Infringement Notices in Queensland
Fines and infringement notices are two terms often used interchangeably. While they are both something you want to avoid, in this blog we explain the differences between the two, and what your options are if you are issued with an infringement notice.
What is an infringement notice?
An infringement notice is something that is issued by the police, local government authority or other prosecuting agency. It alleges that you have breached a particular law – usually a minor traffic offence or parking offence – and rather than going to court, it gives you the opportunity to pay a fixed fine as a penalty. You may have heard people refer to a parking ticket or a speeding ticket – these are actually infringement notices.
An infringement can be issued in person and on the spot, or it could be something you receive in the mail.
Contained on the infringement notice will include details about:
- what law you have broken;
- how much you have to pay; and
- when you have to pay the fine.
What is the difference between a fine and an infringement notice?
There is a slight difference between a fine and an infringement notice – mostly in relation to the process for disputing payment, seeking time to pay, enforcing payment and setting it aside.
Other key differences are that a fine can only be issued by the Court and is an amount of money that a court can order you to pay as a penalty for committing an offence. The fine might be the whole penalty for the offence, or it could be part of the sentence you receive.
On the other hand, an infringement can be issued by any authorised person mentioned earlier and is usually related to a minor traffic offence.
What happens once you receive the notice?
You’ll find that many infringement notices are to be served to the alleged offender within 21 days of the offence. Once this has been received, the receiver has 28 days to decide whether to pay the infringement notice fine, seek a review of the notice, or go to court to dispute the notice. These steps are usually clearly outlined on the back of the infringement notice. The authorised person who has issued the notice will be able to answer questions you have in relation to it.
Can you dispute a traffic infringement notice?
Mistakes can happen, however disputing an infringement notice is typically only done when the alleged offender has a strong case – such as when the stakes are high, or the offender is at risk of losing their license or having to pay a hefty fine.
Individuals can be successful in disputing a traffic infringement notice if:
- they are sure they did not commit the offence;
- the police failed to follow proper procedural requirements;
- there is a major defect in the infringement notice; or
- a lawyer is confident they can get the alleged offender off on a technicality.
In these circumstances, you can seek to have the infringement notice reviewed by the authority that issued it, or you can choose to have the infringement notice considered by a court. But this comes at a cost, therefore the cost of fighting a fine must always be weighed up against the cost of simply paying the fine.
Either of these choices must be exercised within 28 days from the date when you were served with the infringement notice
If you do decide to dispute a fine, we recommend getting in touch with a lawyer who specialises and is highly experienced in traffic offences to ensure you have the best opportunity to win your dispute.
What is the process for requesting a review of the notice?
If you decide to have a traffic infringement notice reviewed, you need to request this with the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO). There are three possible outcomes to a review:
- The penalty notice may be upheld, which means that it stands, and you will be required to pay the amount specified.
- You will receive a caution instead of deducting demerit points and requesting payment.
- Your penalty notice will be cancelled.
If you are requesting a review, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. Depending on your reasoning, this evidence could include, but is not limited to:
- Showing a clean driving history for at least 10 years.
- Evidence of any changes of vehicle ownership
- Police reports if the car was stolen at the time the offence was committed
- A statutory declaration if you weren’t the driver at the time of the alleged offence.
- Proof from the hospital or medical facility you were going to at the time of the alleged offence.
While your matter is being reviewed any outstanding fines will be placed on hold and you will be informed of the outcome in writing within 20 days.
Further information on infringement notices
Our team of litigation lawyers specialise in many fields including and are able to help you understand what options you can and should exercise if you are issued with an infringement notice.