If you pay the fine you will be issued with a demerit point suspension.
You have two options to either avoid the suspension period or reduce it:
OPTION 1: Elect To Take The Ticket To Court. Instead of paying the fine you can elect to take it to court. You submit the ‘court election’ through the Revenue NSW website (instructions are on the penalty notice).
Once your case is at court you will have the option to either plead ‘not guilty’ (i.e. I did not commit the offence) or ‘guilty’ and seek leniency.
If you are found not guilty then the points will not be applied to your record.
If you are found or plead guilty, the magistrate will then decide the sentence to impose. One option is a ‘non-conviction’ (which you might also hear called a ‘section 10’ or ‘conditional release order without conviction’). This is where they find you guilty but a conviction is not recorded.
If you receive a ‘non-conviction’ then the points won’t be applied to your record.
There are some important factors to consider:
- There is no guarantee that you will be found ‘not-guilty’ or receive a ‘non-conviction’.
- They are “all or nothing” outcomes. Either you get the points and a fine or you do not. It is not possible for the Court to:
- reduce the number of demerit points for an offence
- give you a fine but no points
- reduce a demerit point suspension period on a court election.
- If you are convicted, and this is a more common outcome, than a non-conviction, it can make your situation worse:
- The matter can appear on criminal record checks
- The Court could increase your fine
- The demerit points will be put on your record and, if they put you over your limit, Transport for NSW will send you a notice of suspension
- The magistrate can impose an additional licence disqualification period (although this is very rare)
- There will be court costs of approximately $180 (as at July 2023)
OPTION 2: File A Licence Appeal. The other option is to pay the fine and then appeal directly against the suspension.
Once you either pay the ticket or are convicted in court, you will receive a notice of suspension. You can appeal the decision to suspend your licence for going over your demerit point limit to the Local Court.
This magistrate can make one of 3 decisions:
- Allow your appeal – you serve no suspension
- Vary your suspension – the magistrate can reduce the length of your suspension
- Dismiss your appeal – you serve the full suspension
It is almost always worth making a licence appeal. We are usually able to either remove or reduce the suspension period.
Click HERE for more information about licence appeals.