Disputing a speeding fine

By 18 November, 2008 78

Has anyone recently had the good fortune to dispute a speeding fine and be successful?

My wife recently recieved a speeding fine (from the fixed camera) on the Monaro Hwy while in the right merging lane about to enter Isabella Drive. We requested the pic and if you squint you can just make out our rego. However I have shown the pic to at least half a doz other people and none of them can make out our rego.

Also she was pinged for 101 in an 80 zone – which is completely out of character for her. This speed just doesn’t match up with the way she normally drives.

Does anyone know about:
A – how we go about mounting an effective dispute in court
B – calibration rules for these devices. The traffic ops section has refused to provide any of that info to us….
C – rules for the camera shooting across three lanes (though no other vehicle is visible there is the possibility one is present in the lane closest to the camera but the image doesn’t show it)

Thanks for any and all assistance.

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78 Responses to Disputing a speeding fine
darkmilk4:27 pm, 18 Nov 08

Don’t know about cameras specifically, but if the speeding is that out of character that your wife hasn’t had a speeding ticket for 10 years or more then write in and plead leniency as she’ll probably get away with a warning. (You’ll need to attach the report saying this from any states she held a licence in anytime in those 10 years. A few years ago this cost something like $25 in one of the states and free here in the ACT?)

PBO4:31 pm, 18 Nov 08

As far as I know, and I could be wrong. The cameras and detecting devices are not covered by the Department of Weights and Measures (or whatever they are called now) and therefore the calibration is going to be suspect. I would ask to see the paperwork for the last time that the unit in question was calibrated, who did it and what their qualifications were and when they say no, remind them that it is a piece of public equipment and therefore you have the right to see it. It might work as there have been many cases before the courts on this matter and some precedents have been set.

I would argue the matter if you are unhappy. Good luck.

Jim Jones4:39 pm, 18 Nov 08

Anecdotally, the authorities make a a 10% margin for error allowance when dealing with speed recording devices, but the actual recorded margin of error is pretty negligible when it comes to fixed speed cameras. Obviously that’s not gonna cut it when the case is 101kph in an 80 zone.

To be honest, I’d suck it up and pay the fine. The ‘out of character’ argument just isn’t a defence.

AG Canberra4:41 pm, 18 Nov 08

The out of character thing isn’t meant as a defence – more that I just can’t believe she was doing 101…which brings me to the calibration and across three lanes topics.

dexi4:53 pm, 18 Nov 08

Pay the fine. Going to court costs. I think its $110 for the court appearance. Add to that a lawyer. If you think you have a case for it not being your car or you were not the driver then you should go in person to the red light camera office and present your case. They will tell you what your options are. Do not believe what you read on the back of the fine. Writing a letter does nothing. It sounds like you accept its your vehicle, so pay the fine and be done with it. Less, time, pain and effort.

H1NG04:59 pm, 18 Nov 08

Shit I have been fined too and that was out of character, but I still bloody did it and paid the consequence. As much as the speed van is a revenue raiser and an poor substitute for real cops doing real work, its the law and we have to deal with it. Pay the fine and be done with it. She needs to show some resposibility for her actions.

bloodnut4:59 pm, 18 Nov 08

Dispute everything on principle.

I have a friend that has contested every traffic infrigement and despite dozens of charges, continues to win based on their clean record. This seems to work as each previous unsubstantiated offence has been been removed from record.

If it’s not in your wife’s character she will have a clean record and almost definitely get off. If she has previous traffic offences then you should question the validity of your previous statement – but still contest. Not only does it feel so much better to go down fighting, but it is my long held belief that if everyone contested their traffic offences then the govt would reassess the cost-benefit of aggressively pursuing revenue in this manner.

AG Canberra5:01 pm, 18 Nov 08

more than 20 years without a fine – so as I said it is completely out of character….

So anyone know of where I can find the regulations concerning the operation of these devices?

cranky5:04 pm, 18 Nov 08

I have been nabbed at the same camera (89 in the 80) and in the same right hand lane. No doubt it was my car, though the plate was not legible. I suspect you get a low quality print of the original.

I’m fairly sure that in a previous thread on here, someone explained that the infringement notices are issued by an arm of the ACT public service. Any approach by you for a review of the fine is handled by ACT Police. Could be worth a try.

Spam Box5:04 pm, 18 Nov 08

Write a letter disputing the speed in the very small hope they may downgrade the speed(probably wont though) – accept that it’s >95% chance your wife actually did speed and it’s not worth all the drama and expense to fight something your almost certainly going to lose anyway

Or tell em Marcus Einfeld was driving – whatever :-)

caf5:05 pm, 18 Nov 08

All regulations are available at legislation.act.gov.au. Could take you a while to find them.

Holden Caulfield5:11 pm, 18 Nov 08

Send them a picture of a seven legged spider as payment.

miz5:34 pm, 18 Nov 08

RING first – there is a number on the invoice you received. They will tell you how to write/fax in. You do not want to formally dispute it as that involves the court and money as stated above by others.

It is highly likely she will have the fine waived if she has a good driving record, ie, no driving offences.

pmm5:35 pm, 18 Nov 08

I got fined for speeding once… it was completely out of character for me to get caught…

As Jim Jones noted, even if the cameras were off, it is extremely unlikely they were 21km off. Your wife was speeding – the speed limit was 80, she was clearly going over (regardless of how fast over). Pay the fine.

vandam5:35 pm, 18 Nov 08

Firstly, 20 years without a fine = 20 years without being caught!

Secondly, speed cameras, whilst might be revenue raisers, only raise revenue if motorists exceed the speed limit (mind you I think they give you an allowance of 10% +1).

Thirdly, Its going to cost you more going to court to dispute it.

At the end of the day your wife was caught speeding.

Swaggie5:58 pm, 18 Nov 08

I have my doubts about that camera AG, my one and only ticket was from that camera – 90 kph on a slip road approaching a roundabout? Debateable but “the camera never lies” so I paid, not worth the lost income in going over to request the pic and argue the toss but suss to say the least.

jake5555:59 pm, 18 Nov 08

vandam, thank you – how hard is it? Don’t break the law by speeding, and you will not be contributing in any way to ‘revenue raising’.

H1NGO “…the speed van is a revenue raiser and an poor substitute for real cops doing real work…” – Would you prefer all cops to be standing on the side of the road with a laser…?

grunge_hippy6:01 pm, 18 Nov 08

good to know that you can get done in the lane going to isabella dr… i was wondering about that. i thought it might only cover the 2 lanes.

*makes mental note*

BerraBoy686:06 pm, 18 Nov 08

Holden Caulfield said :

Send them a picture of a seven legged spider as payment.


bloodnut6:13 pm, 18 Nov 08

vandam said :

Firstly, 20 years without a fine = 20 years without being caught!

Secondly, speed cameras, whilst might be revenue raisers, only raise revenue if motorists exceed the speed limit (mind you I think they give you an allowance of 10% +1).

Thirdly, Its going to cost you more going to court to dispute it.

At the end of the day your wife was caught speeding.

There is a consequence to the obvious action – but are you saying that you would happily sell your right to dispute the appropriateness of that consequence?

AG Canberra – dispute in our fair Canberra Courts my friend and take back what these souls – which by their apathy – would see us all denied.

futto6:59 pm, 18 Nov 08

i never knew it picked up the turning lane there either. I’m sure I have been doing more than 80 most times i go past there…never 101 though!

I have never had a speeding ticket in the ACT (been here 9 years) and I drive past three each way on the way to work each and every day! I have thought I might have gotten one a few times, especially when I have zoned out on the parkway and not consciously checked my speed.

What i have always wanted to know is do they have three detectors and three cameras in the device (one for each lane) or how can you tell which lane is speeding when all three lanes have cars at the same point?

I-filed7:03 pm, 18 Nov 08

The fact that you are also casing a dodgy “maybe my rego number wasn’t distinguishable” argument when you know it’s your car, makes all your arguments dodgy. Just pay up. BTW they probably have a higher res version, and in any case the have the technology to identify the plate where your eye can’t …

harvyk17:12 pm, 18 Nov 08

Pay the fine, unless you can find a fault with the Camera that will stand up in court you don’t really have a leg to stand on. If it turns out the Camera was faulty they would have to re-emburse you the money and points. Otherwise your likely to spend $1000 to save $200.

dexi7:25 pm, 18 Nov 08

The last ticket I disputed. It took me a long time(with a canceled license)to convince the police that the pictured car was not mine. The number plates where from a car I no longer owned and I was living interstate at the time of the offense. It wasn’t till a good lawyer wrote a strongly worded letter that the fine was finally dropped. No amount of phone calls or letters from me helped even though it was obviously not my car. This was made worse by the fact I couldn’t afford to pay the fine, or court or a lawyer.

Good luck.

ant9:59 pm, 18 Nov 08

Holden Caulfield said :

Send them a picture of a seven legged spider as payment.

I don’t have a clue what it means, but I’m laughing like a drain at that!

bigred10:05 pm, 18 Nov 08

Under the principles of admin law one is offered the opportunity to tell their story before the penalty is actually applied. That is just in case you have a reasonable excuse, such as “I wasn’t doing the speed”. If your wife really believes she didn’t do it,as opposed to having a good previous record it is worth writing a letter politely asking the questions about the accuracy of the camera. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

If it is a matter of principle for you and your wife, by all means take it to court and argue that the automated detection is not infallible. You would need to have evidence of the accuracy of the camera and a few witnesses to swear that travelling with your wife driving is like watching paint dry.

farq10:06 pm, 18 Nov 08

Most of the time it would cost more to dispute the fine than to just pay it. One of the many problems with the justice system.

On a positive note, if your wife has had a clean record for 10 years write a letter to the address on the back saying:

“I understand road safety is something we must all take responsibility for…..It was a uncharacteristic lapse of concentration while overtaking… I am sorry, I will never do it again, this has been a real wake up call”. Something like that.

I have seen it work more than once in NSW.

I bet it would feel good to get out of it with nice cheap words. For sure beats paying the fine or paying lawyer/court costs.

Costs nothing to try.

bd8410:08 pm, 18 Nov 08

You could go to the Dickson Motor Registry and actually see the picture in person instead of asking to print you a copy and send in the mail. If you still want to dispute you need to go through the AFP here: http://afp.gov.au/act/road_traffic/paying_traffic_fines.html

You can either, apply have the the notice withdrawn which they make a decision of yes/no and let you know and doesn’t cost anything, or dispute the liability which involves going to court and obviously may cost $$.

Personally if your wife was driving in the area in the car and it looks very much like her car, I’d be paying the fine. Could try applying to withdraw based on her driving history, couldn’t do any harm.

bd8410:09 pm, 18 Nov 08

in the area at the time too

Vic Bitterman10:34 pm, 18 Nov 08

ant said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Send them a picture of a seven legged spider as payment.

I don’t have a clue what it means, but I’m laughing like a drain at that!

This was all over sites like Reddit, Digg etc last week – here’s a random link with the content : http://www.geekologie.com/2008/11/good_idea_man_submits_drawing.php

It’s very funny, albeit as fake as hell.


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