NSW Off Duty Policeman - Traffic Infringement Notification

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David Bonney

Member
30 August 2014
4
0
1
Hi, just wondering if anyone can help under Traffic Law.

My son had an incident yesterday in his work vehicle which led to him inadvertantly entering a one way street from the wrong end. The car had a loose hose flaying out the back of the ute and since he could not find anywhere to pull over safely in the street he was in, to get himself off the road he took that option.

Once on the street I believe he pulled into driveway, a little shaken and I believe because the hose was broken and snapped (his 3rd week on the job) also got a little distressed about the whole thing.

A guy in his 50s approached him and my son believe he was coming to check and make sure he was alright. But the guy commenced grilling him about the one way street and the fact he could have killed someone.

The guy then looked at his car, and advised he was an off duty policeman. He then looked at the car ( he has his NSW red P plate showing and said to my son.. and you know.. you have now lost your licence also..

While I dont have all the facts, I do know the guy did not state his name, nor show any identifcation. He did not ask for ID from my son either.. He did not take notes of the number plate, not photo.. although the vehicle would be easily rememembered via the business name..

While my son agrees that he went the wrong way. he believed he did it in the best interest of safety.. As soon as he entered the steet he realised the mistake and pulled over..

So. .question is.. given the lack of formal ID from the guy.. is he able to issue a citation once he returned to work if in deed he was a policemen ?
Secondly, given the circumstances I believe we would have a reasonable change in court ?
Thirdly, I can only find the demerit system indicates a 2 point penalty which would be for
Rule 98 (1)
Disobey one-way sign

Any help on all 3 would be appreciated

regards
 

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
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250
2,389
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi David,

1. Police officers, even while off duty, are able to issue fines/record traffic offences and do not need to give formal ID. They will need to if making an arrest.

2. Generally, traffic offences committed under a lawful excuse or defence or justification can be sufficient to set aside the charge. Your son's situation should be sufficient to justify breach of the particular offence. This is a question of balancing dangers. See NSW Justice Lawaccess for more information.

3. You are correct. Disobeying a one way sign is 2 demerit points or a $201.00 fine. It is likely that the off-duty officer was either ignorant of the penalties or just trying to scare your son.
 

David Bonney

Member
30 August 2014
4
0
1
Hi David,

1. Police officers, even while off duty, are able to issue fines/record traffic offences and do not need to give formal ID. They will need to if making an arrest.

2. Generally, traffic offences committed under a lawful excuse or defence or justification can be sufficient to set aside the charge. Your son's situation should be sufficient to justify breach of the particular offence. This is a question of balancing dangers. See NSW Justice Lawaccess for more information.

3. You are correct. Disobeying a one way sign is 2 demerit points or a $201.00 fine. It is likely that the off-duty officer was either ignorant of the penalties or just trying to scare your son.

Thanks Sarah
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
4,068
737
2,894
Sydney
It is likely that the off-duty officer was either ignorant of the penalties or just trying to scare your son.
I agree with @Sarah J .

If in fact he was an off duty policeman.
The way you describe it, his behaviour seems a little inconsistent with
the expectations of off-duty police described in the 2014 edition of
the NSW Police Force Handbook.
To put it another way - he sounds like a civilian blowhard
rather than an off duty serving constable.

If there is an infringement out of all this, then your son has two choices.
He can either court-elect it, or just pay the fine and get on with his life.

Reassure your son that until something happens, nothing has happened.
 
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
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174
2,394
Sydney
I agree with @Tim W, the response appears inconsistent with the NSW Police Handbook (specifically, page 295 - Off Duty Policing Response):
When off duty avoid involving yourself in neighbourhood disputes, trivial street offences and matters concerning family and friends, unless immediate intervention is justifiable.
 
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Reactions: Tim W

David Bonney

Member
30 August 2014
4
0
1
I agree with @Sarah J .

If in fact he was an off duty policeman.
The way you describe it, his behaviour seems a little inconsistent with
the expectations of off-duty police described in the 2014 edition of
the NSW Police Force Handbook.
To put it another way - he sounds like a civilian blowhard
rather than an off duty serving constable.

If there is an infringement out of all this, then your son has two choices...
He can either court-elect it, or just pay the fine and get on with his life.

Reassure your son that until something happens, nothing has happened.


Appreciate your feedback, and yes.. i agree there are some issues with his behaviour.. but as I said.. I wasnt there.. so an 18 year old in a panic may not have all the facts, which is the bit that concerns me most.. if an infringement arrives we will be challenging it on the basis that he believed it was actually the safest option he had at the time..

thanks again
 

David Bonney

Member
30 August 2014
4
0
1
Guys once again thanks for the response. It gave me a few options if the circumstances eventuated.. We heard nothing more and he has now moved off his red P's to his Greens.. Assume if he was a policeman, he used it to 'scare' him.. and that's ok.. as it is a lesson learnt.. or as Tim suggested it may have been a civilian blowhard..

Really good to have this type of access to basic legal questions

DB
 

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
1,314
250
2,389
Melbourne, Victoria
Thanks for the update on your situation, David. I'm glad you found our advice helpful and good to know we've given your son and yourself some options if you do end up receiving that infringement order in the future (hopefully not).

Congratulations on your son getting his green P's!