Speeding in NSW can include a number of penalties such as fines, demerit points, and even suspension of your licence. Many believe that once they have received a speeding fine they are unable to challenge it and must simply pay the fine and accept the consequences, even if they do not believe they were travelling at the alleged speed. However, it may surprise you to know that this is not the case.

Once you have received a speeding fine or been charged with a major speeding offence, you are not automatically guilty and have a range of options to appeal and have your speeding offence reviewed.

Licence Suspension periods

The Roads & Maritime Services can suspend your licence if you have accumulated enough demerit points. The length of suspension are as follows:

– 13-15 points – 3 month suspension
– 16-19 demerit points – 4 months
– 20 or more demerit points – 5 months
– P’s or L’s – 3 months

Alternatively, NSW Police can immediately suspend your driver’s licence for a number of reasons including various levels of speeding, for example;

– Exceeding the limit by more than 30km/h is a 6 month suspension
– Exceeding the limit by more than 45km/h is a 3 month suspension

Responding to the Fine if you disagree 

If you disagree with a penalty notice, you can take it to court to be appealed. There are few ways to argue the accusation;

1. Honest and Reasonable mistake

One way to appeal a speeding ticket in court is to raise the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, where you truthfully believed that you were acting lawfully when you committed the offence and if you were aware it was an illegal offence you would not have done it. This process can be difficult as simply stating that you believed the speed limit was higher than it is will not be enough. The court will require sufficient evidence to support your claim.

2. Challenging the speed alleged

Another way to appeal a speeding ticket it to challenge the speed that has been alleged. This can be done for police estimated speed checks as well as for camera, radar or LIDAR (light detection and ranging) detected.

– Police Estimated

  • A police officer must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were over the limit. If they have issued a ticket merely based on an estimate with no other evidence, it will be easy to contest.

– Radar/Lidar detected

  • Although contesting a ticket from a speed camera, radar gun or LIDAR can be more difficult, it is possible due to technological constraints. If a piece of equipment is not maintained, calibrated or used in the right conditions then its reliability is compromised. This means it is possible to get a report from a technical expert to help to backup your case.

Responding to the Fine if you agree with the accusation

Alternatively, if you agree that you were speeding and either think the punishment was too harsh or have good reasons for them to be lessened, you can apply for a “leniency appeal”. This means essentially asking the magistrate to lessen your fine, reduce the suspension period or even have no conviction recorded under a Section 10.

The court has complete discretion to decide to either reduce or completely disregard the suspension/fine. Matters relevant to most appeals are;

– Previous driving history
– References for a variety of sources demonstrating good character
– If you can prove that you need your licence for work or to care for someone else
– You can show you have little access to public transport
– The loss of your licence will cause hardship for you or others
– Any other factor which may provide sufficient evidence that you deserve for your penalty to be reassessed.

All appeals must be lodged within 28 days commencing when you receive the penalty from a police officer or four working days after the notice is sent by the RMS, as the court has little to no power to hear appeals that are lodged past the date.

Appealing speeding tickets can become long-winded, expensive and convoluted. It is best to consult a traffic lawyer to discuss the likelihood of fighting the ticket before commencing. At Owen Hodge we are always happy to discuss with you the ramifications of any traffic offences. Please call us to schedule a consultation on 1800 770 780.