Half Victoria's Fine Recipients Get Let Off
HALF of all fine recipients in Victoria who challenge tickets succeed in having them dropped, figures from the state Attorney-General's office show.
About 260,000 people sought reviews of infringement notices in 2006-07 and authorities let 51 per cent off the hook.
Officials downgraded some of the tickets to a warning and withdrew tens of thousands.
But only 6 per cent of the four million Victorians fined in 2006-07 challenged them, the latest available annual report on the infringement system shows.
More than 100 agencies in Victoria are authorised to issue notices, including Victoria Police, local councils, the Environment Protection Authority, universities, hospitals and CityLink.
The most common offences are speeding, illegal parking, toll evasion, public transport fare evasion, failure to vote and failure to register pets.
A three-year trial of on-the-spot fines from July 1 added seven offences to the list, including careless driving, indecent language, offensive behaviour, shoplifting and wilful damage up to $500.
Anyone who receives an infringement notice can apply for a review on the grounds it was unlawful, involved mistaken identity or special or exceptional circumstances applied.
Examples given in an information paper by the Infringements System Oversight Unit of scenarios in which notices may be overturned include:
ELDERLY train or tram passengers who blame confusion for not having a valid ticket.
NOT able to avoid the offence because of a medical emergency or unforseeable delay.
A CHRONIC alcoholic who drove into the city intending not to drink and left his car parked illegally because he was too drunk to drive home.
A PERSON with Tourette's syndrome received a fine for offensive language at a bus stop.
A HOMELESS person sheltering on a railway platform was fined for not having a ticket.
Scott Cooper, of Speeding Fine Consultants, said it was worth challenging infringement notices.
"When you have been issued with a ticket, don't just whinge about it, do something about it," he said.