When you are caught drinking while driving, or even attempting to, you may receive a fine, as well as serve jail time for the offence. If you are lucky enough to be let off with just a fine, you can dispute the fine, or infringement notice, but you should hire a lawyer to do so. If you want to dispute an infringement notice, here are the procedures to follow.
Dispute on Time
Whenever you receive an infringement notice for a traffic crime, such as drink driving, you only have a limited amount of time in which to dispute it. If you choose to dispute the infringement in court, a written notice has to be sent to the agency that issued the notice within 28 days from the date on the notice. The date is usually different than the due date for the payment, so make sure you are using the correct one.
If you do not send the letter within 28 days, and you have not been granted an extension by the court, then the fine will be due and it is considered an automatic conviction. If you were not directly given the notice and it was mailed to you, then you may still be able to get an extension to dispute the charge if you didn’t know about the notice. You can then apply to the Infringement Court within 14 days of finding out about the notice to ask for more time.
When the Infringement Court receives your application, they will usually send it to the Magistrate’s Court. You will be asked to appear in court and you must convince the court that you were not aware of the notice or you didn’t receive it in time to dispute the infringement before the 28 days were over. Any of the drink driving lawyers in Melbourne can explain this process in further detail.
If you are disputing the drink-driving infringement notice, there is certain information that must be included in the written letter. You have to state in the letter that you want the matter handled in an open court. You must also tell them whether you will defend any of the charges in the infringement notice based on the facts it lists.
You and your lawyer will appear in Magistrate’s Court to defend against the charges listed on the infringement notice. Once the court hears your defence, it may dismiss the charges and any consequences that may have already been meted out, such as having your licence taken away or suspended. The court may convict you and penalise you by fining you, suspend your driver’s licence and, if warranted, have you imprisoned.
When you receive an infringement notice for drink driving, or other traffic offences, don’t just set it aside and forget about it. Contact a lawyer right away so the dispute can be sent as soon as possible to avoid an automatic conviction. Then your lawyer can help you create a defence against the charges for when you go to court.