We all make mistakes. But as you know, even minor mistakes in a heavy vehicle work diary can lead to hefty fines and even court dates. However, are the authorities held to the same high standard when they issue tickets and court attendance notices for breaches of the HVNL?
The short and disappointing answer is no.
Not long ago, I assisted an owner-operator who came to me understandably frustrated because after a local police officer pulled him over and went over his truck and work diary with a fine-tooth comb, he sent my client a court attendance notice that got both his number plate and the street in which he was pulled over wrong.
It was clear that this officer had used a previous set of charges for a different operator as a template for this one and had simply neglected to change a few of the details.
Now while my client was facing court for mistakes he had made, I was saddened to have to advise him that those made by this officer could be easily corrected in court and would not be enough to get him out of the charges.
Generally, minor drafting mistakes, like misspelled names and incorrect times or registration details are not enough on their own as a basis for challenging a ticket or defending a court matter. However, occasionally a mistake will be enough to have a charge dismissed.
What Happens If They Make A Mistake?
For this to happen, the error usually needs to be so fundamental that it raises doubt about whether the offence actually happened and/or if the right person has been charged. Essentially, the mistake needs to be a big one.
I get it. Police and Transport officers are allowed to make all but big mistakes and drivers are often held accountable for minor ones. In my humble opinion, an approach that focused on learning instead of punishment in situations where road safety isn’t at risk would go a long way towards making the system fairer.
So, if you have been given a ticket or a court attendance notice that doesn’t look right, it is important to get legal advice about whether yours is one of the ones that is easily fixed or a basis to fight the charge. Acting before you know where you fit in this distinction could lead to making your situation worse instead of better.
The experienced heavy vehicle lawyers at Ainsley Law are more than happy to discuss your specific situation and what you can do next.
Please call us today at 0416 224 601 or leave an enquiry.