Knowing which defences commonly work will increase your chances of successfully contesting speed camera and parking fines.
Procedures to appeal fines vary from state to state, but all require comprehensive documentation.
The statistics show that contesting your parking fine could well be worth your while. Although just 10% of the 1.6 million parking fines issued in Victoria between July 2007 and June 2008 were contested, 45% of those cases were successful. And CHOICE found 30% of the 81,236 parking fine appeals received by the NSW Treasury’s Office of State Revenue were successful, avoiding fines of $3.2 million.
Speeding fines differ from parking infringements in that their prime purpose is to reduce accidents and injury. However, you may still have grounds for challenging them. CHOICE reveals which speeding and parking defences commonly succeed and how to go about your appeal.
Please note: this information was current as of September 2009 but is still a useful guide today.
Contesting a fine
According to the Australian Road Rules, the regulations that underpin road rules in each state and territory at least 100 parking offences could land you a ticket. Common ones include:
parking without paying a meter fee
overstaying your allotted time in a parking spot
parking in residential or disabled parking areas without valid permits
The grounds for contesting parking tickets differ with the offence. Common defences include faulty parking meters, a time-restriction signpost that was difficult to see, or blatant errors made by the council parking officer in issuing the ticket. One council told CHOICE that appeals that don’t demonstrate exceptional circumstances include “I forgot to check the sign,” “my appointment ran over time”, “it was raining”, “I was in a hurry” or “I do not live in the area”.
If you believe you have been unfairly hit with a parking fine, you have three options:
In deciding whether you should bother appealing, first weigh up the cost involved. If you choose to appear in court instead of appealing to the council first, factor in the time you’ll need to take off work.
Here is a checklist of the ways our members won their appeals.
Penalty notice Does the offence regulation code match its title? Does the make and registration number match your vehicle?
Parking signs Are they visible from you were parked or were they covered by a tree or any structures?
Road markings Are the bay markings clear and visible?
Lack of parking signs/markings Are there signs or markings that should be there for the offence you were booked for (such as a “no stopping” sign that wasn’t there when you were fined for this offence)?
Parking meters Was the parking meter faulty? Was there a number on the meter or sign nearby with a number you could call to report the faulty meter?
Parking tickets Do you have your original tickets to show you did not stay too long in the space or that you did pay to park?
Medical emergency or vehicle breakdown Do you have evidence or witnesses to verify that circumstances caused you to commit the parking offence?