Excessive Speeding in the Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, excessive speeding is an offence under the Traffic Act 1987. This offence can result in a hefty fine, license suspension, or even a term of imprisonment. This page deals with excessive speeding in the Northern Territory.

The offence of driving at excessive speed

Under section 30A of the Traffic Act 1987, it is an offence to drive at more than 45km/h over the sped limit in the NT. This offence is punishable by a fine of up to 20 penalty units or imprisonment for up to two years.

A person who is found guilty of driving at excessive speed in the NT will also have their driver’s license disqualified for a period of three months if it is their first offence or for a period of six months if it is their second or subsequent offence.

Exception for Fire and Rescue Service

A member of the NT Fire and Rescue Service does not commit an offence if they travel at excessive speed when answering an emergency call if:

  • The driver is taking reasonable care;
  • The vehicle is displaying flashing lights or sounding an alarm or siren;
  • The need for speed outweighs the risk to public safety posed by that speed.

License suspension

A person who has their license suspended in the NT must not drive for the period of the suspension. If they are caught driving while their license is suspended, they will be charged with a criminal offence and may be sentenced to a fine or a term of imprisonment.

Pleading guilty to excessive speeding

A person who is charged with excessive speeding in the NT and wants to plead guilty, should gather supporting material to tender in court. This may include character references from people who know them and are aware of the charge and evidence of any steps they have taken to  address their offending. If they are under financial pressure, they should bring to court evidence of their income and expenses so that the court can take this into account when imposing a fine.

A person pleading guilty to excessive speeding should not bring their car to court as a license disqualification will be imposed.  

Defences to excessive speeding

A person who drives at excessive speed in the NT may have a legal or factual defence available to them. Some of these are briefly outlined below.


A person may be found not guilty of an offence if they were not the person driving or if the prosecution cannot prove that they were the person driving.

Vehicle was not speeding

A person may be found not guilty of this offence if it cannot be proved that the vehicle was travelling at more than 45 km/h over the speed limit.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they carried out an act under duress. A person acts under duress if they do an act only because they are subjected to really serious threats by another person and they do they act purely to avoid the threat being carried out.

The defence of duress is rarely relied on and even more rarely succeeds as a very high threshold must be reached to establish that a person was acting under duress and therefore, did not commit the offence of their own free will.


A person is not guilty of an offence if they carried out an act in response to an emergency situation and their reaction to the situation was what could be expected of an ordinary person with ordinary powers of self-control in the circumstances.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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