a good behaviour licence, if you are on P1 or P2 you do not have this option and you will either have to challenge the infringement notice or challenge the RMS suspension.
There is a common misconception that to challenge the fine, the defendant needs to prove they are not guilty of the offence. This is not the case.
Many people have been represented by our firm, elected to take the fine to court, plead guilty to the offence and obtained a non-conviction at court.
This prevents any demerit points from accumulating and it’s like it never happened at all. You do not incur any demerit points and you will keep your licence.
Full licenced drivers
Full licenced drivers can elect good behaviour when they reach the demerit point limit of 13. This can be beneficial for some as a demerit point disqualification cannot be appealed when you have a full licence. However, you need to be weary when electing good behaviour. If you commit any demerit point offence you will be disqualified for twice the original period, with no right of appeal.
If this happens the only recourse is to elect to take the infringement notice to court.
In these circumstances, paying the infringement notice will carry a suspension. If having your licence is essential for work or family reasons it will not be ideal to pay the fine and you should talk to one of lawyers today about electing to take the infringement notice to court.
Provisional licenced drivers
You cannot elect good behaviour with a provisional licence the way you can with a full licence. However, you can appeal a demerit point suspension. As such provisional licenced have two options drivers need to either challenge the infringement notice or appeal any suspension period as determined by the RMS. The Court has the power to reduce the duration of the demerit point suspension for P1 and P2 drivers. The court also has the power to dismiss the infringement notice.
When deciding which option to go with and whether or not you should appeal the suspension or pay the infringement notice the ultimate consideration is what the consequences are for your licence. There are many options when deciding the best way to proceed and electing to go to court is often the most appropriate first step in the process.
Ultimately, it is a matter for you as to how important your licence is. If you are worried you may lose your licence due to an infringement notice, call one of our lawyers for a free over the phone consultation.