Excessive Speeding (Vic)
A driver will be charged with the offence of excessive speeding if they exceed the speed limit by more than 25km/h or drive faster than 130km/h. Guilt will depend on the facts and circumstances, with the prosecution having to prove that the person charged was driving the car and doing so over the speed limit.
Excessive speeding results in an automatic licence suspension and is classed as a criminal offence so an offender will receive a criminal record.
A conviction is recorded 28 days from the date of an Infringement Notice unless the recipient objects.
Suspension and fines
A magistrate must suspend a driver’s licence for an excessive speeding offence.
There are minimum suspension periods and fines for excessive speeding:
- 25-34km/h over limit: 3 months, 10 penalty units ($1652.20);
- 35-44km/h: 6 months, 15 penalty units ($2478.30);
- 45km/h or more: 12 month, 20 penalty units ($3304.40);
- any speed of 130km/h or more: 3 months.
The fines increase for vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.
Demerit points do not apply to excessive speeding offences.
Other possible penalties
A magistrate can also:
- impose a good behaviour order;
- impound or immobilise vehicle if offender was:
- speeding by 45km/h or more;
- driving at 145km/h or more;
- involved in a speed trial or road race.
Objecting to a charge
A person charged with excessive speeding has 28 days to object before their licence is suspended or cancelled. An objection to a charge must be in writing and state that the person wants the matter dealt with in a court and the defence(s) to be argued.
There are several defences which could be relied upon.
- Emergency: the driver may have been rushing someone who was critically ill to medical help;
- Involuntary speeding: this may be the case if the driver suffered a seizure or some other kind of medical episode;
- Not the driver: the person charged may not have been driving the vehicle at the time of the offence. The actual driver’s details will need to be presented.
- Detection error: a person charged could argue the speed detector was inaccurate, by showing the device was broken or improperly operated. Expert or strong evidence is needed because it is assumed by law that speed detectors are accurate.
It is not a defence to state the vehicle’s speedometer was broken or that the driver did not know what the speed limit was because there were no signs.
Under the Act, there are offences which involve high-speed driving that are classified as hoon driving offences. They include:
- speeding at 45km/h or more above the speed limit;
- driving at 145km/h or more in a 110km/h zone;
- taking part in or organising a speed race.
Police can impound or immobilise a vehicle for up to 30 days if they believe that vehicle has been involved in a hoon driving offence in the past 48 hours, whether the identity of the driver is known or not. After 48 hours, police can impound or immobilise a vehicle by serving a surrender notice on the vehicle’s owner. This must usually be done within 10 days but police have 42 days to serve a notice if the offence was recorded on a speed camera.
Another possible penalty for a hoon driving offence is a forfeiture order. A magistrate can make a court order that a vehicle be forfeited if a person has been found guilty of at least three hoon driving offences in the past six years.
If the vehicle owner was not the driver, the owner will need to explain to the court why impounding, immobilising or forfeiting the vehicle would cause extreme hardship. The court could then require an undertaking from the vehicle owner that the offender will not be permitted to drive the vehicle for set period of time.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.