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Back before the wondrous invention of speed cameras - or “road-safety cameras”, sorry - a speeding fine would generally be in your hands within minutes of a police officer pulling you over for the offence, but today they are often sent out by mail, which is, to put it mildly, an inexact science.
Ideally, your speeding fine, after you’ve been detected by a camera for example, should arrive within 14 days, but there are plenty of anecdotal tales out there of people waiting for months.
This can be particularly problematic because, generally speaking, you only have 21 days from the date a speeding fine is issued to pay said fine, or face extra financial penalties, and if some of that time is lost while you’re waiting for the fine to arrive - and in the case of hidden speed cameras, you may not even know it’s coming - it’s going to cause some issues.
How long do speeding fines take to arrive? The interesting thing about this question is that some state authorities, like NSW, don’t really have an answer for it via their official sites. What that means is they’re not officially pledging to get your fine to your address in any particular time period, and with the general speed of Australia Post slowing down, it might be difficult for them to do so.
What is clear is that if your fine takes a while to arrive, and you want to ask for extra time to pay it as a result, you’re going to have to jump through some hoops. And if you don’t jump through them quickly enough, you might well be stuck with late fees, or “enforcement costs”.
Helpfully, VicRoads does mention on its site that traffic infringement notices can be “mailed to you (normally within two weeks)” or “handed to you”.
So let’s take a look at things state by state, to find out how long, on average, they take to arrive, whether you can find out before the fine arrives where you have one, and how you can check how many demerit points you have.
How long does it take for a fine to come in Victoria? As mentioned it should “normally” arrive within two weeks, but that’s obviously not a promise, and it may take longer. The system in Victoria for fining people is, of course, ferociously efficient.
If you wish to check for outstanding fines you can check here as long as you have a notice, and if you are unsure about the details of any outstanding fines you can contact Fines Victoria.
How long before a speeding fine arrives in NSW? There seems to be no official word on this, but within two weeks seems to be a fair estimate, although people do wait longer.
If you have a query in NSW, you can contact NSW Revenue here.
You can also request a review of your fine if you think there’s been a mistake.
How long does it take to get a speeding fine in South Australia? Our friends down there tell us your fine in the mail can be very fast - like less than a week - or very slow, try more than a month.
If you have any concerns about paying a fine on time you can contact the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit on 1800 659 538 and you should do so as soon as possible.
Interestingly, in Queensland there have been cases of people being sent fake-infringement notices, which seems a particularly cruel scam.
“Fake infringement notice emails are sometimes sent by scammers. If you have any doubts about whether an emailed infringement notices is real, do not open it, click any links in it or open any attachments," according to the Queensland government's department of transport and main roads.
“If you are unsure whether a fine is real, contact the agency that issued it, and delete the email once you have confirmed it's fake. If you have access to My TMR Account, you can also log in to see any legitimate fines.”
You should receive a real fine within 21 days, but “if it takes longer than 21 days for your fine to be entered into our system you may need to pay the fine another way, either in person or by post.”
Discussions online suggest that how long it takes for a speeding fine to arrive in WA is a variable affair. Some people complain of having waited weeks, and point out that this means people who have been caught by one of the state’s sneaky, hidden cameras, can continue to drive around, speeding, and wracking up more demerit points, for some time without knowing what hit them.
All the information about traffic infringements in WA is available here, but there’s no mention of how quickly, or otherwise, a fine will arrive. There is, of course, a warning that if you don’t pay within 28 days of the issue date of the notice, you will received a Final Demand Notice, “with added costs”.
The police in Tasmania proudly proclaim that they issue 90,000 infringement notices a year, using an app called the Police Infringement Notice System (PINS), which issues fines electronically via tablet computers.
“PINS processes the infringement electronically and it is sent to the recipient by post,” according to the Tasmanian Police.
So that’s how you’ll be receiving your speeding ticket letter from the highway patrol in Tasmania.
Their modern system also allows them to advise us exactly how long it will take for a speeding fine to arrive, “Allow four days to receive the infringement notice in the mail”, which seems very efficient indeed. Tasmania is really ahead of the game here.
It’s not quite such a good story with checking your demerit points, however, because you have to get a bit old school to do so in Tasmania.
Drivers in Tasmania can check their demerit points by contacting Service Tasmania on 1300 13 55 13 or if interstate or overseas 03 6169 9017.