If you are charged with a traffic offence, for example speeding or ignoring a red light, you will usually be issued with an infringement notice. Typically, you must take action by a due date in one of the following forms:
- paying the fine in full;
- entering into a voluntary instalment plan;
- disputing the matter; or
- requesting to have the matter heard by a court.
If action on an infringement notice is not taken within the necessary time frame, the matter may be referred to the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER).
Often in the first instance, SPER will offer an extension of the due date by which your fine can be paid, and give you the option to pay in instalments. A deferral such as this often causes people to see SPER as an “easy way out” from their fines. However, if payments are not made when they should be, SPER can seek an enforcement action under the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999 (Qld). This usually involves the court issuing a “default certificate”, which makes you an “enforcement debtor.” If you don’t pay this debt, consequences could include:
- suspending your drivers licence;
- seizure and sale of your vehicle;
- registering an interest over your property (for example, all or part of your interest in specified land);
- directing your bank or another organisation that holds money on your behalf (for example, Golden Casket or insurance companies) to transfer funds from your account to them;
- direct your employer to deduct a certain amount from your wage; or
- issue a warrant for your arrest and imprisonment.
(For more information on SPER, visit their website at https://sper.qld.gov.au/index.php.)
If SPER is seeking enforcement action against you, you may be required to attend a hearing at the Magistrates Court. Given the extensive nature of SPER’s powers, it is advisable that you seek legal advice before attending your court hearing. Knowing how to explain your case to the Magistrate, or having a lawyer explain your case for you, could mean the difference between an extension of time on your SPER debt and the suspension of your license or seizure of your vehicle.
Likewise, if you wish to dispute an enforcement notice, SPER debt or a default certificate, it is imperative that you seek legal advice. This will allow you to get advice on your prospects before going to Court.
To book an appointment with one of our traffic lawyers in relations to SPER issues, contact us on (07) 3252 0011 today.