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NSW Speeding fines - How Should I Defend Myself in Court?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by Brett, 23 June 2014.

  1. Brett

    Brett Member

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    Last week I was travelling south to Coffs Harbour on the Pacific Motorway through a construction zone in Ewingsdale. I was in an 80klm per hour zone doing approx 75klm when a temporary road sign was picked up by the wind and flew rapidly towards the front of my car. It caused me to panic swerve and slam on the bracks. The car behind me also had to brake and workmen who were approx 60 metres behind me to the left looked up to see what the commotion was.

    Just yesterday I was issued with a speeding fine for travelling at 76klms per hour in a 60 zone in about the same area as the sign nearly hit me. I have been a very careful driver, being a sales rep doing about 80,000 per year and never been charged with a serious offence or lost my license or even had an accident in more 20 years.

    I noticed that all the other signs are weighted down with green sand bags. I couldn't tell exactly what the sign was. I remember it was large, white and had yellow stand as it went tumbling towards me.

    Now I wonder should I defend the ticket in court and use this as my defense. And what about the cars behind me they probably got a ticket too, and they also should be set free under Traffic Law?
     
  2. Owens Lawyers

    Owens Lawyers Well-Known Member

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    The defence of honest and reasonable mistaken belief is only available if the mistake is one of fact. For example, if you thought you were going 60 when you were actually going 75. If you make a mistake about what the speed limit on the road was, that's a mistake of law, and the defence is not available.

    There is also usually more than one sign if the speed is reduced because if road works.
     
    John R and Paul Cott like this.
  3. Brett

    Brett Member

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    Well if one sign blew over, what is to say the other sign didn't.
    And actually I think the other signs had one facing for oncoming and the other outgoing traffic. And then the eye follows the closest sign and when a potentially dangerous event happens the mind is focused on that and how to manage it.
    I'm not mistaken about anything, this is not a question about I made a mistake.
     
  4. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brett,
    I appreciate your frustration - they often say that the law is an ass!
    That said, "mistake of fact" and "mistake of law" are legal terms that @Owens Lawyers attempted to clarify for you.
    Given your reliance on driving for work, you should consider engaging a lawyer with traffic law experience to review your specific circumstances and advise on your options (e.g. pay the fine and move on, contest the fine and be prepared to pay the prosecution's costs if you lose, etc.).
     
    Owens Lawyers likes this.
  5. Owens Lawyers

    Owens Lawyers Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brett,
    John R is right, mistaken belief is a legal concept, and it is difficult to argue. Moreover it's probably unfair that the courts don't recognise a mistaken belief about the law but that's the state of play at the moment.

    Other than mistaken belief there are only two ways to defend a speeding charge: either you weren't going the speed alleged or the speed limit of that particular part of the road is higher than they say.

    I assume it was a camera detected offence, so have you viewed the image yet? You can do so via the State Debt Recovery website.
     
    John R likes this.

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