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Updating Your Address

Updating your address with all of the relevant businesses and government departments is one of the more tedious parts of moving houses.

However, it is important not to underestimate the importance of notifying the government of your change of address promptly. Failing to do so can lead to significant legal problems.

I recently helped a truck driver who learnt this lesson the hard way. He forgot to tell the Department of Transport that he had moved houses. As a result, a minor speeding fine was sent to his old address. Things quickly snowballed. Because he didn’t pay the fine on time his drivers licence was suspended. He was caught driving during the suspension and had to attend Court, facing a licence disqualification. Ultimately the issue was resolved, but it took a great deal of time and anxiety on the driver’s part. Not everyone is so lucky.

It isn’t only penalty notice fines that can be enforced without the person knowing. Courts can also finalise cases without the defendant being aware of its existence. The summons to attend Court for traffic and heavy vehicle offences is usually posted to the address that the person has nominated to their local roads authority. Obviously if that address is incorrect the person does not know to attend Court. They may be found guilty and a penalty imposed without having the opportunity to present their side of the story.

Further, in many States and Territories it is a legal requirement to notify the relevant roads authority of any change of address within a certain time period. Failing to do so can lead to the person being charged with an offence.

As you can see, it is important to keep your details up to date with the authorities. However, doing this isn’t always as straight forward as you would expect.

Following these simple tips will help to ensure you don’t stumble into any pitfalls.

  • Make a list of each government agency that you have provided your address to. Most truck drivers will have records with their local roads authority, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Australian Business Register, the ATO and ASIC. Notifying each body ensures that important correspondence is not lost.
  • Don’t assume that different government agencies will communicate with each other, or even that different departments within the same agency will. I have seen cases where a person has updated the address on their drivers licence, but the roads authority left their old address on their vehicle registration. Always double check that the details for each account you have with an authority has been updated.
  • If you are stopped by the Police do not assume that they will copy the correct address from your drivers licence. I have seen cases where police rely on old records or even get the address completely wrong. Always double check that they have noted down the correct contact details.

If you do discover that a fine or Court case has been finalised without you knowing, it is wise to contact a lawyer. There can be ways to have the proceedings reversed if you catch it in time.

Image Credit – Ailaksei Verasovich ©

Written by Sarah Marinovic on January 8, 2018

Sarah has a strong drive to use her legal knowledge to help people in times of difficulty. Her goal is to not only achieve the best legal result, but to also ensure that her clients understand each step, and what is required from them to achieve the best results. With her friendly manner she strives to ensure that he client's mind is at ease throughout the process. View Sarah's profile

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