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So you’ve been done for speeding – how to get out of the fine

how to contest a traffic fine speeding fine

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 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In NSW, less than 4% of penalties are downgraded to a caution or withdrawn as a result of a request to review the fine.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.

Written by Maria Bekiaris

Maria Bekiaris

Maria Bekiaris is the former deputy editor of Money in 2001. She writes about personal finance and investing, and has contributed to Australian House & Garden, Good Health, and Mother & Baby. Maria edited the book A Real Girl's Guide to Money by Effie Zahos. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business.

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    • you’re kidding mate. This system is in place to raise revenue for the States. It’s that simple. This is why police can hide as opposed to being visible which would be a deterrent. Police are more interested in fining drivers than preventing the issue in the first place. cure is better than prevention where fines are concerned

  1. Hello,
    I read your artlcle about speeding fines.
    I received a letter and was fined for speeding in a school zone.
    I was suprised and not happy because it is a large fine.It was me driving on the day and
    it was unfortunately only 3 minutes before the school zone period ended at 4pm.
    if it was normal conditions i would have been free under the 60km limit.
    I wrote back and pleaded for leniency but they said the fine stands and i paid it.
    I had a clean driving record but its not fair that it still stands.

  2. I concur with your view there are many similar circumstances , it is rather a money making ventures the whole system is operated by contractors.

    We can only find some premier come with a solutions, the excessive fines is not reducing road fatalities
    I suggested few safety day in a year on those days , every police, SES and other volunteers will be on watch and no penalties but people will be pulled and advise what they are doing wrong in driving, as well pay to TV and Radio to announce driving safety every time they read news etc, but the RMS or the Ministers office is not interested because they want our money.

  3. To all those sheep saying “simply don’t speed”, that is a silly simplistic argument. If the road rules were more simple, then I may partially agree. Firstly these speed limits were the same as 50 years ago, and modern vehicles are far superior in every respect. They will stop in less than half the distance, and handle speed far far better than the days gone by. My main gripe however, with these “simply obey the law” sheep, is that the law has been so overly complicated that it is almost impossible to obey. We used to have 3 basic speed zones in Australia. 60, 80 and 110. Now however, we have 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 zones and they are constantly changing. It’s nothing to go from a 50 zone to 80 to 70 to 90 to 110 back to 70 in only a few km’s. Maybe we could add 45, 55, 65 etc etc right?? Simply obey the law 😉
    People are spending far too much of their efforts looking at their speedos, rather than concentrating on driving. I’ll be happy if you changed the 90 zone to 80, just as long as there are fewer speed limit changes that you can be trapped with. I am not a speeder by any means, but many many times I find myself doing 65 in a 60 zone because i thought I was still in the 70 zone. It’s not that I purposely sped and to say that that is dangerous is disingenuous.

    Go to Germany where they train their drivers properly and have way higher limits (or none) and yet far better safety stats.

    I can guarantee 99.9% of you on every trip will break the law at some stage. Maybe 61 in a 60 zone!? So, I propose for those sheep who state this, that we all get GPS’s fitted to our cars and if you cross ANY zone at even 1km above, that it automatically registers and sends the fine and takes the money from your account. This way we will all be very safe!! The country would come to a halt and the roads would be far more dangerous with everyone paranoid about speed, and taking far too much concentration on the speedo rather than the road. No one would be able to afford driving anymore either, but we’ll be safer!!

    Or we could all just bloody walk!!!

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