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SA Old Driving Offence Summons

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by Natalie Conlon, 9 September 2014.

  1. Natalie Conlon

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    Just over 7 years ago, we were pulled over by the police. They asked us if we knew why and we answered that we had no idea. It turned out that our car was not registered. The reason was that we were unaware, because we had bought it only a few months previously and the car yard told us that they would pay 3 months rego and transfer into our name. I never gave it another thought. I had paid 2 registrations on other vehicles previously, so probably assumed I had registered that, which is what I told the police officer. He told us to drive straight home and if another police officer picked us up on the way home to tell them what he had said.

    After 7 years, I cannot remember the officers name. He told me to register it on the Monday and he would check to see that we had done it and we would be let off of a fine. I had my parents take me to register early that morning and paid registration and transfer fees into my name. The girl serving me at the Rego said that car yards did that so often and when they received renewal papers never sent them on to the purchasers. I do not know why it has taken 7 years to find me, because I have been registering several vehicles over the years and my license has also been renewed and addresses changed.

    My wife has MS and is on the Disability Support Pension and I am her Carer. We do not have them money to pay a huge fine. We are wondering if it is still liable after all of this time?

    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Regards,
    [Full Names redacted by Moderator]
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Natalie,

    Did you end up registering the car? If so, when did you register it?

    Do you remember any details about the police officer at all? For example, which office he was based in, any notes or script he gave you.

    In Southern Australia, there are time limits for when police can bring complaints against a person for summary offences. This is usually 6 months to 2 years: SA handbook. However, this may start from the date of issuance of fine or from the date of the actual offence. Give the SA magistrates' court or legal centre a call and enquire about this time limitation.
     
    Natalie Conlon likes this.
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Dear Natalie,

    Unfortunately there is no such thing as a ticket simply expiring because the offence happened in the distant past. However you do probably have options to overturn it.

    I don't think you have a prima facie defence to this ticket, as it is the responsibility of vehicle owners to ensure that they have registered their own vehicle. This is an excerpt from the SA Legal Service Commission: http://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/dsh/print/ch13.php#Ch1255Se240548

    "Unregistered vehicles


    It is an offence to drive an unregistered motor vehicle, or cause an unregistered motor vehicle to stand on a road. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,500 [see Motor Vehicles Act 1959 s 9(1); Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007; Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Regulations 2007 reg 4(b) but not a first offence]. It is a defence if a person drove the vehicle or allowed it to stand in prescribed circumstances and did not know it was unregistered [see s 9(1a)]. It is also a defence if the person was the driver, but not the owner of the vehicle, and did not know, and could not have reasonably be expected to have known, that the vehicle was unregistered [see s 9(1c)].
    "

    These prescribed circumstances essentially include situations where the vehicle is historic and cannot be registered, or the vehicle is a work car and the driver is not the owner or it is a hire car etc. These are the only specific defences in the Act to the offence of driving an unregistered vehicle. Therefore it is unlikely you will be able to invoke them to get out of this fine.

    As stated above though, you may nonetheless have a chance at appealing the fine on the basis that you had relied upon the car dealer's assurance that he would pay the first 3 months rego. You likely have the right to elect to have the matter heard in court to contest the fine. Check out the expiation notice - it should provide details of where and how you should contest the fine.

    http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/transpo...d-penalties/paying-a-traffic-expiation-notice
     
  4. Natalie Conlon

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    Thanks for answering my question Sarah :) Yes I registered on the Monday morning as the officer had instructed me to do. After 7 years, I do not remember any details about the officer. He gave us no notes or anything else. He just told us to drive home and if stopped by another officer, to tell them what he had said. Luckily home was not far away and we didn't encounter another officer. He told us he would check to see that we had registered as he told me to do. We assumed that he did that as we never heard another word until 2 days ago :(
     
  5. Natalie Conlon

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