SPEEDING AND STREET RACING

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We’re all guilty of speeding at some point in our driving career. Some people just haven’t been caught. 

Speeding offences are a serious traffic offence and are categorised as dangerous driving. They are treated seriously by the court because they can have tragic consequences. If you have received a fine for speeding, contact our experienced traffic lawyers for a free initial consultation. 

In New South Wales, traffic offences such as speeding are covered by the Road Rules 2014 (NSW) and the  Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). These offences are often prosecuted in the Local Court. However, some speed related traffic offences are also covered under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) if they result in death or serious injury and it is up the the discretion of the prosecution whether they are prosecuted summarily or on indictment in the District Court or Supreme Court. Most speeding offences are strict liability offences meaning the prosecution only needs to prove that you committed the offence, not that you intended to commit the offence.

There are three ways you can be caught speeding:

  • Fixed speed camera or combined red light and speed camera
  • Mobile speed camera (note: they are no longer required to be marked or display road signs)
  • Police lidar detector (radar)

There are additional traffic offences that fall within the category of speeding offences. These include:

  • Races, attempts on speed records and other speed trials
  • Conduct associated with road and drag racing and other activities
  • Police pursuits
  • Drive furiously, recklessly or at speed in a manner dangerous to the public

If you are caught speeding, your offence will dealt with via a fine, loss of demerit points, licence suspension, licence disqualification, impounding of vehicle and/or confiscation of number plates.

Fines are calculated using penalty units set out in the legislation. In NSW, each penalty unit is equal to $110. For example, 50 penalty units equal a fine of $5,500.

Speeding offences

General speeding offences:

The following are the most common speeding offences. The following fines are the maximum fine imposed by the court, not the fine you will be issued by the Police or Transport for NSW. However, if your matter goes before the court, the fine and disqualification period can be increased. The following general speeding offences DO NOT include speeding in a school zone or speeding by a learner or provisional driver.

  • Speeding not more than 10km/h

Light vehicle = $2,200

Heavy vehicle= $2,200

Licence disqualification period = none

Demerit points = 1

  • Speeding more than 10km/h but less than 20km/h

Light vehicle= $2,200

Heavy vehicle= $2,200

Licence disqualification period =none

Demerit points = 3

  • Speeding more than 20km/h but less than 30km/h

Light vehicle = $2,200

Heavy vehicle= $2,200

Licence disqualification period =none

Demerit points =4

  • Speeding more than 30km/h but less than 45km/h

Light vehicle = $2,200

Heavy vehicle = $2,200

Licence disqualification period = 3 months (minimum)

Demerit points = 5

  • Speeding more than 45km/h

Light vehicle = $2,530

Heavy vehicle = $3,740

Licence disqualification period = 6 months (minimum) 

Demerit points = 6

Street Racing

Street racing offences or hooning offences are serious traffic offences. They pose a significant risk to the safety of other road users and are considered anti-social behaviour because they impact on the amenity and peaceful enjoyment of the area they take place in.

Races, attempts on speed records and other speed trials

You must not organise, promote or take part in:

Any race between vehicles on a road, or

Any attempt to break any vehicle speed record, or

Any competitive trial designed to test the skill of any vehicle driver or the reliability or mechanical condition of any vehicle on a road, 

Unless the written approval of the Commissioner of Police to the holding or making of the race, attempt or trial has been obtained. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300 (for a first offence) or a fine of $3,300, 9 months imprisonment or both (for a second or subsequent offence). 

If you apply to the Police Commissioner for approval and you fail to comply with the conditions set by the Police Commissioner, you are guilty of an offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200 and an automatic licence disqualification period of 12 months. However, if the court believes it is appropriate, it can impose a shorter or longer term of disqualification.

Conduct associated with road and drag racing and other activities

You must not operate a motor vehicle on a road in such a manner as to cause the vehicle to undergo a sustained loss of traction by one or more of the driving wheels (or in the case of a motor cycle, the driving wheel) of the vehicle. This is also known as a burn out. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $1,100.

You must not:

Operate a motor vehicle contrary to the above (causing a burn out) knowing that any petrol, oil, diesel fuel or other inflammable liquid has been placed on the surface of the road beneath one or more of the tyres, or

Do, or omit to do, any other thing that prolongs, sustains, intensifies or increases loss of traction as set out above, or

Repeatedly operate a motor vehicle contrary to the above, or

Operate a motor vehicle contrary to the above, at a time, or on a road or in a place, knowing there is a an appreciable risk that operation of the vehicle in that manner at that time and place is likely to interfere with the amenity of the locality or the peaceful enjoyment of any person in the locality or make the place unsafe for any person in the locality. The court will consider:

  • The nature and use of the road on which the offence is alleged to have been committed,
  • The nature and use of any premises in the locality of the road in which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

The automatic licence disqualification for this offence is 12 months, however, the court has the discretion to increase or decrease the disqualification period. 

You must not:

Willingly participate in any group activity involving the operation of one or more vehicles contrary to the above, or

Organise, promote or urge any person to participate in, or view, any group activity involving the operation of one or more motor vehicles contrary to the above, or

Photograph or film a motor vehicle being operated contrary to the above for the purpose of organising or promoting the participation of any persons in any such group activity.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300 (for a first offence) or a fine of $3,300, 9 months imprisonment, or both (for a second or subsequent offence).

It is a defence if you can prove that your operation of the vehicle, while against the law, was not deliberate.

You must not, on a road, engage in conduct prescribed by statutory rules, being conduct associated with the operation of a motor vehicle for speed competitions or other activities specific or described in the statutory rules. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is $550.

Drive Furiously, Recklessly or at Speed in a Manner Dangerous to the Public

You must not drive furiously, recklessly or at speed in a manner dangerous to the public.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200, imprisonment for 9 months, or both (for a first offence). For a second offence or subsequent offence, a maximum penalty of $3,300 or imprisonment for 12 months (or both).

This offence is also punishable under the criminal law if it results in injury or grievous bodily harm. The maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment.

Police Pursuits

Police pursuits are a criminal law offence. If you are a driver who knows, ought to reasonably know or have reasonable grounds to suspect that police are in pursuit of the vehicle being driven by you, you’re required to stop the vehicle and you don’t stop the vehicle and then drive recklessly or at speed or in a manner dangerous to others, you are guilty of an offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment of 3 years for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 5 years.

Speed measuring evasion articles

Daryl Kerrignan (of The Castle fame) once said, “it just paid for itself” when referring to a speed detection device his son bought from The Trading Post as they passed a highway patrol car. While it may have saved Daryl and his son from a speeding fine, it could have resulted in much harsher penalties for having possession of the device.  

Sale, purchase or use of prohibited speed measuring evasion articles

You must not sell or offer for sale, or purchase, a prohibited speed measuring evasion article. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200.

You must not drive a motor vehicle, or cause a motor vehicle or trailer to stand, on a road if a prohibited speed measuring evasion article is fitted or applied to, or carried in the vehicle or trailer. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200.

The person responsible for the vehicle or trailer is also guilty of an offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200.

It is a defence if you can prove to the court that the device was not designed as a prohibited speed measuring evasion article, but was designed for another purpose. Further defences also include:

  • The vehicle was in the course of a journey to a place appointed by a police officer, an officer of the Authority or a court, in order to surrender the article, or
  • The vehicle was the subject of a notice, issued in accordance with the statutory rules, requiring the responsible person for the vehicle to remove the article from the vehicle within a specified time and that time has not expired, or 
  • You did not know, and in the circumstances could not reasonably be expected to have known, that the article concerned was fitted or applied to, or was being carried in the vehicle at the time.

Surrender and forfeiture of prohibited speed measuring evasion devices

If a police officer reasonably believes that:

A prohibited speed measuring evasion article is being sold or offered for sale in contravention of the legislation, or

A motor vehicle or trailer is standing or being driven in contravention of the legislation because of an article fitted or applied to, or carried in, the motor vehicle or trailer, 

That officer may require a person in possession of the article to surrender it immediately to the officer, or in the case of an article fitted or applied to a motor vehicle or trailer and not immediately removable, may by notice in writing served on the responsible person for the vehicle or trailer require the responsible person to surrender the article within a specified time and in a specified manner to the Commissioner of Police. 

An officer of the Authority who is authorised in writing by the Authority for the purposes of the legislation and who finds a prohibited speed measuring evasion article fitted or applied to, or carried in, a motor vehicle or trailer may, by notice in writing served on the responsible person for the motor vehicle or tailer, require the person to do either of the following:

  • Remove the article (if it is fitted to the vehicle or trailer)
  • Surrender the article within a specified time and in a specified manner to the Commissioner of Police

Failure to comply is an offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200.

Police roadside powers

A police officer has the power to suspend or confiscate a driver’s licence for the following speeding offences:

Serious offences causing death or grievous bodily harm

Speeding in excess of 45km/h above the speed limit (automatic 6 months suspension)

Street racing

Aggravated burnout offences

Novice driver speeding in excess of 30km/h above the speed limit (automatic 3 months suspension)

On the spot suspensions mean you MUST NOT drive the vehicle.

Police suspensions can be appealed. You MUST lodge your appeal within 28 days of the infringement notice.

You MUST NOT drive while a licence suspension is in place. If you do, it can lead to further penalties. For further information about driving while suspended or disqualified, click on the Traffic Law link above.

A police officer also has the power to confiscate your number plate or impound your vehicle for a fixed period of 3 months for a first offence. If it is a second or subsequent offence within 5 years, the court can order the vehicle be forfeited to the Crown and it can be sold to the RMS for crash testing. 

You can appeal the confiscation of your number plate or the impoundment of your vehicle to the Local Court. You will need to lodge an application with the court and have evidence to support your requirement of the vehicle. For example, you are are a carer and require the vehicle to transport your relative or you live in a regional area with limited access to public transport.

Summary Court Process (Local Court)

  1. Contact Jameson Law for a free initial consultation 
  2. Mention hearing: This is the first court date for your matter. It essentially brings it to the attention of the court. You can plead guilty at this stage after receiving legal advice and the matter will be finalised. If you plead not guilty, the court will adjourn your matter and set another court date. The court will set a date for each party to produce their evidence (brief mention)
  3. You should use this time to gather any supporting evidence such as character references.
  4. Brief mention: Each party must produce their evidence to the court and each other. Another court date will be set for hearing
  5. Hearing: both parties will present their argument to the court. The court will make their decision and issue a sentence where appropriate.

Local Court sentencing options

There are many sentencing options available to the Local Court. These options are available where no serious injury or death has resulted from the speed related offence. Pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity may entitle you to a 25% reduction in your sentence. However, you should not plead guilty until you have received legal advice, to ensure the best possible outcome for your matter. 

Section 10:

A section 10 is the best possible outcome in the event the court finds you guilty of a speed related offence. There are three orders available to the court under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act where the court believes it is inappropriate to further punish an offender. 

  • Section 10 (1) (a)- dismissal with no conviction recorded
  • Section 10 (1) (b)- dismissal with no conviction on conditions set by the court. For example, not to commit an offence for a period of two years 
  • Section 10 (1) (c)- dismissal with no conviction on the condition that the offender enters into an intervention program. For example drug and alcohol counselling. 

A section 10 is an acknowledgement of the court that you have committed an offence, however, the court is satisfied that it is out of character and you are unlikely to continue offending. It’s the court’s way of giving you a second chance.

Before granting a section 10, the court will consider:

  • Your traffic history. 
  • Your character, antecedents, age, health and mental condition, etc
  • The trivial nature of the offence
  • Extenuating circumstances that lead to the offence being committed 
  • Any other matter the court considers relevant

Intensive Correction Order:

Intensive Corrections Orders are an option available to the court where a sentence of imprisonment is imposed on the condition that a defendant is of good behaviour and agrees to supervision by a community corrections officer rather than go to prison. 

Additional conditions that may be imposed by the court include:

  • home detention
  • electronic monitoring
  • curfew
  • community service (up to 750 hours)
  • participation in rehabilitation or treatment programs, for example, drug treatment/counselling
  • no drugs or alcohol
  • refrain from certain relationships/associations, for example, drug dealer, etc.
  • ban from certain locations

Community Correction Order:

Community Corrections Orders are similar to Intensive Corrections Orders. The main exception being that a defendant needs to make themselves available to attend court at any time the court requires.

Conditional Release Order:

A Conditional Release Order is similar to an Intensive Corrections Order or Community Corrections Order. A Conditional Release Order can be issued with or without a conviction recorded.

Section 32:

A section 32 is a diversionary option available under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW). If a defendant is, or at the time of the speed related offence occurred:

  • cognitively impaired
  • suffering from mental illness
  • suffering from a mental condition for which treatment is available in a mental health facility

The options available to a magistrate under a section 32 include:

  • adjourning the matter
  • granting the defendant bail
  • any other order the magistrate deems appropriate
  • dismissing the charges and discharging the defendant into the care of a responsible person (e.g. a parent) on the condition they attend a specified place for assessment or treatment.

Disclaimer

The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. You should speak with one of our criminal lawyers for legal advice tailored to your specific legal matter. The penalties listed are maximum penalties. The courts deal with matters on a case by case basis. It should also be noted that there may be court delays due to COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions.

You should check the date the offence is alleged to have occurred and then confirm who was driving your vehicle at the time. If you know who was driving the vehicle, you can nominate the driver on the Revenue NSW website or via stat dec. You will need to know the driver’s name, address, date of birth and the penalty number which is located on the fine. If you cannot remember the driver, you can request a copy of the photo taken, however, you may be required to pay a fee and there is no guarantee the face of the driver was caught on the camera. If you are unable to determine who was driving the vehicle, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.

There are a number of ways you can appeal a speeding fine.

  1. Request a review of your fine by Revenue NSW. You can request a review if you believe the fine was issued in error (e.g. your car was parked in your driveway at the time of the offence), you have extenuating circumstances (e.g. you were experiencing a medical episode) or you are requesting leniency because of your good driving history (for offences under 20km/h and a driving record that has been clear for the past 10 years). You may be required to submit evidence to support your review.
  2. Appeal your matter in the Local Court if you are unhappy with the outcome of the review. You can appeal your matter to the court instead of requesting a review, however, it is recommended you seek a review first to save you time and money.

Time limits apply, so make sure you lodge your review or appeal as soon as possible.

Double demerit points are in place during peak holiday periods in NSW. They apply to general speeding offences set out above including school zone speeding offences and speeding offences committed by learner and provisional drivers. They start at midnight on the start date and finish at midnight on the end date. If you are caught speeding during double demerits, you will lose double the demerit points you would normally lose, however, the fine and suspension/disqualification periods remain the same.

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