Victoria Traffic Law
Traffic Lawyers Victoria
In Victoria, there is a range of traffic offences contained in the Road Safety Act 1986 and the Crimes Act 1958. These can result in demerit points, fines, licence suspension and terms of imprisonment. While some traffic offences can be dealt with by way of infringement notices, others require the offender to attend court.
Traffic offences dealt with by courts
The Magistrates Court of Victoria determines the majority of traffic offences including driving while suspended, excessive speeding, dangerous driving and driving a unregistered vehicle.
More serious traffic offences such as culpable driving under section 318 of the Crimes Act 1958 and dangerous driving causing death under section 319 of the Crimes Act 1958 must be committed to a higher court for finalisation.
Most breaches of road rules will incur a traffic infringement consisting of a fine, and loss of demerit points. A driver can choose to either accept responsibility and pay the fine or have the matter determined by a court.
There are over 200 road rules in Victoria which are contained in the Road Safety Act 1986, the Road Safety Road Rules 2009, and various regulations relating to licensing, drivers, and traffic management. The issuing and enforcement of infringements is governed by the Infringements Act 2006.
The most common infringements taken to court are:
- using a mobile phone while driving;
- running a red light;
- failure to wear a seat belt; and
- not displaying P or L plates.
Penalties for traffic offences
The penalties for traffic offences depend on the nature of the offence and the person’s driving history. They can include:
Impoundment of vehicles
Victorian police have the power to impound or immobilise a person’s vehicle immediately for 30 days if they commit a high risk driving or hoon offence. These offences include:
- exceeding the speed limit greater than 45 km per hour;
- loss of traction;
- street racing;
- recklessly entering a level crossing when a train is approaching;
- refusing to stop for police;
- carrying more passengers than seat belts;
- repeat offences of disqualified driving; and
- repeat DUI, or drug driving.
If you are a repeat offender, the court may impose a further period of impoundment of between 45 days and three months. If you are a third-time offender, you may have your vehicle permanently confiscated by the court.
If you have been given a traffic infringement, but failed to pay, then it may be referred to the Infringement court for enforcement.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.
Infringement Court of Victoria
The Infringements Court is a division of the Magistrates Court, and deals with the enforcement of unpaid infringement notices such as parking, speed, and camera fines. If you do not take any action upon receiving the traffic infringement, or pay the penalty reminder notice, the issuing agency will lodge the enforcement notice with the Infringement Court for enforcement.
There are over 130 issuing agencies in Victoria that can refer unpaid fines for enforcement.
- the EPA, and
- the Victorian Taxi Directorate.
Once within the Infringement Court an Order will be made by the registry which is as enforceable as an Order made by the Magistrates Court. You will then be sent a copy of the Order, including additional fees that will need to be paid. Failing to do so will result in an infringement warrant being issued against you. This allows the sheriff’s office to suspend your licence, or suspend the registration of your vehicle.
It is important to note that the further down the process your infringement goes the amount you have to pay will increase with the addition of further fees, and penalties; and the fewer options you will have to contest the offence.
Victoria’s Safe Driving Program
From February 2013, legislation was introduced that requires those convicted of certain driving offences for which their vehicle has been impounded to complete a court-ordered VicRoads Safe Driving Program. The program runs for five hours and uses behaviour-change principles to provide factual information on the risk of dangerous driving habits, encourages you to talk about your motivations and behaviour, and identifies how you can change you driving behaviour.
If the court orders you to participate in the program you have 4 months to complete the course and provide VicRoads with a Certificate of Completion. If you fail to complete the course then you may be faced with an indefinite licence suspension.