Notices to Produce
Roads and Maritime Services and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator have broad powers to investigate alleged breaches of the law. Notices to Produce are one of the tools the two agencies use.
What is a Notice to Produce?
A Notice to Produce is a direction to the recipient to provide certain information or documents. The notice can be given in writing or verbally.
Why Have a I Received a Notice to Produce?
If you receive a Notice to Produce, it is likely that you or someone you know is being investigated for an offence. It is important that you take the Notice to Produce seriously. The information that you provide will likely be used as evidence against you. In some cases your response to the Notice to Produce can also help you should you later be charged with an offence. The documents you provide may support your defence or plea for leniency on sentencing.
Limits on Notices to Produce
Notices to Produce do not give the authorities unlimited powers. There are rules for when a notice can be issued, who it can be issued to and what information can be required. You may not be required to comply with some or all of the Notice to Produce if the authority has sought to issue it beyond its power (e.g. it issues the notice to the wrong person, or it seeks information it is not permitted to ask for).
However, you should never ignore a Notice to Produce without first seeking legal advice. Determining whether or not a Notice to Produce complies with the legislation is a complex legal task which requires an expert knowledge of the law.
Types of Information and Documents that Can Be Required
Information and documents that a Notice to Produce can require include:
- the name, address and date of birth of a driver and other people responsible for the vehicle
- work diaries
- permits and Notices
- documents relating to the use, insurance, performance, condition, ownership, licensing or registration of a heavy vehicle
- documents relating to the load or equipment carried or intended to be carried on a heavy vehicle
- documents relating to business practices
- contracts for the carriage of goods etc
- container weight declarations
- run sheets
- tollway records
- driver pay records
- mobile phone records
- fuel dockets and receipts
- bills of lading
- delivery orders
What Happens if I Don’t Comply?
It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with a Notice to Produce, even if the information incriminates you. Penalties include large fines.
What if I Don’t Have the Requested Information and Documents?
Sometimes people will not have the information or documents that have been requested. Often these are documents that the person was legally required to keep. It can be tempting to create false documents to make it appear that you have complied with the request. It is very important not to do this. Producing false documents or information in response to a Notice to Produce is an offence. It will also be held against you when the court decides the penalty for the original offence that was being investigated. If you do not have the requested documents you should speak with a lawyer. They can help you to prepare a response that puts you in the best position to avoid further penalty.
What Should I Do if I Receive a Notice to Produce?
- Read the Notice carefully. Check who it has been issued to (e.g. the company or an individual) and what information/documents are required.
- Make sure that you are aware of the time limit for producing the information. If you do not have enough time to produce (for example if the letter was delivered late), contact the authority and ask for additional time.
- When producing documents or information, make sure that you provide only what is requested and nothing more.
- Consider seeking legal advice. A lawyer can advise you whether you can avoid producing some or all of the documents and information requested. They can also advise you on what the authorities are likely to be investigating you for, and what can be done to minimise or avoid penalty.
- Keep copies of all documents and information that you have provided.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.