The Australian Federal Police are responsible for enforcing the traffic laws in the ACT. Traffic offences can be dealt with by way of infringement, or court summons. Traffic infringements will be issued for offences such as use of mobile phone, not wearing a seat belt, speeding, and driving an unregistered vehicle. It is important to have a good knowledge of the road rules to avoid losing your licence due to too many demerit points. Receiving a traffic infringement will result in a fine, and loss of demerit points. You will be issued a court summons for more serious traffic offences including hoon related activities, driving while disqualified, and high level speeding. These offences may result in the loss of licence, fines, the seizing of your vehicle, and possibly imprisonment.
Traffic Infringements in the ACT
If you receive a traffic infringement in the ACT you will have 28 days to pay. If you fail to pay a reminder notice will be sent, which will incur a further charge on top of your original fine. If you do not agree with the traffic infringement you can elect to dispute the notice, or if you were not the driver you can submit an infringement notice declaration. You can dispute the notice online, and outline your reasons for the dispute. If the reasons include denying the offence, calling into question the operation of the speed or red light camera, calling into question the evidence for issuing the infringement notice, or contesting the notice the matter will be referred to the Magistrates Court for determination, and you will receive a summons to appear. If you submit an infringement notice declaration you must take all reasonable steps to provide the details of the driver. There are four different forms depending on your circumstances. These include illegal user infringement declaration form, known user infringement notice declaration, sold vehicle infringement notice declaration, and unknown user infringement notice declaration. If you are having trouble paying your traffic infringement fine you may be able to participate in a Work the Development Program. This allows you to undertake community work, or to participate in counselling, or rehabilitation instead of paying the fine. If you fail to take any action, and do not pay your fine, your licence may be suspended.
Traffic Summons in the ACT
If you receive a summons for a traffic offence you will need to appear at the Magistrates Court. Failing to do so may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. You will receive a statement of facts outlining the offence, and be required to submit a plea. If you enter a guilty plea you may sentenced straight away, and your matter finalised. If you plead not guilty, the matter will be set down for a case conference, and then a hearing. Traffic matters are not to be taken lightly, and can incur serious penalties including imprisonment.
Traffic Law Legislation in the Act
The Road Transport (General) Act 1999 governs the administration of traffic infringements, the enforcement procedures of unpaid fines, and gives the police the power to immediately suspend your licence for certain offences. The Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1999 outlines the issuing of licences, the demerit point system, offences relating to disqualified drivers, obtaining a licence by fraud, and contravention of conditions of restricted licences or interlock conditions. The Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 contains the penalties, and procedures, for the more serious traffic offences in the ACT. This act governs the hoon laws, speeding, and dangerous driving offences; the ability to seize, impound or forfeit your vehicle; and provides the guidelines for the traffic offence detection devices such as speed cameras, and the use of average speed detection systems.
The use of RAPID in the ACT
The ACT no longer requires light vehicles registered in the ACT to have a registration sticker. Police now monitor registration compliance via RAPID (Recognition and Analysis of Plates Identified). This means that it is easier for the police to identify drivers of unregistered vehicles, and can spot offenders while they are driving. This has also assists police to recognise vehicles which have had their registration cancelled after the sticker has been placed on the vehicle, which incorrectly identifies the vehicle as being registered.