If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a traffic offence, the magistrate will decide which penalties to give you.
You may get a number of different penalties. The types of penalties you can be given depend on the offence.
For many traffic offences, VicRoads also imposes demerit points.
When making a decision about what penalties to give, the magistrate looks at:
- how serious your offence is
- if you have been found guilty of similar offences before
- what else is happening in your life.
The possible outcomes when you're found guilty of a traffic offence are.
What happens in court goes into your criminal record. This includes:
- the finding of guilt
- a conviction, if there is one
The court and the police can see your criminal record. Sometimes they can let other people know what is in your criminal record. For example, a criminal record, especially with convictions, may make it harder for you to get some jobs or get visas to some countries.
You may also get a criminal driving record from VicRoads for traffic offences:
You will get one or more demerit points for some driving offences. The points are recorded against your drivers licence or permit.
VicRoads looks after the demerit points system, not the courts or the police. The magistrate cannot change the number of demerit points you receive.
Most traffic offences are punishable by fine. The amount you may be fined depends on the offence.
Let the magistrate know if you might have trouble paying the fine. There are options. You can ask the magistrate to:
- make a plan for you to pay bit by bit
- give you community work instead of the fine.
If you don’t pay the fine at court on the day of your hearing, the court will register your fine with Fines Victoria. Fines Victoria will collect and enforce payment of your fine. If you do not pay, Fines Victoria can issue a warrant for your arrest.
For more information read Fines and infringements.
Losing your drivers licence
Your licence may be suspended for a period of time or, for more serious offences, disqualified.
You must not drive at all during this time. There are no exceptions. For example, you cannot drive to work or to pick up your children. There are no special licences that allow you to drive some of the time. There are very serious penalties for driving when you are not supposed to.
If you lose your licence for drink driving you need to go to VicRoads or go to court to get your licence back.
You will need to have an alcohol device fitted to your vehicle before you are allowed to drive again.
For some offences, the magistrate may place you on an undertaking to behave well for a certain amount of time. An undertaking is a promise to the court to do or not to do certain things.
For some offences you may be eligible for a diversion program. Diversion is a way to deal with your criminal matter out of the court system and to give you a chance to avoid a criminal record.
Community corrections order
A community corrections orders is a penalty the magistrate can give you if you have been found guilty of committing a serious offence. Instead of going to jail, you serve out your penalty in the community.
You will usually do unpaid community work, as well as being supervised by a corrections worker, undergoing treatment or rehabilitation, or having bans on where you can go and how long you can stay out.
For some offences, the magistrate can choose to send you to jail instead of giving you a fine or a corrections order. Some serious offences may also be punishable by jail, as are some repeat offences.
Impoundment, immobilisation or forfeiture of vehicle
Police may impound or immobilise your vehicle if you are suspected or convicted of hoon driving or driving over the speed limit. The magistrate can make a court order that your vehicle be forfeited and sold if you are found guilty or convicted of repeated hoon driving.
If your driving caused an accident, the magistrate can make you pay for any damage you caused to someone’s property.
Appealing the magistrate’s decision
If you do not agree with the decision you can appeal to the County Court. You have 28 days to do this. Get legal advice before you decide. You could get a higher penalty.
Find out how you can get other support for traffic offences.
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.
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Reviewed 11 April 2022