Buy Demerit Points, Lara Bingle, and a Traffic Lawyer's thoughts on demerit point trading!
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Buy Demerit Points? Good Luck With That!

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On March 24 a well known Australian celebrity was a guest on the Kyle and Jackie O radio show on 2Day FM. In an off-the-cuff comment, she "admitted" to helping her friends by taking the hit for them with regards to demerit point loss - commonly referred to as trading demerit points, or buying demerit points.

At the time, I tweeted "surely I misheard?" - because why would anyone seriously admit to breaking the law like that to hundreds of thousands of radio listeners? The risk is too great, considering what the penalties are. After a big thing was made of the story, the celebrity in question tweeted: "Just to clarify I never took any of my friends points regarding their licence. I said it in sarcasm. End of story. LB."

However, what it did do is shine a spotlight on the practise of trading demerit points - at least for a short time. So, to gain a professional perspective on the subject, I asked Peter Proctor, a very experienced Criminal and Traffic Lawyer, what his opinion is on buying demerit points. Peter regularly appears on both current affairs shows (Today Tonight and A Current Affair) on matters relating to traffic law.

Don't Trade Demerit Points - You May End Up "Trading Places" In Gaol

On 24th March, 2011, in a segment appropriately called "[Name of Celebrity]'s Bungle" aired on Channel 7's current affairs program, Today Tonight. The segment took her to task for making a comment on commercial radio that she had lost her licence owing to points that she had accumulated, having "taken the blame" for friends.

Although she later wisely retracted the statement, she was stating what has become a common occurrence in New South Wales over a number of years and has even resulted in a very high profile personality receiving a full time gaol sentence for perverting the course of justice.

It needs to be emphasised that "taking the rap" for someone else by being nominated as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence, is not a smart move at all and if caught, can land you in a lot of hot water. Statistics presented by Today Tonight showed that a total of 480,000 people to date had nominated another driver in NSW and that 4,000 of these nominations had been fraudulent claims.

The modern speed and red light cameras being used to photograph vehicles will often reveal sufficient detail for an investigator later to observe whether it is a male or female driving. Many a person has been found to lie by nominating a male or female when clearly the photograph reveals a person of the opposite sex to the person nominated.

Of course, if there is a dispute as to who is the driver, the law that governs the operation of Penalty Notices for speed and red light cameras, casts the onus on the person responsible for the vehicle to nominate the driver at the time of the offence. [S.179(4)Road Transport (General) Act 2005]

Buy Demerit Points
Trade demerit points & these guys may come knocking!
Attached to the Penalty Notice will be a statutory declaration for the registered owner to complete and swear the truth as to its contents. Under this legislation, a false statement [s.179(7)] carries a penalty of $1100.00. However, there are other sanctions under the Crimes Act 1900 that can result in a gaol sentence and/or a larger monetary penalty.

The person who completes the false declaration is not the only one who is committing an offence. The person who is nominated and later receives the penalty notice in their name will be committing an offence if such person has conspired with the first person to do so, in order to "take the points" for the other person. However, this would be hard to prove unless such persons were to "confess" as to their involvement in such scheme.

So, if you are thinking about falsely nominating another person to take the rap for your traffic infringement, take a look at Mr Marcus Einfield's experience - the price you could pay is WAY too high.

DO NOT buy, sell or otherwise trade demerit points - it's just not worth it!

Peter Proctor
Proctor & Associates Solicitors & Barristers
Office: Level 3, 22 Hunter Street. Parramatta NSW 2150
Phone: 02 9687 3777
Facsimile: 02 9687 4403 (Int'l +61 2 9687 4403)

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