Ask LH: Should I Contest My Unfair Traffic Fine In Court?

Hi Lifehacker, I have recently been issued a $113 fine for driving in a bus lane in a non-exempt vehicle, to access a driveway on the left hand side of the road. I have written to the issuing Police station to contest this fine but I have been denied. When asked what the officer had written in his brief, I was advised that he had taken leave and the traffic department as well as one of the officers at the station had reviewed my request. Queensland law states that a non-exempt vehicle is authorised to use the bus lane for up to 100m to access a side street or driveway.

I am unsure as to whether I should take this to court, as it is only $113 and I don’t want to end up paying more money in court fees if I lose. What is your advice? Thanks, Lane Pain

Bus lane picture from Shutterstock

Dear LP,

If your driving record is otherwise clean, I’d contest it in court on general principle. You didn't actually break any laws, so it's not even a case of asking for leniency. By rights, the fine should be quashed.

To arrange to have the matter heard in a Queensland Magistrates Court, you can either write a letter to the State Penalties Enforcement and Registry (including your full name, date of birth, current address and phone number) or fill out the details on the back of your fine and send it to the stated address. Note that you only have 28 days from the date of the infringement notice to take action.

When your request is received, a date to appear in court will be mailed to the address on the infringement notice. You'll probably need to keep the whole day free, as it’s not uncommon to be stuck in court for hours while other cases are being heard.

Naturally, you should come prepared with as much supporting evidence as possible. Did the driveway you pulled into belong to a friend you were visiting? If so, get them to accompany you with proof of their residential address. You should also bring a printout of the relevant road rule (Sections 153 to 158).

The fact that the officer who issued the infringement wasn't even consulted when you requested a review should definitely work in your favour. With that said, nothing is ever guaranteed in life. If you get an arsehole judge, you could get slugged with a $110 offender levy and court costs in addition to the original penalty.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    I'm starting to get sick of licencing/traffic violation questions here.

      To be fair, most of them in the past, the person asking the question was clearly in the wrong.

      In this case, it looks like the other way around. This person is in the right and looks to have been unfairly penalised.

    Print out Google Maps or Satellite pics, trace your path in red (provide scale etc) showing you are clearly correct.

    Remain calm, even if the officer is lying. Speak as if you were him "I was travelling north along Nice St at 4:58 to visit so and so. As I turned off the street, I travelled 65m in the bus lane as I was approaching his driveway etc etc." Be calm and clinical in your explanation. You want logic on your side. Getting worked up will work against you.

    Now did they send you a bill or just a notice?

    i'm surprised this type of fine was actually issued!

    so many drivers EVERYDAY on my commute home on bus lanes, no indicators when turning, not keeping left unless overtaking, etc!

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