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 Paying for legal fees
Applying for Internal Review
of an infringement notice

Official Warnings

What is internal review?

For infringement notices that do not impose any licence loss, it is possible to write to the enforcement agency (usually the police or the local council) to seek a review of the infringement notice in the hope that the agency will withdraw the infringement notice and issue a warning instead.

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Who can apply for internal review?

S.22 Infringements Act sets out the eligibility requirements for internal review. You will probably not get a favourable review unless you come within the s.22 criteria.  For police matters, you can apply for internal review if you qualify for a warning under the police published criteria. For parking fines, you might get a good review if you have a really good excuse or a valid defence. You must not apply for review of an infringement notice that imposes a mandatory licence suspension or licence disqualification period. For those types of infringements, you must object to the infringement notice if you want to save your licence.


You qualify for internal review if:

  1. You have a 1 point speeding infringement notice and have not had any traffic infringements in the previous 2 years, or
  2. You have incurred multiple one point speeding tickets from Freeway or Tollway fixed speed cameras within a period of up to 4 weeks, or
  3. You were homeless, mentally ill, or drug addicted (the "special circumstances" criteria). Special circumstances works best for parking fines and tollway offences.
  4. The police have made a mistake in identity and you can show you are not the person who committed the offence (not available for camera offences).
  5. You have an immensely fantastic excuse for committing the offence - such as a life or death emergency -  which you are sure the police will accept, even though the officer who pulled you over decided not to give you a warning when he issued the ticket to you.


You do not qualify for an internal review just because: 

  • you believe you did not commit an offence -  even if you have evidence to back you up, or
  • the penalty will cause you problems, or
  • you think any aspect of it is unfair, unreasonable or outrageous.

If you do qualify for a warning and you are also thinking of going to court, then you might want to get legal advice about what to write in your letter to ensure your letter is not detrimental to your court case.

If you do not qualify for internal review, there is no point seeking internal review. However, hundreds of people each week make applications which are destined to fail. Click here to see the rejection letter the police will send you if you do not qualify for internal review.

If you are certain you will never take the matter to court you have nothing to lose by seeking internal review - but get ready to pay the fine once your review is rejected.  Some people wish to fight their case in court, but they try internal review first to see if that solves the problem. It won't. It just makes it worse because now all the admissions you made in your letter will be used against you in court and the police will be more prepared to rebut your arguments.

You can not seek review just because you want to avoid demerit points or avoid licence loss. There is no hardship test. If you are ineligible for review, your sob story will not make you eligible. 

Any letter you write to the police imposes a significant risk of adversely affecting your court case, so you are usually better off not writing at all if you are thinking of going to court. Some of my clients ruin their court cases because they earlier wrote letters to the police.  It is rare for a client to write a useful letter.  One of the few rights you have is to remain silent, so you might want to exercise it.


Victoria Police Internal Review

There is a section of the Traffic Camera Office called the Penalty Review Board (PRB) which considers all applications for review of VPol issued infringement notices. Although the police can withdraw an infringement notice if exceptional circumstances apply to the person or to the circumstances of the offence it is extremely rare for them to do so.  Police policy allows them to withdraw certain speeding fines, but other types of offences generally will not be withdrawn. If you later decide to take the matter to court, your letter will become evidence against you.  The only time it is useful to seek internal review is if you meet the police published criteria for a withdrawal. 

The PRB does not withdraw infringement notices that fall outside the eligibility criteria. The PRB will check notices to ensure they have been correctly completed. If a notice has any errors (i.e. wrong date, wrong penalty, misspelling etc) they will withdraw the notice and issue you with a corrected infringement notice.


For parking fines, it is reasonable to seek internal review especially if you do not intend to employ a lawyer to fight your case in court. If you intend to engage a lawyer, he/she might be disappointed to find that you have written a letter seeking internal review - it could damage your case. Internal reviews by councils have a much better success rate than internal reviews sent to the police. If you intend to defend the parking fine in court  yourself, or you do not intend to take it to court, then there is no harm in writing a letter seeking internal review. Even though many parking reviews result in a warning, do not be surprised if your application for review achieves nothing.

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How to seek internal review

For police issued infringements, you will improve your chances of getting a warning if you:
admit you committed the offence alleged,
explain which aspect of the published criteria qualifies you for a warning or withdrawal.
offer a special or exceptional excuse or explanation,
sound remorseful.


If you deny committing an offence you will achieve nothing at all and you will be invited to fight the case in court.

If you moan about losing your licence, they will just smile at the effectiveness of their road safety program.

Complaining about the usefulness of cameras, questioning their accuracy or making political statements about revenue raising will reduce your chances of getting a warning.

Complaining that the police acted unlawfully will achieve absolutely nothing.

Making a complaint about police conduct before the end of your court case is very unhelpful - so don't do it. Prepare the complaint now and lodge it after your case ends.

If you disagree with anything the police are alleging you will be invited to argue about that in court.

If you claim there is a mistake in your ticket, they might send you a new ticket.

If you think you have been issued a ticket for the wrong offence, you can ask them to issue a new ticket for the correct offence.

If you later decide to take the case to court, any letter you write will be used against you in court.

You can write your letter to Civic Compliance, or to the relevant enforcement agency directly (i.e. you can write directly to the person or agency that issued the fine), or you can download and use the Application Form publish by Civic Compliance.

For police matters, you can send your review application to:

Officer in Charge
Traffic Camera Office
GPO Box 1916
Melbourne 3001

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Consequences of Seeking Internal Review

There are four possible outcomes to an internal review:

infringement notice confirmed,
infringement notice withdrawn and a new notice issued,
infringement notice withdrawn with or without a warning,
infringement notice withdrawn and a charge and summons served.

When the infringement notice is confirmed, you are usually given extra time to pay the fine. If you are seeking internal review, there is no value in offering to pay the fine. If you are happy to pay a fine, then just pay it. Your goal at internal review is to have the infringement notice withdrawn in which case no fine will be payable.

It is impossible to get internal review of an infringement notice that imposes mandatory licence loss such as a drink driving infringement or an excessive speed infringement notice.


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Related Pages

Police Guidelines for Internal Review
Review of Multiple Speed Camera Infringements
Work licences and Daytime Licences


 

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