How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Australia and New Zealand
Disclaimer; The information contained in this article should not be construed as or relied on as official legal advice and is only the researched opinion of the author and the author provides no guarantee as to its accuracy nor accepts responsibility for outcomes associated with its use.
Almost every driver in New Zealand or Australia will inadvertently break the speed limit at some point in their driving career. Typically it is only a few kilometers above the speed limit due to inattention or an inaccurate speed odometer. Yet according to the transport authorities such behavior is considered reckless, dangerous and likely to cause a crash. (We have all heard their mantra that speed kills).
But what is the real association between speeding and crashing? In highly populated countries such as Germany where they have an open speed limit on their motorways, if the mantra was true there would be deaths galore, yet this is not the case.
In Melbourne, where the speed tolerance is the strictest (only a few kilometers above a posted speed) they have more crashes per head of population than the other Australian states which have a greater speed limit tolerance.
An experienced New Zealand serious crash unit investigator recently published that the main cause of motor vehicle accidents in NZ in his opinion was fatigue NOT speed and that the police were incorrectly attributing speed as the cause of crash in many instances.
Despite this, the Police continually target motorists who travel even slightly over the speed limit and issue fines wherever possible even though your speedo may not be accurate enough to ensure you are not speeding. Why? Could it be that they rake in millions (or in Australia billions) of dollars in revenue every year? I mean, at the end of the day, if you were driving down a main highway and drove 10-15km over the posted speed limit and arrived at your destination, who have you affected?
If Europeans can do 180 km/h on the German motorways safely then why can’t sensible drivers do 112-120 km/h safely, particularly on our motorways when traffic conditions allow it?
The best advice I ever heard from a government agency was ‘drive to the conditions and when they change reduce your speed‘. Now that is sensible advice. On a dry day, in light traffic on a sealed highway, the conditions allow for drivers to safely exceed the speed limit without causing any issues. Yet we are punished and fined for attempting to do so.
As a paramedic I have attended many car accidents over the years, some of them very serious. I have to say that it appeared to me that few of the accidents were caused by speed. Rather, a lack of attention, failing to read the road ahead, failing to drive to the conditions or plain stupidity were by far the biggest causes.
Yet we are continually feed the propaganda that it is speed that causes accidents. I think the reality is they are trying to justify the huge income gathering system they have created by feeding us this false message.
After realizing that the system is concerned with raising revenue more than road safety I set upon trying to understand how the legislation allows them to so easily extract the money we have worked so hard to earn. What I found out shocked and astounded me.
The system mainly relies on the fact that they know all the regulations and legal system and that we are largely ignorant of our rights or how their system works. This is important because we actually have very powerful rights which, when exercised properly, can get us off their allegations.
Did you know that the Traffic Police are actually trained to try and trick us into admitting we are guilty on the side of the road when they pull us over? They will say something like, “do you know why I pulled you over” or “Was there a reason you were speeding.” If we admit we might have been going a bit fast, they record this as an admission of guilt and will use this against us in court if required. So it’s important not to admit guilt by replying that you have no idea why they pulled you over or if they asked you why you were speeding just say “was I?” or “I really don’t think I was”.
Very few people realize that according to current New Zealand and Australian legislation, any fines or forfeitures before conviction are void and illegal. That means the speeding fine you got handed or sent is illegal and void (according to their rules).
Also, the law states that you are innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proof rests entirely on them to prove that you did in fact breach one of their statutes and not on you to prove you are innocent.
However you need to act on their allegations and remind them of this if you want to take advantage of your rights. Staying silent, which most people probably do, hands all the power over to them because in the legal world silence is consent.
If you take a look at the wording on a speeding ticket you will see that it is in fact just an allegation that you did something wrong. They don’t provide any evidence or proof to back up the claim (that you were speeding) and just hope that you will pay it. They even give you 28 days to write back and deal with the fine but most people simply give in and pay the fine.
But you don’t have to!
You have rights and there is a way to lawfully challenge their allegations and make them either withdraw the charge or be found innocent and have it discharged by a judge. Best of all it does not involve paying for a lawyer! You can try by following these steps:
1. Never admit liability on the side of the road (see above) when pulled over and politely ask the officer if he is a public servant. Also ask for ID including his badge and business card (people DO masquerade as cops). Ask him what capacity he is acting in (it should be as an enforcement officer for the Land Transport Act or similar) and what assumption he is relying on to gain jurisdiction over you. Write down his answers.
2. Tell the officer you are simply exercising your inalienable right to travel the Queens highways in your vessel as a man/women of the land (don’t use the word drive or car as these are commercial terms) and ask that he records this
3. If they ask you for your license tell them you have one and feel free to produce it if you so wish but be sure to mention that you were not operating under it at that moment in time (see 2) and ask him to record this. Also mention you are not a public servant (unless you are acting in the capacity of one at that time) nor are you performing any function of government but a free man/woman and not a creation of fiction or some name on a government issued ID card.
4. Ask him for proof of his allegation that you were speeding, what law you have allegedly broken and how does that law apply to you if you are not a public servant? If he shows you a radar reading, ask him how do you know it relates to your vessel (it doesn’t record number plates and could have been there all day). Ask him who the injured party was?
5. Ask him if you are under arrest or not. If not you are legally allowed to drive off as the Police have no general powers to detain you for questioning (this has been determined by the courts). You can ask the officer if you are legally required to remain on the side of the road while he writes a ticket. The answer is no so you can legally leave.
6. If the officer writes you a ticket (and they will!) then decline the offer to take it from him. You can simply ask if you are legally required to take the ticket. The answer is no! They will likely post it to you.
7. As soon as you get the ticket in the mail (or if you did accept the ticket) write to the authority and tell them that you have received an allegation from them addressed to you so you wish to clarify some things:
a) Ask them for proof of their allegation via a sworn affidavit of their allegation (claim) against you. (remember they are only ever alleging you did something wrong and you simply want proof of it).
b) Ask for a certified copy of the complaint from the injured party
c) Ask for a certified copy of the training record showing the officer had the necessary training to use whatever speed detection device was being used to make up the allegation (if the officer has not been trained they will drop the charge)
d) State a claim that you were using your inalienable right to travel the Queens highways uninterrupted as a man/woman of the land and not acting as an agent of the government or carrying out any function of the crown nor acting under your government issued license at the time of the alleged infringement and that you told the enforcement officer this at the time
e) ask them for proof on how any statute they allege you have breached applies to you in the first place given that it was made by the crown which is a corporation and you are not a member of that corporation (public servant)
f) Tell them that if they believe you were acting under your drivers license or acting as an agent of the crown or performing some function of government that they need to provide written proof of this to you
8. Ask them how they are able to send you a fine when the Bill of Rights Act (in NZ) or Imperial Act Application Act (in Aus) clearly states that all fines or forfeitures before conviction are illegal and Void?
9. Ask them if this is a commercial transaction and offer to contract and if it is that you do not wish to enter into contract with them.
10. Give them 14 days to respond to your demands. They wont be able to answer most of them. They will send some rubbish instead. Write again asking for the information and give them another 10 days. When they don’t answer then send another letter titled notice of default and explain that as they have not provided the information you requested that they accept your claim that you were not acting under your drivers license at the time of the alleged infringement and that they did not therefore have jurisdiction over you at the time (silence is consent)and that the allegation is illegal and void.
11. If they still insist on trying to enforce this allegation against you then elect to have the issue heard by a court. Write to the court and file the correspondence you have sent to the Police and ask that this matter be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.
12. If you have no luck with any of this and wish to appear in court then file the correspondence into the court before your appearance and tell the judge you are here on this matter and already have agreement between the parties that you were not ‘driving under your license’ and that you would like the case dismissed due to lack of subject matter (they also have not provided a complaint from the injured party) and if the judge dismisses the case ask to be awarded expenses.
If you want to try a different method which has been very successful or read more about how to do this then follow the advice given here.
You do have rights and it is up to them to prove their claim beyond reasonable doubt and not you to show you were innocent. The worst that can happen is you still end up paying the fine (and possibly some court costs) so give it a go and stand up for your rights.
Please note: If you have caused damage as a result of an accident due to speeding then this method will not help you!