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VIC VicRoads and Infringement Notices - Reduce Traffic Law Charges?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by witte, 21 August 2015.

  1. witte

    witte Member

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    My husband and I have approx. $8000 in toll charges with infringement notices and legal costs included. He is not responsible, I am as I was driving the vehicle at the time when we lived in the small country town in Western Victoria.

    We were not aware of these charges until we moved and then found out all this was owing. We had kept VicRoads informed of our change of address at all times. I suffer from a major depressive disorder since 2007 and my husband is my carer. We are therefore both on the pension. We, at this point, went on a payment plan each at $50 per fortnight. Equates to $200 a month which is a huge chunk out of a pension.

    My question is this: is there some way we can reduce the legal costs and just pay the toll charges under Traffic Law. We tried to do the revocation when we found out, but due to their time constraints we were declined. Surely there must be something we can do as trying to meet this obligation without defaulting is becoming serious.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    If your condition can be proven with medical reports there is a fair chance you can get the fines withdrawn however you will still probably have the matter heard in court. The police seem to ignore special circumstances and automatically take you to court. Great use of police resources chasing people over civil debts :(

    The details you provided are not enough to state how to proceed from here. Things like where were notices sent to, when and why are all relevant.

    Speak with the the magistrates court and ask them what the procedure is for you. They will not give legal advice so don't ask for legal advice. You are asking for procedural information on how to have the matter dealt with by the special circumstances area (Melb) in the magistrates court. Much may depend on who you speak with as to how much assistance you get. If they try to fob you off, ask to speak with the court registrar.

    Please persevere.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Eddie Watson

    Eddie Watson Member

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    Rod, first time online. I have a strange question for you, because I'm both guilty and innocent. Got stopped for breath test, waiting in line my son called, had NO idea laws had change in Nov last year that makes it an offence to hold a phone even if it is turned off, which mine was. Thought it was fine to take call as long as I ended it before moving. Was booked, but didn't know I'd been booked until I got notice some weeks later because at the time neither officer told me that i was actually being charged, and I did not see any paper work, did not sign anything, was told nothing, actually thought that I had just been more or less chastised and then allowed to go.

    What I appear to have been booked for (not sure because it has not been made clear) was holding my phone when I moved forward in the line to take the test. I didn't know that you could no longer even hold a switched off phone. When I got the notice some weeks later it said 'using mobile phone while driving' which in my mind I had not done but with the new laws it in fact is correct. However, because I did not know about the new laws and neither officer explained them to me on the day, I believed that the infringement notice was incorrect and that I should and could contest it. So I wrote to the Officer In Charge on the back of the notice, explaining what took place, even stating that I had the phone in my hand at the time but that it was not turned on (but of course at this time I still did not know this was illegal). I told them that I was not on an active call and that I had not broken any law and therefore would not pay. They...like the officers at the time...did not bother to explain, they simply sent me another notice telling me that I was going to court because I had refused to pay the infringement charge. In that notice they also told me (in Bold Print) that I could not contact anyone from this time on about this matter, unless it was the Officer involved.

    So, wanting to know my position and what to do in court, I wrote to him, more or less spelling out my case to the person who will be in court doing all he can to ensure I am found guilty. I couldn't understand why I had to do this, it seemed to be very unfair but I did as the notice told me to do. So I am now going to end up in court, charged with rolling my car 8 feet with a switched off phone in my hand. But the only reason I did this was that I did not know it was illegal, it had not been well advertised, nobody I know knew about these laws when I later asked them. And I only held the phone as I moved because it was my turn to take the test and I did not want to hold the officers up, so I wanted to get to the line as quickly as possible, I just held my phone as I selected gear and moved forward. I had no idea I had broken any law, and when I pulled away I was still unaware that I had been booked, because nobody told me or showed me anything.

    I know that under the new laws I am guilty, but I didn't know about the law of holding a switched off phone, and i was moving at 2 kmh a distance of 8 feet. I would have thought that discretion could have been used when they could clearly see that I did not know about the new laws and that I was not really 'driving' I was simply taking my place to assist them in doing their job. Why did neither officer explain, why did the Officer in Charge that I wrote to not explain, it seems that the law is in place to more or less run you into a dead end that ends in court.

    I have said that I will not pay, and that I will do a jail term instead. Because I honestly believe that it was unfair and unjust. I know I will lose, and I will end up in jail, but I could do with any help you can give me for my day in court. I hope that the Judge might be able to show discretion and see just how stupid this was, to roll 8 feet, with a phone in my hand, switched off, and doing that only because I was trying to ensure I did not hold the officers up and wanted to get to the line for the test. And this happened with my honest belief that I was not doing anything illegal.

    Anything you can tell me that might help in court, as I said, I know I will be found guilty, and because the notice directed me to contact the very person who will be against me in that court, he and his legal team now know what it is I will be saying to the Judge. It appears I am...screwed...but a little help would be great.

    Thanks mate.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hi Eddie,
    My advice (it's not legal advice) is get your evidence that you were not on a call at the time you were charged, turn it into an affidavit, to go to court, dress well, show respect to the magistrate, plead guilty, show remorse for what you did and hope for the best.

    If you have a good record you may get off with no fine. Some Magistrates consider that waiting in court for half a day is enough of a fine.

    If your record is not good, best to pay the fine and move on.

    I don't suggest pleading not guilty based on the facts you have provided unless you face loss of licence due to too many points. A check when that part of the legislation was changed and it was 2 years ago so trying to say it is a new law won't fly at court.
     
  5. Eddie Watson

    Eddie Watson Member

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    Thanks Rod. I'll take your suggestion, there's not a lot more I can do anyway. I know I'm guilty, honestly didn't have any idea about the laws being so strict, and everyone I've asked since finding out has said they had no idea either, seems it wasn't all that well publicised but as you say, it would be useless going to court and telling a judge you didn't know. Thanks for your help mate, really appreciate it.
     

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