Relatively minor traffic violations in the ACT have been processed by infringement notices for some time. Failing to stop at a red light and speeding are common examples.
An officer who observes the violation prepares an infringement notice. That document identifies the law that the driver violated and explains the driver’s options.
One option is to pay the amount stated on the notice before the payment deadline. Paying the penalty is not regarded as an admission of responsibility or a plea of guilty.
Another option is to dispute the violation. Drivers usually exercise that option when they think the officer made a mistake or when they want to explore the possibility of reducing the penalty.
Most drivers are familiar with infringement notice procedures, which tend to be similar in every state. Infringement notices are a time-saver for courts, since most infringement violations are resolved without a hearing. They also save time for the police, since officers are not usually required to do additional work after issuing the infringement notice. The system has worked so well in the ACT that it may be expanded.
In addition to traffic offences, some low-level offences are currently covered by the ACT’s infringement scheme, including urinating in public and noise violations. The ACT legislature is considering a proposal to deal with additional offences as infringements.
The offences that would be covered by the proposed law are:
Individuals accused of the offences would still have the right to have their guilt decided by a magistrate. The police would then be entitled to withdraw the infringement notice and issue a criminal summons. That might result in a criminal conviction and a more serious penalty if the accused does not prevail in court, although an accused who prevails would not be sanctioned at all.
On the other hand, when an infringement notice is contested, the police might decide to issue a warning rather than a summons. If you are not sure how to proceed after receiving an infringement notice, your best option is to seek legal advice.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.