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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Criminal Offence Topics (A to Z) Speeding Offences Speeding and Traffic Offences in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Speeding and Traffic Offences in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Not all traffic offences receive the same punishments. Following the Act, some Traffic offences are handled in a District/Local court as serious indictable offences. Various actions can constitute a Traffic offence in the ACT.

    The Crimes Act 1900 and the Road (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 contains all details, behaviours and punishments for Traffic offences in the ACT.

    Traffic offences that end up in the ACT Magistrates court will in the majority of circumstances show up on an individual's national police check ACT result if the court rules against your favour. Traffic offences are disclosed in accordance with the rules of the Spent Convictions Scheme in the ACT.

    Speeding offences in ACT

    One of the most common traffic offences in Australia is driving over the approved speed for a road length. To what degree this offence is committed (speeding above the limits) determines the penalties the offender gets.

    The Road (Safety and Traffic Management) Act in the ACT stipulates penalties for the various speeding offences.

    The penalties are divided into speeding offences committed in a School Zone;

    Driving in a school zone will incur higher penalties than a normal speeding offence. For certain conditions, the offence can be treated as an aggravated offence.

    ACT Speeding Penalties for Non School Zones:

    1. Exceed speed limit by within 15km/h above the speed limit

    Speeding offences of this range attracts penalties of;

    • $297 in fines, and
    • Demerit Point.

    1. Exceed speed limit by between (15 and30) km/h above the speed limit

    The Traffic Act stipulates penalties of;

    • $438 in fines, and
    • 3 Demerit Points.

    1. Exceed speed limit by (30 and 45) km/h above the speed limit

    This range of speeding offence incurs a penalty of;

    • $700 in fines, and
    • 4 Demerit Points.

    1. Exceed speed limit by 45km/h above the speed limit

    Offending drivers of this high range offence will get punishments of;

    • $1,841 in fines, and
    • 6 Demerit Points.

    ACT speeding penalties for School Zones

    1. Exceed speed limit by within 15km/h

    These are the lowest speeding offences within a school zone. Such driving offence incurs penalties of;

    • $321 in fines
    • 1 demerit point.

    1. Exceed speed limit by between (15 and 30) km/h

    The Road and Traffic Acts stipulates penalties of;

    • $477 in fines, and
    • 3 Demerit Points

    1. Exceed speed limit by between (30 and 45) km/h

    The Traffic Act imposes penalties of

    • $799 in fines, and
    • 4 Demerit Points

    1. Exceed speed limit by above 45km/h

    This is the highest and infinite speeding offence a driver will commit. The court imposes penalties of;

    • $2,136 in fines, and
    • 6 Demerit Points.

    Culpable Driving of Motor Vehicle

    A severe traffic offence contained in Section 29 of the Crimes Act 1900 is culpable driving causing bodily harm or grievous injury.

    Under the Act, a driver is culpable if they are caught;

    • Negligent driving; Failing to take proper care in driving the car without justification.
    • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; Where the traffic official concludes that the driver is affected by the substance and could not properly control the car.

    Culpability for a driving offence must be specified on the charge or the offence committed. This offence is distinct from homicide offences and can even be prosecuted as murder or manslaughter offences. The offences can be aggravated following Section 48 of the Act if the death involved was a pregnant woman.

    Dangerous Driving

    Section 7 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 (ACT) prohibits furious, reckless and dangerous driving and prescribes severe penalties.

    The penalties imposed depends on them;

    • Offence the driver was charged; the main criminal offence or traffic offence;
    • Whether there were aggravating circumstances

    Some examples of reckless or dangerous driving are;

    • The driver ignored a police order to stop.
    • The driver had alcohol or drugs in their system over the legal limit.
    • The driver had alcohol or drugs in their system which were not over the legal limit (or were legally prescribed) but meant the driver did not have proper control over the vehicle.
    • The driver exceeded the speed limit by 30% or more.
    • The driver put at risk vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and other riders.
    • The driver had a child less than 17 years old as a passenger.

    Repeat offenders (and those with previous offences of culpable driving or dangerous driving) are automatically included in the aggravated category and offences like this will show up on a national police check certificate.

    Negligent driving which is not culpable

    Some negligent offences will not be included in the culpable driving offences under the Crimes Act. However, these offences will not attract the same penalties as for culpable; they are less severe and considered as alternatives where the court feels conviction under the Crimes Act will be harsh.

    Negligent driving can operate as a standalone offence, without the occurrence of death or grievous bodily harm.

    Penalties for culpable driving (Crimes Act)

    Penalties under Section 29 of the Crimes Act 1900 the court will order penalties depending on the severity or class of the culpable driving.

    • For culpable driving causing death, the court can issue penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment (16 years if it is aggravated).
    • For offences causing grievous bodily harm, the penalty can be up to 10 years imprisonment (12 years for aggravated offences).

    Penalties for culpable driving (Road Transport Act)

    Penalties for negligent driving under the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 are much lower even for those that cause death.

    Where negligent driving caused death, the court can impose penalties up to;

    • 200 penalty units (fines),
    • 2 years imprisonment term or both

    Where negligent driving caused grievous bodily harm, the court can impose penalties of up to;

    • 100 penalty units (fines), or
    • 1 year imprisonment term
    • Or both

    All other cases of negligent driving attract penalties no not more than 20 penalty units

    Automatic License Disqualification

    The ACT legislation allows the court to issue an immediate license disqualification, especially in cases of;

    • Culpable driving
    • Furious driving
    • Reckless driving
    • Dangerous Driving
    • Driving under the influence
    • Excessive speeding (far over 45km/h above speed limits)
    • Repeat offences for any of the above

    Traffic Summons in the ACT

    If you receive a summons for a traffic offence, you must appear at the ACT Magistrate Court. Disobeying a court summons leads to an arrest warrant from the court.

    In court, you will receive a statement of facts stating the offence and be required to submit a plea.

    How do you answer a traffic charge?

    If you enter a guilty plea you may be sentenced immediately, and your matter finalized. Also, you can settle all fines right there at the court offices.

    However, if you plead not guilty, the matter will be scheduled for a case conference then a public hearing.

    Sources

    Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1999-80/

    Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1900-40

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