Life in the fast lane – can you contest a speeding fine?

The simple rule is that if you are caught exceeding the speed limit, you are guilty of an offence. Speeding is a strict liability offence – meaning that it does not matter why you were speeding, only that you did exceed the speed limit (even by 1km/h).

What are the penalties for speeding?

The penalties for speeding depend on the amount that you are alleged to exceed the speed limit by. For a full licence holder operating a non-heavy vehicle, the following mandatory demerit point/licence suspension periods* apply:

Excess Speed [1] Demerit Points License Suspension Period Penalty
1 – 9 km/h 1 Nil $207
10 – 24 km/h 3 Nil $330
20 – 24 km/h (110 km/h zone) - 3 months $330
25 - 29 km/h - 3 months $454
30 - 34 km/h - 3 months $537
35 – 39 km/h - 6 months $620
40 – 44 km/h - 6 months $702
In excess of 45 km/h - 12 months $826

Note: *correct as at 1 July 2019.

What are my options if I receive a speeding fine?

If you receive a speeding infringement you may have the following options available to you (depending on the circumstances of the offence and relevant time limits):

  1. Pay the infringement amount in full and accept any additional penalties (i.e. demerit points);
  2. Apply to Fines Victoria to pay the infringement amount by instalments or request an extension;
  3. Nominate a driver if you were not in possession of the vehicle at the time of the offence;
  4. Request an internal review with Fines Victoria; or
  5. Elect to go to court to dispute the infringement notice and have a Magistrate determine the matter.

If you are charged with ‘excessive speeding’ (travelling 25 km/h+ over the speed limit or in excess of 130 km/h), this is a serious offence and a court appearance will be required to dispute this.[2]

Is there a defence to speeding?

There are strict time limits associated with responding to infringements and it is therefore important that you take prompt action or further penalties will apply. If unpaid infringements reach the warrant stage, the Sheriff may seize your goods, sell your goods, wheel clamp your vehicle, remove your number plates or even arrest you.

It is not an adequate defence that you were overtaking another vehicle, were not aware of the speed limit or didn’t realise you were exceeding the speed limit. However, you may have a defence if any of the following apply:

  1. You were not the driver of the vehicle at the specified time;
  2. You were not in possession of the vehicle (i.e. sold it prior, car or number plates were stolen); or
  3. You believe the allegation of speeding was incorrect, by arguing the speed detector was faulty or inaccurate (although, it is not a defence to argue that your own speedometer was faulty). However, the law assumes that speed cameras are accurate and substantial evidence is required to provide this defence. [3]

It is possible that the court could take into consideration that you were exceeding the speed limit due to an emergency (i.e. having a critically injured passenger in the vehicle) or involuntarily (i.e. suffering a medical condition at the time) and evidence in relation to these circumstances will be required.

Please seek the advice of one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your options in relation to responding to a speeding infringement as each case will depend on its specific set of circumstances.

[1] Road Safety Road Rules 2009 (VIC) r 20-21.
[2] Road Safety Act 1986 (VIC) s 89A (4)(5).
[3] Road Safety Act 1986 (VIC) s 79.

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