Our Services  / Heavy Vehicle

Mass Overload

We understand that compliance with the mass limit laws isn’t always straight forward when you’re working on the road. Conveying the realities of heavy vehicle work to the magistrate can make a huge difference to the outcome of your case.

Our team is uniquely placed to help you. Heavy Vehicle law is a niche area, with few lawyers focussing on it as their main area of expertise. But we do!

With over a decade working in the field, and an ex-RMS prosecutor on the team, we not only know the law back to front, we know the industry. We’ve learnt about the realities of the job from the experts – drivers like you.

We know the common mistakes that drivers and the RMS make, and importantly we can explain them in a way that magistrates understand.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your mass overload charges.

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What are the fines for a mass breach?

The penalty for a mass overload is a fine.

The maximum fine that the Court can impose is calculated based on how much you were over the limit. It can be up to $33,640 per breach.

Read more about how the penalties for mass limits are calculated.

Will I lose my licence for a mass breach?

The RMS can suspend or cancel your driver’s licence for up to 3 months for not complying with mass requirements. Thankfully they don’t usually do this.

Call us to discuss whether a licence suspension or cancellation is likely in your case.

What if I’m not guilty?

It is possible to successfully defend mass overload charges.

Sometimes the RMS miscalculates the applicable mass limit for the truck. Or they might make a mistake when weighing the vehicle (especially when using portable axle weighers).

There are also several defences contained in the legislation (e.g. ‘reasonable excuse’).

It is a good idea to seek legal advice before entering your plea of ‘not guilty.’ You could be liable for the RMS’ legal costs if you are unsuccessful.

Contact us to discuss the available defences in your case.

I didn’t know I was exceeding the mass limits - what can I do?

Even the best and most experienced drivers make mistakes. The reality of working on the road is that it’s not easy to get every load perfect.

Depending on exactly what happened, the fact that you were unaware of the breach gives two possibilities:

  • You might have a defence of ‘reasonable excuse’, or
  • It will be a powerful factor in reducing your penalty.

Call us to discuss the best option in your case.

Can I be fined for a mass overload if I wasn’t the loader or driver?

Yes, you can be charged for exceeding the mass limit even if you had no direct involvement in loading or driving the vehicle.

The law states that you must not ‘drive’ or ‘permit another person to drive’ an overloaded vehicle.

Usually the RMS chooses to prosecute the registered operator of the vehicle when they detect an overload offence.

Can I change the court location?

Yes, you can change the court location if you are pleading guilty.

Your case will start in the Local Court closest to where the offence happened. Often this is a long way from your home. If you plead guilty the magistrate will often agree to move the case to a closer court.

What if I don't want to go to court?

If you are pleading guilty you can submit a ‘written notice of pleading’.

If you do this the magistrate will decide the penalty in your absence. This can save you the time and money of attending court.

However, it usually results in a worse outcome than if you’d attended, because you are not there to plead your case, answer questions and show that you are taking the matter seriously.

If minimising the fines is important to you, then it’s best to attend court in person.

Call us for an honest assessment of whether you would be better to attend court or not.

Mass overload legislation

Part 4.2, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)

Offence: Section 96, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)

Ainsley Law

Sydney
Level 1, 299 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Parramatta
Suite 19, 103 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2150

Hours

Monday 8:30am–5:30pm
Tuesday 8:30am–5:30pm
Wednesday 8:30am–5:30pm
Thursday 8:30am–5:30pm
Friday 8:30am–5:30pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Contact us

0416 224 601

enquiries@ainsleylaw.com.au

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