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Fines and penalties for interstate drivers

Information about what happens if an interstate driver gets a traffic infringement notice or is charged with an offence by police.

Interstate drivers who commit an offence in Victoria may either be:

  • issued with a traffic infringement notice and have to pay a fine
  • charged with an offence by police and have to attend court in Victoria.

Issued with an infringement notice

Correspondence (such as a courtesy letter or infringement notice) that relates to parking fines and camera offences (such as speeding, bus lane, CityLink or red light offences) will be sent to the address of the owner of the registered vehicle, even if the vehicle was registered interstate.

Director of Fines Victoria ('the director') will get the address of the vehicle owner from VicRoads through the national database. The owner will be held responsible for the fine unless they nominate another person who was driving the vehicle at the time. This must be done within 28 days of being served with a courtesy letter.

If person did not know about the fine

If driver or owner of the interstate vehicle did not receive the infringement notice or courtesy letter they should contact Director of Fines Victoria. The process for nominating another driver is the same as for fines issued to Victorian drivers. The matter may need to be explained in open court.

It is the responsibility of a driver or vehicle owner to notify the licensing authority in their state if they change their address. For, example Victorian drivers have 14 days to notify VicRoads of a change of address. This may be different in other states and territories.

Drivers who are licensed in another jurisdiction will have to notify that Roads Authority when they change their address. This will depend on the laws of the particular state or territory where they live.

See Fines—Nominating another driver.

Caught by the police

If the driving offence is one that involves the police issuing an infringement notice or driver being charged with an offence, the driver of the vehicle will be held responsible.

If the fine is not paid on time

If a fine is not paid by an interstate licensee, the director may write to the enforcement officer of the state where the driver is licensed, asking that the fine be registered in that state. They can make a single request for multiple fines. The request must be in writing and must include details such as the amount of the fine that remains unpaid. Once a request is made the interstate officer must register the fine in that state. The state where the fine is registered will enforce the fine and pass the amount on to the director.

Once a fine is registered it will be enforced in the same way that a fine would be enforced if it had been incurred in the state where the person is licenced. These fines cannot be enforced by imposing a term of imprisonment.

See s. 112—Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Payment in Victoria

The Victorian enforcement agency must notify the enforcement officer if a registered fine has been paid (or partly paid) in Victoria.

See s. 117—Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Going to court

If an interstate driver would like to have the matter dealt with in open court they will need to either:

  • travel to Melbourne and attend court
  • engage a lawyer who is familiar with Victorian law to act on their behalf.

A driver who is unable to travel or get a lawyer to act on their behalf could write their version of events in a formal document (such as an affidavit) and send it to court for the magistrate to consider. However, the magistrate is under no legal obligation to read the document—it is a matter entirely up to their discretion.

It may help to contact the court where the matter is to be heard and explain the situation to the registrar.

See Fines—Electing to challenge fine in court.

Time limits

No further action can be taken against registered owner if more than 12 months has passed since date of offence and:

  • the matter has not been registered with the director
  • a summons to appear in court has not been issued against registered owner of vehicle.

Similarly if the registered owner nominates a driver, the agency must initiate proceedings against the nominated driver within 12 months of owner's nomination.

The driver should always check the date the charge was filed.

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 18(1)(b)—person will not be charged with driving without a licence if they have a valid non-Victorian licence
  • s. 28—power of court to cancel, suspend or vary licences and permits
  • s. 66 (3A)—12 months limit on proceeding
  • s. 89B—extension of time to object if no actual notice
  • s. 92(h)(ha)—allows VicRoads to supply information of Victorian driver or registered vehicle for purpose of exchange of information under NEVDIS agreement or for purpose of prosecution under interstate or commonwealth law

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

  • r. 12—a person is exempted from the need to have a Victorian driver licence or permit if they drive in Victoria and have been issued with a licence or permit in a jurisdiction where they ordinarily live
  • r. 13—exceptions to authorisation

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Vehicles) Interim Regulations 2020 (Vic)

  • r 51—registered operator of a vehicle must notify the Department of Transport (VicRoads) within 14 days if they change address or if the vehicle is routinely garaged at a different address and imposes a penalty of 3 penalty units

See Road Safety (Vehicles) Interim Regulations 2020 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Service and Execution of Processes Act 1992 (Cth)

  • s. 15—initiating process may be served in any part of Australia
  • Pt. 7—enforcement of fines imposed in another state

See Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth)(opens in a new window).

Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 (Vic)

  • s. 26(4)—proceeding for a summary offence must be commenced not later than 12 months after the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed

See Magistrates' Court Act 1989 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated