So you open a letter to find that you’ve been done for speeding or running a red light. That comes with a hefty fine and loss of points.
After you’ve let out a few expletives you may start wondering what you can do to get out of it.
The first thing you should do is to make sure you are the one actually responsible.
In NSW about 1260 fines are issued by mistake each year, which is 0.2% of total fines, according to an article on news.com.au. It could be something as simple as your number plate being similar to the offending car and the fine being sent to you by mistake.
You can take a look at the camera image online to make sure it was your car.
The NSW Office of State Revenue says: “The camera is aimed at the vehicle and registration plate. The photo is not intended to, and may not, identify the driver.”
If it was your car but you weren’t the one driving it at the time, you can transfer the fine to the person responsible.
It’s best to tell the other person first and you will probably need to complete a statutory declaration naming the person responsible. Don’t pay the fine if you are transferring it to another licence holder.
Beware if you give false or misleading information because penalties do apply. In NSW, for example, you may lose the right to drive and individuals could be fined up to $11,000.
If you were the one driving but think there are special circumstances, you may be able to request a review.
Again in NSW, for example, if you had a clear driving record for at least 10 years before the offence your penalty may be downgraded to a caution, which means you won’t have to pay the fine and demerit points won’t apply. But a caution will be recorded on your driving history.
In Victoria, you may be able to get a fine downgraded to a warning if you were speeding less than 10km over the limit and have had a clear driving record for the past two years.
Check with your state office to see if you can apply for leniency based on a good driving record.
If there were other extenuating circumstances – for example, you were on your way to hospital for a medical emergency – you may also get your fine reviewed.
You may be required to provide a medical record or statement from a medical professional at the emergency hospital you attended.
In NSW, less than 4% of penalties are downgraded to a caution or withdrawn as a result of a request to review the fine. So although it is worth a shot, don’t get your hopes up!
You can then elect to take the matter to court but if you know you were speeding or ran a traffic light, the best course of action is simply to pay up.