NSW Leniency for perfect driving record - should I contest?

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Jacqui835

Member
18 July 2020
2
0
1
Approximately 2 weeks ago, I received a fine for driving an unregistered vehicle. The car was only out by a week, we have a new baby and combined with the stress from current circumstances we had forgotten to register for the first time ever. When the police officer pulled me over, he seemed kind and said, “don’t pay the fine, request leniency because you have a perfect driving record, you’ll just get a warning.” So when the penalty notice arrived, that’s what I did. We also registered the car that day before driving any further. But we have just received an update saying our penalty has been reviewed and upheld because, they acknowledge that the car was registered that day but state that the car wasn’t registered at the time of the offence. There is no mention of anything else – my perfect driving record or anything mentioned (new baby, stress from Covid 19 etc). I only mentioned the car was registered that day in our penalty review because I wanted them to know it was never my intention to drive an unregistered vehicle, but I feel like in the penalty review they’ve assumed I’m trying to say I don’t deserve a fine because I registered the car that day and disregarding everything else. I am really upset about this, I know I made a mistake but it’s the first time ever and the police officer said I wouldn’t have to pay – the baby was screaming in the car at the time and he said this happens all the time and, “not to let it ruin my day.”

Did the police officer give me a false sense of hope, or is leniency usually granted? I would love to know what others think of this, the fine is almost $700 and I am so upset. I’ve never had any fines before and we didn’t budget for this after the police officer told us we wouldn’t have to pay it. TIA
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
3,639
699
2,894
Sydney
The police officer certainly spoke outside his scope.
Know this -> No, you don't have any automatic right to leniency for being misled by the constable,
even if you could prove it.

It's not an offence to have/ leave a vehicle unregistered - it's only an offence to drive it unregistered.
The onus is always on the driver (yes, on the driver, even if it's not their car),
to ensure that a car is registered before driving it on the road.
That's because it's the driver (who may or may not be the owner) who commits the offence of "Drive Unregistered Vehicle".

My usual advice to actually-guilty traffic offenders is to pay the fine and move on with your life.
If the time-to-pay option is available to you, then you may care to take that path.

In the alternative, - if you are still within time to do so, then court elect it and see how you go.
The instructions will be on the back of the notice.
I've never heard of either baby-brain or COVID stress ever getting up as defences,
so do not have any false hope there.
If the court finds you guilty (which is more likely than not), then you would end up with the fine to pay,
and usually, a further amount for court costs, and the risk of a conviction on your history.
 

Adam1user

Well-Known Member
5 January 2018
536
30
2,219
Approximately 2 weeks ago, I received a fine for driving an unregistered vehicle. The car was only out by a week, we have a new baby and combined with the stress from current circumstances we had forgotten to register for the first time ever. When the police officer pulled me over, he seemed kind and said, “don’t pay the fine, request leniency because you have a perfect driving record, you’ll just get a warning.” So when the penalty notice arrived, that’s what I did. We also registered the car that day before driving any further. But we have just received an update saying our penalty has been reviewed and upheld because, they acknowledge that the car was registered that day but state that the car wasn’t registered at the time of the offence. There is no mention of anything else – my perfect driving record or anything mentioned (new baby, stress from Covid 19 etc). I only mentioned the car was registered that day in our penalty review because I wanted them to know it was never my intention to drive an unregistered vehicle, but I feel like in the penalty review they’ve assumed I’m trying to say I don’t deserve a fine because I registered the car that day and disregarding everything else. I am really upset about this, I know I made a mistake but it’s the first time ever and the police officer said I wouldn’t have to pay – the baby was screaming in the car at the time and he said this happens all the time and, “not to let it ruin my day.”

Did the police officer give me a false sense of hope, or is leniency usually granted? I would love to know what others think of this, the fine is almost $700 and I am so upset. I’ve never had any fines before and we didn’t budget for this after the police officer told us we wouldn’t have to pay it. TIA
What the police offer stated is his opinion only and not a promise (as you can say) and the answer you received is from the online review, right? In my opinion, if you have a good driving record, and going through a hard time (due to the current situation) and having a baby, the magistrate/judge may have leniency on this , but this would be done in court not the online review. I think you should have elected to go to court and asked that, the personnel who do the online review process have strict rules and directions that most of their reviews are that infringements stand. In my personal opinion (and can be a risk) if you are going through a hard time (not working or working less hours), I think you have a chance, but you need to have a good driving record and no other issues or problems with the law, otherwise, any issue with the law will not assist you, you will lose. Please note that I am not a lawyer and this is my personal view on your situation.
 

Jacqui835

Member
18 July 2020
2
0
1
The police officer certainly spoke outside his scope.
Know this -> No, you don't have any automatic right to leniency for being misled by the constable,
even if you could prove it.

It's not an offence to have/ leave a vehicle unregistered - it's only an offence to drive it unregistered.
The onus is always on the driver (yes, on the driver, even if it's not their car),
to ensure that a car is registered before driving it on the road.
That's because it's the driver (who may or may not be the owner) who commits the offence of "Drive Unregistered Vehicle".

My usual advice to actually-guilty traffic offenders is to pay the fine and move on with your life.
If the time-to-pay option is available to you, then you may care to take that path.

In the alternative, - if you are still within time to do so, then court elect it and see how you go.
The instructions will be on the back of the notice.
I've never heard of either baby-brain or COVID stress ever getting up as defences,
so do not have any false hope there.
If the court finds you guilty (which is more likely than not), then you would end up with the fine to pay,
and usually, a further amount for court costs, and the risk of a conviction on your history.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. Yeah it seems to be a hopeless case. I just wish the police officer hadn’t said anything at all, made it worse and we didn’t budget for the fine.

It was a genuine mistake I believe caused by the fact I’ve been so stressed with Covid and the new baby and I didn’t even say anything to the police officer (I have been very emotional since the birth and was trying not to cry). I just nodded and I think I might have said sorry and he just kept saying, when the notice arrives don’t pay it you have a perfect driving record and there’s plenty of excuses right now with Covid and your baby.

Anyway hopefully I’m eligible for a payment plan.