Are you a regular public transport user? If so, you might be familiar with the rules that come along with using public transport. You may have even been issued an infringement notice!
PTV no longer issue on-the-spot Myki fines and if you are now caught without a valid ticket by an Authorised Officer, they may report you directly to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. You may also be mailed a;
- court summons or
- no further action may be taken.
If you’ve fallen foul of the ticketing system and you believe your actions were compliant, there are a number of things you can do to dispute the claim.
On the Scene
If you’re involved in an incident that you believe could result in a fine or warning, it’s essential that you secure as much evidence as possible immediately after the event. Take note of what happened, in particular;
- the identification numbers of any ticket machines you used or were faulty
- The contact details of any witnesses – this is essential if you believe you touched on
- Take note of the Authorised Officer’s details and conduct
- Make a diary note of the event and
- Photographs of any further evidence.
It’s imperative that you conduct yourself safely and appropriately. Ticket inspectors or Authorised Officers are also required to follow a Code of Conduct:
Authorised Officers can;
- Ask to see your ticket or Myki card
- Ask to see your concession card.
If you’re found without a valid ticket or card, they can also;
- Ask for proof of identity or ask you to contact someone who can confirm your identity
- Report your behaviour
- Arrest you and use reasonable force to do so
- Remove you from the transport
- Seize any items from you that are illegal such as drugs, alcohol or aerosols
- Confiscate evidence such as your Myki.
They are not allowed to;
- Search you
- Seize items that are legal on public transport
- Take your phone or force you to delete anything from it
- Be abusive – including any racial or discriminatory behaviour
- Use unnecessary force.
If you believe that an Officer may have contravened their code, it’s important that you document this and collect evidence if you can. This will be used to lodge a complaint with the Secretary of the Department of Transport (who is responsible for giving AOs their authority) and to the relevant transport operator (whose services they are assigned to).
If you are stopped by an Authorised Officer, you can;
- Ask for their name and badge
- Take their picture or video record them
- Complain about their behaviour to the transport operator
- Complain to the Public Transport Ombudsman.
Fighting a Fine
If you do receive a fine or infringement notice and feel that it was issued in error, don’t panic. Fines are issued regularly without consideration for personal circumstances, faulty equipment and human error. There are a number of steps to appeal your fine, but the key is to be quick and get a review before the due date.
1. Send application
Send your application to the Department of Transport. By using the details and evidence that you collected, you must write to the address you are provided, detailing exactly what happened. Make it count though – you can only apply for one review so it’s crucial that you get every detail correct.
2. Department of Transport reviews appeal
The Department may decide to:
- Cancel the fine
- Issue a warning instead of a fine
- Reject your application.
You will most likely get a reply from the Department of Transport denying your request, which is when you will need to take the complaint further if you wish to dispute the notice.
3. Take further action
If your application for review is rejected, you can choose to:
- Pay the fine by the new due date
- Ask for an extension of time to pay
- Challenge the decision in the Magistrates’ Court.
Challenging a decision in the Magistrates’ Court is not a straightforward process and needs thorough planning. You should go to court if you feel your review was not properly considered and that there is a good reason that you should not have been issued the infringement notice.
If you decide to go to court, it’s vital that you seek professional advice from an experienced criminal lawyer that’s able to represent you properly.
Where an agreement can’t be reached outside of court, our legal professionals can ensure the matter is appropriately presented in court to achieve the best possible outcome and strive to ensure that the minimum applicable penalty is imposed.
In the unfortunate event that matters proceed to contest, our criminal lawyers will present the case diligently and meticulously to maximise the probability of success.
At Le Brun, we understand that you shouldn’t be punished for any criminal offence that you haven’t committed. We have helped many people dispute traffic and transport offences by supporting them in their appeals.
If you would like to discuss your options to challenge a dispute, you can contact us to discuss your needs during a free 30-minute consultation. We have four offices throughout Melbourne that offer a wide range of legal services. Contact us here to find out more.