Notices to Appear
Under current legislation the Queensland Police Service is required to personally serve Notices to Appear on alleged offenders. This process ensures that the alleged offender is aware that they have been charged and the date upon which they are required to appear in Court.
The changes proposed by the Police Minister are said to affect service of Notices to Appear in relation to:
- Failing to stop a motor vehicle on direction;
- Provisional drivers, driving a restricted vehicle;
- Exceed speed limit by more than 40kmh;
- Failing to stop at a red light;
- Public nuisance;
- Disorderly behaviour; and
- Threatening behaviour.
The service of Notice to Appear by ordinary pre paid post is fraught with danger. Currently the legislation permits service from Queensland Transport and the State Penalties Enforcement Register, by ordinary pre paid mail. There are almost daily examples of people who have not received such notices being pulled over for unlicensed driving and facing mandatory loss of licence of up to 6 months.
Traffic infringement notices for offences detected by camera are now sent by registered mail, however under these proposed changes, offences requiring court appearances before a Magistrate will be sent by mail.
A number of these offences can result in the forfeiture of a persons motor vehicle. A failure to appear will likely result in an arrest warrant issuing and the persons being arrested and held in custody for a traffic or street offence.
People need to be vigilant in terms of maintaining their correct residential details with government bodies and ensuring that any concerns with the delivery of their post is resolved with Australia Post.
If Postmen are to become defacto police officers, delivering Notices to Appear, then the QPS should at the very least be required to serve the Notices by way of Registered Post to ensure that service is effected. We are extremely concerned about these changes.
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.
For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.
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