A person will automatically be found guilty of the offence where an expiation notice is issued and remains unpaid after a reminder notice has been sent. As a result, prosecutions for traffic offences are mainly for offences where an expiation notice is not issued, or if a notice was issued, the person has completed an election form, asking to be prosecuted for the offence.
Most prosecutions for minor offences are commenced by the issuing of a summons on a Form 4A. On this form of summons a person can plead guilty and not attend court. A guilty plea can be entered by writing on the back of the form details required to be taken into account by the court when it fixes the penalty. The form must be signed in front of a lawyer, a justice of the peace or a police officer and returned to the court at least three clear days before the date set for the hearing. After the hearing the offender is notified of the penalty imposed. However, if the penalty for the offence includes possible licence disqualification, the offender will be notified of the necessity to attend the hearing, as the court cannot disqualify a person from driving unless the person is given an opportunity to say why it should not do so.
People wishing to plead not guilty simply attend court, either personally or through a lawyer, on the day shown on the summons. Drivers who commit more serious offences are prosecuted on Form 4 summonses and must attend court even if pleading guilty. Legal advice should be sought in this situation.
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