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Q: Australian speeding fine ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Australian speeding fine
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: philosophe-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Jul 2003 03:47 PDT
Expires: 17 Aug 2003 03:47 PDT
Question ID: 232396
I recently got an enormous speeding fine ($1559, for 156 km/h in a 110
km/h zone) in NSW, Australia.  I live in the US and have a US driver's
license.  The policeman told me that if I don't return to Australia,
they won't chase me down to pay the fine, but that I'll need to pay if
I want to return.  I'm Australian so certainly want to return, but
would prefer to avoid paying the fine if that's possible.  This raises
the questions: exactly how do they deal with this situation if one
returns, and does this enable any possibilities for avoiding paying
the fine?

For example, will the ticket be connected only to one's current
license number, so that it will only be relevant if one is stopped
while using that license again?  And could one avoid difficulty by
e.g. changing US licenses, or by applying for a new license in

Request for Question Clarification by angy-ga on 31 Jul 2003 01:54 PDT
I'm fairly sure plutoman is right, and you will have difficulty
entering the country if the fine is not paid. The Infringement
Processing Bureau is currently closed, but if you are still in NSW you
might like to phone them tomorrow morning on 1300 138 118 - or if you
prefer I will phone them for you - let me know.

There may be some time payment facility since the fine is so
substantial (where were you ? On the Newcastle freeway? ). Certainly
if you do not pay by the due date, you will first receive a reminder
notice, giving you a further month to find the money, and then after
that the debt is passed on to a special collection division who charge
an additional fee.

Clarification of Question by philosophe-ga on 31 Jul 2003 02:18 PDT
Yes, I have an Australian passport.  However, I gave the police
officer only my US driver's license, not my passport.  I don't know
whether they have any way to connect my license to my passport.  I'm
not out of the country so if you could phone the bureau, terrific.

The ticket was on the road from Sydney to Canberra, just north of the
ACT border.  From a web search it appears that this is the standard
NSW speeding fine for more than 45 km/h over the limit.

Clarification of Question by philosophe-ga on 31 Jul 2003 02:19 PDT
I mean, I'm *now* out of the country.
Subject: Re: Australian speeding fine
Answered By: angy-ga on 31 Jul 2003 21:21 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, Philosophe !

Yes, I know the bit of road you mean. It's a notorious blackspot,
which is why they're very tough on speeding there.

I've spoken to the Infringement Processing Bureau and my contact
checked with the head of the adjudication section. The Bureau
themselves handle the fine for the first two steps of the process, the
initial fine, and then the reminder notice with its extra month to
pay. During that time there is no option to pay in instalments, but
you can pay online at:

Click on "fines" in the left hand menu.

After the expiry date on the reminder notice the debt is passed on to 
State Debt Recovery. Apparently the story that they can prevent you
entering or leaving the country is a widely believed urban myth; they
are mostly unlikely to do this for a matter of debt. However, if you
regularly stay at the same place or work at the same place within
Australia they are liable to catch up with you while you are in the
country, especially if you gave the police an Australian postal
address when you were given the fine.

On the other hand, once it is in the hands of  State Debt Recovery you
should have the option to pay by instalments, which would make the
payments more manageable.

You are probably lucky that you were not given a neg. driving charge
at the same time, given the speed.

So your options are:

1. Ignore it, cross your fingers and hope. You'll probably get away
with it as long as you don't notch up another infringement on the same
license, unless you gave them a home or work address in NSW.

2. Pay now.

3. Wait until it's in the hands of  State Debt Recovery and negotiate
a payment plan that suits you.

4.  I am told that if you have a NSW licence that has been clean for
ten years, you can ask for a fine to be set aside on the grounds of
your previous record. Write to the address on your fine notice. I'm
not sure how it would be regarded for such a high speed, though.

Next time you're here, be aware that there are constant "blitzes" on
speeding, particularly on long weekends and around major holiday
periods. Also more and more speed cameras are being installed often on
down-slopes where drivers are likely to creep over the limit
inadvertently. (They are controversial, but there has been a
significant reduction in accidents in areas where they have been
installed.) Each of these is preceded by at least two, usually three
warning notices, but it can still be difficult to spot them in
unfamiliar areas. I know !

If you are seriously worried about the issue, of course consult a
professional lawyer. If you are a member of the NRMA they have a free
legal service.

Good luck.

Search strategy:

Personal knowledge,
philosophe-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for the information.  I'll probably just pay anyway, but it's
good to know the situation.

Subject: Re: Australian speeding fine
From: plutoman-ga on 30 Jul 2003 23:48 PDT
As you're an Australian I assume that you use an Australian passport.
In this age of computer technology, don't you expect that the police,
on non-payment of your fine, will notify the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade. You might very well have problems next time you
pass through an Australian passport control station.

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