..



..

..

 

Melbourne Speeding fines lawyer, expert in speeding laws and legal advice on fighting speeding fines.

Speeding Offences

 

Every day Sean Hardy gives clients expert and strategic legal advice in relation to all types of speeding offences. He defends all types of speeding offences in court - especially where it is important to save the client's driver's licence:

  • on-the-spot fines & court charges,
  • radar detection (hand-held, moving mode etc)
  • laser or LIDAR detection
  • maintaining even distance and estimations
  • speed camera offences
  • time over distance (point to point)
  • all types of speed zones
  • driving at a dangerous speed

For information on infringement notices, first read the "Fines" page. The FAQ below will answer most questions, or try the Online Forum. Also see my pages about getting legal assistance and booking a conference.


  

Speeding FAQ.
Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions I get asked every day:

 

Q. I have an infringement notice which carries 6 months licence loss, but I need my licence for my job. What should I do?

You must lodge an objection to the infringement notice to take your case to court if you want to save your licence. Then you can keep driving until your court case finishes. Click here to find out how to lodge an objection. There is a chance you can save your licence if you take the case to court.  After you lodge your objection you will receive a charge and summons. It will then cost you only $350 to have a conference and get legal advice about the best way to handle your case.  Also, read the section on Fines.


Q.  I want to know if my case has a reasonable chance of winning before I lodge my objection to the infringement notice.

You can make an appointment for a conference before you lodge your notice of objection, but it will be unlikely that you will be able to find out if your case has a reasonable chance of winning at that early stage. Generally, no matter what you tell me at the conference I will say that your chance of winning depends on what the charge and summons and brief of evidence looks like. So, every good lawyer will insist on seeing the charge and summons and the brief of evidence before they can assess your chance of winning. Some people make an appointment to see me before they lodge an objection so I can help them decide whether or not to object to the infringement notice. The only time you should not elect to take an infringement notice to court is if you are significantly better off serving your licence loss period now rather than later.  

 

Q. How do I know if it is worth taking my case to court?

If you are facing mandatory licence loss you must take the matter to court if you want to have any chance of keeping your licence. Whether that is 'worth it' depends on how you value your time, money and your licence. If you are going to risk driving whilst suspended that suggests you should be taking it to court to see if you can avoid or reduce licence suspension. But if you have no money and do not need a licence then it is probably not worth it. If you are facing an unbearable period of licence loss then there is no reason why you would not object to the infringement notice.  It will then cost you a conference fee to investigate the police case and find out if your case is worth defending.  If you then feel it is not worth defending then you can plead guilty without incurring any further legal expenses, and the court outcome is very likely going to be the same as what was on the infringement notice.

 

Q. I just want to know if it is worth making an appointment to get legal advice...

If your licence is at risk, then it probably is. 

 

Q. My licence is about to be suspended for 6 months because of a speeding fine. If I plead guilty at court is there any way the Magistrate can let me keep my licence or reduce the suspension period?

No. It is definitely absolutely totally impossible for you to retain your drivers licence if you plead guilty to a speeding charge where the alleged speed is 25kmh or more over the speed limit, or the speed is 130kmh or more.

 

Q. I was pulled over by the police for speeding and given a fine with 6 months licence suspension. How will taking it to court help?

The only way to get a result that is better than what is on the infringement notice is to object to the infringement notice and take the case to court. That means pleading not guilty and either winning your case or negotiating a suitable settlement with the police. This usually means having to engage an experienced lawyer. Most of my clients get better outcomes by taking their case to court.  If the court finds you guilty, you are likely to get a similar penalty to what was on the ticket, so the downside is minimal. So your option is to take it to court or pay the infringement. There are no other alternatives.  Unless you take the infringement to court and win you must suffer the mandatory minimum period of licence suspension (see table below). Most speeding offences in Victoria have mandatory sentencing penalties:

Mandatory Minimum Penalties for Speeding in Victoria
Alleged Speed
Licence loss
Demerit Points

1kmh to 9kmh over the speed limit

-
1

10kmh to 24kmh over the speed limit (except for speeds of 130kmh or more)

-
3

25kmh to 34kmh over the speed limit

3 month
-

35kmh to 44kmh over the speed limit

6 months
-

more than 45kmh over the speed limit

12 months
-

130kmh to 134kmh in 110kmh zone

3 months
-

Driving at a dangerous speed

6 or 12 months
-

  

Q. I was speeding because [insert your favourite excuse here]. Can this be taken into account to save my licence?

No. Your reason for committing the offence is not a defence and can not reduce the penalty below the mandatory minimum. You are simply explaining how and why you broke the law which is not going to help you at all.  However if you were speeding because you were on your way to hospital with a dying passenger in the car, or fleeing a tornado or bushfire, that might be considered a good defence.

 

Q. I was pulled over doing 137kph on the Hume Fwy. It was just a short burst as I passed a semi. It is my first offence since I got my licence in 1972. I drive a fire truck for a living. Without a licence I won't be able to work or pay the mortgage or the kids' school fees. I also drive to look after my disabled daughter. My wife is on chemo and can't drive. The only reason I was speeding was because I was late getting to Government House to receive my Order of Australia medal from the Governor General. Will the court take any of this into account and let me keep my licence or reduce the suspension period?

No. See the table above. An excuse is not a defence and can not reduce mandatory penalties, unless you drove because it was a matter of life or death. If you want a different result, you need to defend the charge in court. Your good driving history or your reason for speeding can never reduce a mandatory minimum period of suspension. 

  

Q. I didn't realise I was speeding because [insert your favourite reason here]. Is this a defence?

Ignorance is no excuse - nor is it a defence. You might have an argument if the court accepts that you did everything reasonably possible and that it was reasonable for you to believe that you were driving lawfully, although this defence is not usually applicable in speeding cases.

 

Q. Is it possible to beat a speeding charge? Do I have a defence?

Yes. Every speeding charge has some chance of being dismissed. Every case needs to be judged on its own circumstances, and some cases have better odds than others. Sometimes it is possible to win by challenging the method of detection. This is done by casting doubt on the allegation your vehicle exceeded the speed limit. For example, radar is less reliable and easier to challenge than laser. You can challenge any type of detection method especially if expert evidence (and money) is applied to the problem.  Radar devices are also known produce unreliable readings from vehicles which are out of view (over a hill or behind foliage) or from radar beams that are reflected from signs, fences, parked vehicles, from trains and planes travelling nearby, and from interferences from power lines. Maintaining even distance detection (known as TUPMED - took up position and maintained even distance) is the least reliable. This is when the police follow your vehicle for a few hundred metres and estimate your speed from their speedo.

On the other hand, rather than worry about the method of detection or accuracy of the reading, it is often easier to win by challenging other aspects of case such as the validity of the legal processes. Sometimes the police are very good at speed detection but hopeless at running a court case. See the page on defending charges in court.

You don't need to "run a defence case" to fight a criminal charge. When the police fail to prove that they have followed the correct steps, or have failed to comply with strict time limits, or failed to issue, sign, date, file or serve court papers correctly, then the prosecution might be unsuccessful. Unless the prosecution get over those hurdles the defence is not required to start running a defence case. Many sucessfully defended speeding cases are won before any defence case commences, or even before the prosecutor gets a chance to call his first witness. So you needn't give up just because you can't see how you can prove the reading is wrong or if you are not aware there is a defence. The minimum that is required is a desire to win and the benefit of the presumption of innocence, although a skilled lawyer helps a lot too.

 

Q.  A spruiker named Mike Palmer runs a website called Aussie Speeding Fines. He's not a lawyer but he claims all fines are illegal, local government is unconstitutional,  and I can avoid all fines just by sending some letters. He wants me to pay $69 for his book of ideas. Will this help?

No. That website is a scam. Palmer's ideas are pure nonsense and his strategies won't lead to an acquittal. There is a legal analysis of aussie speeding fines here. See also this case where his ideas where thrown out of court.

 

Q. My speedo is not accurate. Will that help?

No. Read the section about inaccurate speedometers.

 

Q. My mate told me that if I go to court and plead guilty I can ask for a drive-to-work licence or daytime hours licence so I won't have to lose my job.

Tell him he's dreaming. This type of licence has not existed in Victoria in living memory.  All your mates who claim to have a "drive for work" licence are lying to you because they don't want you to know they are actually driving whilst suspended.


Q. Is there any way at all I can beg the court to reduce the suspension period, or pay a higher fine to get a lower suspension period, or let me drive just for work purposes?

No. No. and No. If it was that easy I would spend my days begging for leniency for clients  instead of fighting and winning court cases. Begging a court for leniency in speeding cases is usually a waste of time and money. You would be better off just paying the ticket.

 

Q. If I am pulled over are the police obliged to show me the speed reading on a radar/laser or other detection device?

No, but it is customary for the police to offer to show the driver the reading. It is probably better if the driver takes a look at it, and the driver should ask to take a look at it if it is not offered. There is no legal consequence if the police fail to show the driver the reading, but if they refuse in the face of a request it always makes them look like poor sports, so that helps. Sometimes the police issue fines for speeding when they have not used any radar or laser device. They can simply watch you drive past and estimate how fast you are going.

 

Q. How can I dispute the speed reading alleged against me?

Disputing speed readings from radar and laser devices usually requires getting an expert to give evidence in court about how these devices can produce inaccurate readings. If you want to argue for a deduction in the speed reading due to inaccuracy of the device, you usually need an expert witness to tell the court how the error is possible. By casting doubt on the accuracy of the device or the accuracy of its operation you may find that the prosecution fails to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. Disputing speed readings usually requires the accused to give evidence as to what speed the accused claims he or she was driving at. When the police do not use a prescribed speed measuring device it is possible to challenge the accuracy of their estimation by giving contrary oral evidence. I prefer to win speeding cases without disputing the reading, so I am not suggesting this is the smartest way to defend a speeding case.

 

Q. If I lodge an objection to a speeding ticket, can I keep driving?

Yes. If you lodge a notice of objection you can keep driving until a court says otherwise.

 

Q. I got a traffic camera speeding fine in the mail. I was not the driver. What should I do?

You can nominate the driver, or accept the penalty yourself either by doing nothing or paying the fine. A traffic camera fine is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle. The registered owner is liable for the offence unless the owner nominates the person responsible for the vehicle at the time of the offence. See the nomination page.  The person who is nominated will then be sent an infringement notice and he/she will then be responsible for the fine and any demerit points that accrue. The nominated person also has the right to nominate a new person if the originally nominated person disputes being the driver. If the owner can not determine the identity of the driver after making all reasonable inquiries, the owner may avoid liability for the offence by making an "unknown user statement".  You may want to get legal help with that to ensure it is done properly. If a police member asks an owner to identify the driver of that person's motor vehicle at any time, the owner is obliged to make inquiries to find out who was driving and answer the question. Failure to do so can result in at least 2 years licence loss for the owner.

 

Q. I just received 7 speed camera fines in the mail, including 3 on a single day, with a total of 13 demerit points. What can I do?

You could write to the Traffic Camera Office and ask for all but one fine to be withdrawn on the basis that if you had received the first fine promptly and before the others, you would not have re-offended. This might be the case if the offences were committed on the same day or over a period of a week or two. The PRB (Penalty Review Board) has guidelines for this and they are able to make you pay the most serious fine and withdraw the others. Writing to the PRB also has its downside if you later decide to take your case to court, so you may want to get legal assistance and advice if you want to protect all your rights. Another option is to lodge an objection to each of the fines and use various strategies to get rid of them, or win them, via the court system.

 

Q. Why is the alleged speed different to the detected speed?

The detected speed is the speed recorded on a speed measuring device. The alleged speed is a lesser speed which the police allege in the charge or on the infringement notice after making allowance for possible margins of error .

The Road Safety (General) Regulations sets the calibration tolerance for speed measuring devices.  The calibration tolerances are as follows:

  • hand held lasers - 2kmh,
  • hand held radars - 2 kmh
  • fixed speed cameras - 2kmh 
  • mobile speed cameras - 3kmh or 3%, whichever is greater,
  • point to point - 0kmh

The alleged speed is the detected speed less the calibration margin permitted by the regulations for the relevant device.

The police allow a reduction to avoid wasting a day in court arguing about the accuracy of a speed measuring device. The reduction gives the accused the benefit of any doubt as to the accuracy of the device. There is no legal obligation on the police to allow any reduction at all. However, most prosecutors will recognise that any charge arising from the use of a speed measuring device can be challenged if no deduction has been made. Allowing the deduction is a practical solution to that problem. It is usually very difficult to get the police to agree to a greater reduction than what is set out above.

 

Q. I was caught speeding in NSW at 45kmh over the speed limit. Will my Victorian driver's licence be affected?

Yes it will. You should expect the RMS will record the disqualification period on the national database, which gives VicRoads notice of the penalty imposed in NSW. VicRoads will then send you a notice stating that your Victorian drivers licence will be suspended or cancelled for a period commencing on the date stated in the letter and ending on the date that your disqualification in NSW ends. So if NSW disqualifies you from driving for 6 months then VicRoad will suspend your licence for the same period even if that offence would have carried a more severe penalty if it had been committed in Victoria. You will also have demerit points recorded for the offence in both NSW and Victoria.

 

Q. I was caught speeding in Victoria at 40kmh over the speed limit. Will my NSW or UK driver's licence be affected?

Your interstate or overseas licence can not be suspended by any Victorian law or authority. However, your right to drive in Victoria will be suspended for 6 months, although you may want to seek legal advice about your particular circumstances because the law can be ambiguous in this area. Interstate licence holders may find that their local licencing authority has the power to suspend their interstate drivers licence if they become disqualified from driving in Victoria. Driving during a period of suspension or disqualification is an offence punishable by imprisonment. Victorian law can not prevent you from using a non-Victorian licence in other states, i.e. Victoria can not stop you using your NSW or UK licence in other states.

 

Q. The police followed me on the freeway and booked me without using a laser or radar device. Can they do that?

Yes, they can prove your speed by relying on the speedometer in their vehicle, regardless whether it is calibrated.

 

Q. Where are the police allowed to set up a speed trap?

Anywhere they want. The police can enforce speed limits on any road in Victoria and no law specifies where they might use a speed camera or other speed measuring device. However, the police use operational guidelines and site selection guidelines that state what physical features may make a site unsuitable or inappropriate for speed camera use. The guidelines have almost no value in court.  It is not a defence to a speeding fine if the police who detected you speeding were illegally parked, or parked on private property, or driving without seatbelts, or speeding without emergency lights activated, or driving an unregistered vehicle, or had a cracked windscreen, or did anything else that was irrelevant to the commission of your offence.

  

Q. Where can I find the laws governing operation of speed cameras and other speed detection devices?

See the Road Safety (General) Regulations, especially Part 3, and also ss.66, 78, 78A, 79, 80, 83, 83A Road Safety Act 1986.

 

Q. How does the National Measurement Act 1960 (Cwth) help to fight a speeding offence in Victoria?

It does not help at all. This legislation ("NMA") has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the prosecution or defence of speeding offences in Victoria. Over the past 40 years numerous courts have held that evidence obtained from speed measuring devices is admissible as evidence in court despite the National Measurement Act and the National Measurement Regulations. The NMA legislation does not require speed measuring devices to be certified and generally does not affect the admissibility of evidence obtained from any speed measuring device. About 12 years ago I represented a client (Ken Harris) who instructed me to run the NMA argument. The argument was rejected, Mr Harris was convicted and he subsequently lost his County Court appeal.

Although the NMA argument has been accepted on a couple of occasions, each of those rulings has been overturned by higher appeal courts. You will never be acquitted of a speeding charge by arguing about the NMA.

Some speed camera activists are still advising people to use this "defence". They claim the courts are mis-interpreting the legislation. However, the courts' role is to interpret the legislation made by parliament. If the courts' interpretation is not what parliament intended, parliament will amend the legislation to clarify their intention. Importantly, parliament has never amended the Act to over-rule the court's interpretation of it. Despite the clear and repeated rejection of this argument by the courts, some fanatics continue to come to court to tell the Judges that all these judgements are wrong. Worse, they sometimes convince other gullible drivers to rely on this point in court.  Before you embarrass yourself arguing this point in court please consider the following cases where judges have held that the NMA is not relevant in a speeding case:

  • Re: Appeal of White [1987] District Court NSW
  • Brooks v. Parente (1989) Supreme Court of Vic. Nathan J. Unreported.
  • Hooper v. Marshall [1992] TASSC B50
  • In the Appeal of Lloyd (1994) 20 MVR 408 (NSW)
  • Crosthwaite v Loader [1995] QSC 42
  • Pearce v Dennis [1997] QCA 239
  • Radalj v. Taylor (1997) 25 MVR 11 (SCWA)
  • Rumsley v. Taylor (1997) 26 MVR 563 (SCWA)
  • Jenkins v WMC Resources Ltd [1999] WASCA 171
  • Borody v Smith Ors [2002] NSWSC 1242
  • Allen v. Broome [2003] TASSC 38
      Police v. KS, (2010) Magistrate Cure, Magistrates Court of Victoria
  • Agar v. Dolheguy [2010] VSC 506
  • Agar v. Petrov [2015] VSC 168
  • Moran v Police [2010] SASC 269
  • Van Reesema v Police, [2010] SASC 201
  • Police v. Young [2012] SASC 210
  • Spinks v. Cruikshank [2012] TASMC 9
  • Macdonald v County Court of Victoria [2013] VSC 109 (para 32)
  • Macdonald v County Court of Victoria [2013] VSC 605 (para 8 to 13)
  • Kuipers-Lloyd v. Police [2013] SASC 137
  • Anastasiou v. Police [2013] SASC 112
  • Kuipers-Lloyd v. Police [2013] SASC 137
  • Best v. Police [2015] SASC 190
  • Jameson v. Police [2016] SASC 5
  •  

    Q. I don't think I have a defence. What can I do?

    I will never rely on my client to find a defence. 99% of "defences" my clients tell me about are useless and merely waste my time. It is the lawyer's job to identify any defence, not the client's. Read this page about defending charges.

     

    Q. What is the best way to win a speeding case?

    Employ a barrister and use the law. Also, most defendants think that they are under some obligation to prove that they did not commit any offence. This is wrong. If the police lose a case it is usually because they messed something up during the court proceeding, rather than the defendant saying anything useful in his or her defence.

     

    Q. I have lodged an objection to a fine. Now what should I do?

    Within a few months the police will send you court papers. Once you have the court papers, you should book a conference for some legal advice. Read this section on court process.

     

    Q. Do you give free legal advice?

    Yes. You are reading it. There is more here.

     

     

    Q. I can't afford a lawyer. Can I get help from legal aid?

    If you are at risk of going to prison, and if you satisfy Legal Aid's means tests and other condtions, then you might qualify for legal aid - especially if you are pleading guilty. I have never heard of Legal Aid providing funding for a traffic lawyer to defend a speeding case. Legal Aid provides a "duty solicitor" at most courts to help defendants who want to plead guilty. So if you want to plead guilty (and lose demerit points and lose your licence), then you could ask to see the legal aid lawyer at court. The duty solicitor will not represent you to fight a traffic offence.  

    How to dispute a speeding fine. Disputing a speeding ticket. Fighting fines and speeding tickets. How to challenge a speed camera fine. Fight fines. . Challenging fines in victoria. Speeding fine laws. Speeding law. Speed ticket law. Speed camera law. Excessive speed fine. fightfinea

    Related Pages:

    Speed Camera Offences
    Fines
    Demerit Points
    Inaccurate Speedos
    Speed Camera Locations
    Getting Legal Advice

    Speeding Law Online Forum

     

    ..


    ..

    ..


    Home . About me . Contact . Disclaimer . Site Map

    Copyright S. P. Hardy