Ask LH: Can I Get Out Of My Suspended Rego Fine?

Ask LH: Can I Get Out Of My Suspended Rego Fine?
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Dear Lifehacker, I received a fine for driving while my vehicle’s rego was suspended, of which I had no idea. I moved houses and the letter was returned to sender (because my old housemate is a tool). This happened a day or two after my address changed. Should I have to pay this fine? I think I’m in the right here as I didn’t knowingly break any rules. If I’d known my rego was suspended I wouldn’t have been driving. Yours, Rego Warrior

Dear RW,

I’m curious as to why your vehicle’s registration was suspended in the first place? Generally, a suspension or defect notice is only sent out if your vehicle is found to be unroadworthy or breaks registration standards in some way. In other words, it sounds like you were driving around in a vehicle that the law considers to be unsafe.

Even in the unlikely even that you were oblivious to the problem, the onus is still on you to get things fixed. For example, failing to notice that your brake lights are broken is not an acceptable excuse if you get caught. Likewise, claiming that you never received a suspension notice in the post is unlikely to fly in court; especially if your car has an obvious defect.

As we’ve noted in the past, there are worse things that can happen when driving around in an unregistered vehicle. Imagine if you were involved in an accident — your compulsory third party insurance would have been invalid, which means you’d be personally liable for any injuries caused. In the grand scheme of things, a fine isn’t too terrible a price to pay.

In future, we advise intermittently checking your car’s registration status if it’s an old and/or problematic model. You can do this either by ringing up your state’s transport authority or via the below websites:


Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


  • If you just forgot to pay it, then the registration would just be lapsed, not suspended.

    Short (and sort of snarky) answer: If you are not enough of an adult to know when your registration expires then you are not enough of an adult to be trusted behind the wheel of a car.

    Your car, your registration, your responsibility, your problem.

    • what codswallop, its easy to forget when it expires, especially now they don’t even give you a sticker to put on the car anymore.

      • But with technology you don’t have to remember, I put a note in my google calendar for a reminder for everything like that, rego, insurance, license, passport, etc. saved me when my license renewal came due this year as the renewal letter had not been sent. I went in and sorted it out before it expired. Technology remembers this stuff so I don’t have to. 🙂

      • Then its your fault you are incapable of the simple task of remembering something. They give you plenty of time to pay, if you still forget, its because you are an idiot

        • Wow, settle down tiger no need to get so wound up, people forget things, people have other things happening In their lives that distracts them.

  • I had a similar problem when my rego renewal notice did not arrive due to an issue with auspost ( and sorry yes I forgot ) got pulled over within a week of it expiring got given the $480 fine wrote a letter the officer in charge ( Google for correct address etc) explained my situation added a bit of yadda yadda yadda for sympathy and got it changed to a warning, obviously you must have a pretty decent driving record.

    • The OP said his rego was suspended, not expired. So it’s more complicated than just not renewing on time.

  • Suspended rego can come from unpaid fines, from as little as a parking ticket to physical assult.
    They slowly take away all government provided things (Rego, licence).

    So had the OP parked 40cm over a No stopping sign, tickets blown off the window, moved address and not got the reminder in the mail or the following reminders then the scenario is plausible.

  • These types of post are rather tedious and repetitive. The advice, correctly, always seems to boil down to “suck it up and move one”.

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