Being at court for traffic offences is serious. As well as the possibility of losing your licence, you can get a criminal record and serious penalties, so get legal advice soon as possible.
Most traffic offences are heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
Speak to a lawyer before going to court
Going to court
- when and how to represent yourself
- what to say about the charges in court, including or .
- tips for talking to the
- how to apply to for a rehearing or .
Preparing for the hearing
Before going to court, think about what you will say to the magistrate. On this page are some of the things you should be prepared to talk about.
The circumstances of the offence
You should describe what happened and try to explain (not excuse) why the offence happened, from your point of view. For example:
- I was driving in an unfamiliar area.
- I was feeling upset – for example, something had happened to affect my concentration.
- I miscalculated the effect drinking would have on my blood alcohol content.
- I did not see any road signs.
- I had trouble seeing the road – for example, there was bad weather.
- I was not driving my own car.
Your reaction to the charge
The magistrate will be interested to know if there were any victims of the offence. You should explain your reaction to the charge. For example:
- I am genuinely sorry for the incident.
- There were no serious injuries and/or nobody was injured.
- I have taken care of/paid for all damage.
Your driving record
- I have never had to go to court before.
- I have had no previous accidents.
- I have had my licence for many years.
- After the accident, I did a defensive driving course.
Reasons for wanting to keep your licence
- I need the car to help my family – for example, doing the shopping for the family, picking up the kids.
- I live far from public transport.
- I have difficulty in using public transport – for example, doing late shifts/looking for work/have a disability.
- I drive for work purposes (you will need a letter from your employer).
- I have a sick child/elderly relative (you will need a doctor’s certificate).
Financial situation/personal details
- how much money you earn
- things you have to pay for – for example, mortgage, loans, debts
- family situation – for example, number of people who depend on you
- plans that might be jeopardised by loss of licence/heavy fine
- personal information – for example, age, job.
It is important to take documents with you to support your case. You can take:
- a character reference
- a letter from your employer about the effect of licence cancellation or suspension on your employment
- a medical certificate.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 11 April 2022