If you receive a traffic infringement notice (ticket) from the police it will be accompanied in many circumstances by a written notice of pleading. This essentially allows the recipient to plead guilty in their absence from court. There will often by a short conversation from the police officer handing out the ticket that all you have to do is fill out the written notice of pleading and the matter can be sentenced in your absence.
Firstly, never take advice on how you should plead from a police officer, regardless of their perceived good intentions. In many circumstances it is possible to fight these matters in court, there are available defences that a good traffic lawyer should be able to advise you on. Secondly if the matter is to proceed to court you will want to put up the strongest possible case in mitigation. This is always best done in person where references can be tendered and an experienced traffic lawyer can present your case allowing the greatest opportunity of having the penalty reduced or dismissed. You cannot receive a section 10 dismissal with a bond without being present.
If you hand in a written notice of pleading it will almost always result in a conviction being recorded and the RMS being notified in which points will be deducted from your licence. This applies to when you pay the fine – this is considered an acknowledgement of guilty and points will be deducted. The only way to avoid points being deducted is to fight the matter with a plea of not guilty or receiving a section 10. A section 10 involves a plea of guilty with the matter being dismissed.
By submitting a written notice of pleading you are missing an opportunity to favourably persuade a Magistrate about a more favourable outcome. By handing in the notice you may lose your licence and be forced to appeal the decision in the District Court which is a far more expensive option.
Piers Blomfield – Griffith Traffic Lawyer