VIC Mistaken identity? Taxi zone fine

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Trgm95

Member
10 September 2021
4
0
1
Hi,

About 8 months ago I got a message out of the blue from fines VIC, stating that I had an outstanding fine from November 2018 for apparently parking in a taxi zone. They supplied the registration of the alleged car, it was the registration of a car I have never owned or driven.. Ever.
Furthermore the incident apparently happened in Belgrave, a suburb that I have never visited. It also occurred on a Thursday. I would certainly have been working. From what I can assertain, I would have been working on a job in Rye (I'm a carpenter on the Mornington peninsula). I have been locked out of a previous bookkeeping software that I used to use in 2018 as I haven't paid for the subscription in some time. I am currently trying to gain access as it would most likely have invoices proving that I was nowhere near Belgrave on the alleged day that this happened.
Fast forward to today, I got another message from fines Victoria stating the same thing. I called them today to tell them that I had previously appealed the fine and they basically told me, Victoria Police have made the decision that there is no way for me to prove that I was not operating that particular motor vehicle at that particular time. Therefore I must pay the fine and he also told me that I can not take this any further..
I want to make it clear, I don't give a s**t about the money. I am disputing the basic principle that I will not be fined for something I didn't do.
I can not think of any scenario resulting in how this came to be. I don't recall losing a driver's license around that time so I doubt there is any kind of identity fraud (maybe there is, I don't know).
And why did I only first hear about this 8 or so months ago? Don't they usually chase up fines pretty quickly? Not 3 years after the fact?
I'm not really sure what to do, I find it hard to believe that I can't take this any further..

Thanks for reading,
Tim.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,204
969
2,894
If you want to fight this on principle then you be paying more in time and or money than the fine is worth.

If you want to use a lawyer (and we can assist), you'll be be paying anywhere from $2k to $5K with no guarantee you will be successful.

The alternative is DIY and you've already experienced how difficult it can be to work your way through the bureaucracy when they say 'you must pay, you have no other option'. But if you have the time and energy you may be able to make progress. Depending on what stage the fine is at you formally ask for a review or enforcement review. It does need to be in writing and needs to be convincing. If that doesn't work, go to court.

Fines Victoria had massive IT problems in 2018 and couldn't issue fines because the IT system was behind schedule. Your fine may have been one of the ones caught in the debacle.

If you go to court and are a 'clean skin' (no priors for parking/traffic offences) you stand a good chance of having no fine imposed.

The simplest thing to do is to pay and move on with more important things. Having said that, there are people who operate on principle and will pursue their rights as far as they can regardless of the time and cost. I once challenged a parking fine I received because I genuinely misread a sign. Worked out ok in court, but had to turn up 3 times as the court adjourned it twice.
 

Trgm95

Member
10 September 2021
4
0
1
If you want to fight this on principle then you be paying more in time and or money than the fine is worth.

If you want to use a lawyer (and we can assist), you'll be be paying anywhere from $2k to $5K with no guarantee you will be successful.

The alternative is DIY and you've already experienced how difficult it can be to work your way through the bureaucracy when they say 'you must pay, you have no other option'. But if you have the time and energy you may be able to make progress. Depending on what stage the fine is at you formally ask for a review or enforcement review. It does need to be in writing and needs to be convincing. If that doesn't work, go to court.

Fines Victoria had massive IT problems in 2018 and couldn't issue fines because the IT system was behind schedule. Your fine may have been one of the ones caught in the debacle.

If you go to court and are a 'clean skin' (no priors for parking/traffic offences) you stand a good chance of having no fine imposed.

The simplest thing to do is to pay and move on with more important things. Having said that, there are people who operate on principle and will pursue their rights as far as they can regardless of the time and cost. I once challenged a parking fine I received because I genuinely misread a sign. Worked out ok in court, but had to turn up 3 times as the court adjourned it twice.
Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of time on my hands. As suspected paying the fine is probably is most pain free option in this scenario.. I am just completely baffled on how this came to be. I'm not what would be considered 'clean skin' as I have a few parking/speeding fines. This is an incredibly frustrating situation but I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
 

Scruff

Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
874
129
2,389
NSW
Never registered to you and you've never driven it. Okay, so how did they come to the conclusion that you were in control of the vehicle?
The only way I can see that this could even happen is if the registered owner explicitly nominated you as the driver. So the obvious question is, even though you've never driven it, do you know the owner? And whether you do or not, where's the evidence of the nomination?

There's no way in the world that I'd ever pay such a fine. If they won't provide some kind of explaination for this nonsense, then maybe some media attention will prompt someone in power to look into it.

Our legal system operates on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. The accusor has to prove their claim - not the other way around.
 
Last edited:

Trgm95

Member
10 September 2021
4
0
1
Never registered to you and you've never driven it. Okay, so how did they come to the conclusion that you were in control of the vehicle?
The only way I can see that this could even happen is if the registered owner explicitly nominated you as the driver. So the obvious question is, even though you've never driven it, do you know the owner? And whether you do or not, where's the evidence of the nomination?

There's no way in the world that I'd ever pay such a fine. If they won't provide some kind of explaination for this nonsense, then maybe some media attention will prompt someone in power to look into it.

Our legal system operates on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. The accusor has to prove their claim - not the other way around.
I genuinely have no idea how my details have ended up on this fine.

A bit of an update, I have actually found evidence that shows I could not have been in Belgrave (the area the fine apparently took place), because I was working in St Kilda.
I found a text message to one of my customers confirming that I was working on their property the same day as the alleged fine. I contacted the customer and they were more than happy to write me a signed statement stating that I was working on their property on the day of the fine which is nowhere near Belgrave. I contacted Fines Vic again today and told them that I have evidence clearly showing that I am not the person who was issued that fine. The guy on the phone just basically said I have already exhausted my 1 appeal attempt and I can not have a second go at it.
I am currently trying to find a lawyer to speak to and see where I can take it from here as I do believe I have a very strong case.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,204
969
2,894
I note you being in St Kilda at the time of the offence is not the same as your vehicle being in St Kilda. Unless your customer can clearly say your vehicle with number plate XXXX was in St Kilda, the statement/affidavit is not much value. Has some value, but is not a guaranteed win for you.

If you really really really want to pay for a lawyer, we can assist. :cool:
 

Trgm95

Member
10 September 2021
4
0
1
I note you being in St Kilda at the time of the offence is not the same as your vehicle being in St Kilda. Unless your customer can clearly say your vehicle with number plate XXXX was in St Kilda, the statement/affidavit is not much value. Has some value, but is not a guaranteed win for you.

If you really really really want to pay for a lawyer, we can assist. :cool:
If I was in St kilda, and I can confirm that the registration that the fine was issued to is not a vehicle that I own. Then how could the fine have been issued to me? In the absence of teleportation this is impossible. I should also say again that the fine was issued by Victoria Police, not a parking inspector.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,204
969
2,894
OK, if you do not have a co-worker/subby with that number plate, could be identity theft.

Up to you to decide how you want to proceed, you are past the point of being able to get assistance online.