Contesting a Fine

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Contesting fine

There are 2 avenues for contesting the traffic fines in NSW:

1) State Debt Recovery internal review; or

2) Court’s review – resulting in a final decision.

The applicant has to keep in mind that once the Court’s review is chosen, the matter cannot be reviewed by State Debt Recovery any longer.

How do I inform State Debt Recovery that I want to take the matter to court?

There are 3 ways to do this:

(1) fill in the online form and send it by post to State Debt Recovery office
(2) fill in the online request; or
(3) write a letter to the State Debt Recovery office, expressing your election to go to court, including information such as:

  • the penalty notice number
  • your full name and contact details (address / phone number)
  • your date of birth


What outcome can I expect from the SDRO’s review?

There are three outcomes from the review:

(1) The penalty stands – when it is being confirmed that you are guilty of the offence and the circumstances don’t warrant leniency.

(2) A caution: when the offence is proved but the circumstances warrant leniency. In such circumstances you are illegible for a refund and the demerit points don’t apply.

(3) A cancellation: when the circumstances show the the fine was issued in error and it ought to be cancelled.


If you decide to have your matter decided by the Court, you need to be:

a) the person named on the notice (fine),

b) the owner of the vehicle if there was no name on the notice; or

c) an authorised representative of the person named on the notice.

The Court can make three different findings about your case:

1) Guilty – means that your penalty stands. (Please note that the Court can impose additional costs).

2) Guilty – but the court decides not to proceed to a conviction under Section 10, which means that the fine and demerit points will be waved but the court will still impose additional legal costs.

3) Not Guilty – which means that no penalty, demerit points or additional costs apply.

In NSW the fines that can be contested are those arising from speeding offences and traffic violations. These include speeding,red light offences, mobile phone use while driving, as well as seat belt, L and P-plate, and bus lane offences.