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I was driving my boyfriends car at the time.. didn't even realise I'd gone through a red light until later on, when a few months had passed and I'd gone back to the UK, my boyfriend gets a letter through the post saying his car was caught going through a red light. He knew it was me and said to them it was me (he told me there was nothing they can do as I'm in another country).. didn't think too much of it, but I've just got the letter through.. $446 dollars! Oh my goodness.. I genuinely don't have that sort of money. I've never got a ticket for anything, I'm a very safe driver, never speed etc, it was a genuine accident, always take caution (this is for those really unhelpful people who like to say 'you did it, so pay it blah blah')

So I was just wondering where I stand.. my first question is if I do end up paying, will I get the points on my licence? NOT IDEAL if that's the case. And my second question is if I just ignore it can they track it back to me any further...what they can do seeing as I'm in a different country. They can't actually prove it was me in the car, I could say my boyfriend is lying? (I'm not gonna but just saying do they have a leg to stand on)

It wasn't a rental car, so I didn't give any details like bank card, passport etc. So unless they can link my information back to my passport.. I'm not sure.

My worry is if I go back to Aus one day, is it gonna get flagged up? Don't want to go to jail lol!

Really appreciate any advice or help, thank you!

Nicola

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    Did you go through that red light? Sometimes there is a photo you can check.
    – Willeke
    Dec 11 '20 at 16:35
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    Seems odd that they'd just believe the boyfriend and send you the ticket on his word. If there's points it'll be in Australia, they don't follow you around the world. If you ignore it there could be issues if you try to re-enter Australia (probably they'd ask you to pay the fine). But since the ticket was to your boyfriend I'd ask them for evidence it was you driving, and if they can provide evidence ask them to kindly waive the fine and explain the situation about missing the light as you explain in your question.
    – Midavalo
    Dec 11 '20 at 17:17
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    @Midavalo When you receive the ticket there is a statutory declaration you can sign stating that you were not the driver at the time of the incident, and to nominate who the actual driver was. This is of course a legal document, so if you are lying and get caught out, it just adds to issue.
    – Peter M
    Dec 11 '20 at 21:42
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    If you were able to afford a trip to Australia from the UK, it seems that you should be able to afford the fine, although it may take saving up again. If you have any intention to ever return to Australia, pay it - otherwise you are just going to stack up extra penalties. Your boyfriend advice to "just ignore it" could well be interpreted as "don't ever visit me again".
    – CMaster
    Dec 14 '20 at 11:35
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    Sorry to be that unhelpful person, but not even realizing that you went through a red light and being a safe and good driver don't quite add up. I'm by no means suggesting that you're a bad driver, but if you did go through the red light, then the fine is the least that you should have to pay. You could have been T-boned or have hit another vehicle and caused a much greater loss to property or worse to life.
    – nikhil
    Dec 14 '20 at 19:09
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Since you said you were driving your boyfriend's car in Australia, I'm going to assume your boyfriend is Australian. If not, that would change things. I'm also unfamiliar with the exact processes of Australia, but I am with other countries' processes for foreign traffic tickets, and they tend to be similar.

If you never go back to Australia they are very unlikely to pursue you for the money. Even if you go back occasionally as a visitor they probably won't. However if you ever immigrate to Australia, perhaps to be with your boyfriend, it might become an issue.

They can't give you points on your license. Australia can only give you points on an Australian license. I assume you don't have one. (It's actually the individual states that grant licenses, not the country.) If you ever move to Australia and want a drivers license the story could be different.

But...

If you don't pay, they will probably go after your boyfriend for the money. In most places it is the car owner who is legally responsible for paying fines. This is to prevent cases like what you are thinking about, where the owner just says "it wasn't me driving" every time they are given a ticket. (I'm not sure about the exact laws in the Australian state you were driving in.) They may have followed up with you if your boyfriend told them you were driving, but if you say you weren't then they will go back to him. This might also get you to the point where at least one of you has lied on a legal document, which if you are ever both living in Australia will be a problem. If you just ignore the letter they will still probably go after him.

By the way, if you genuinely don't have that much money right now then they can usually arrange a payment by installments.

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    As per my comment on the question, there is a statutory declaration you can sign stating that you were not the driver at the time of the incident, and to nominate who the actual driver was.
    – Peter M
    Dec 11 '20 at 21:59
  • @PeterM Every Australian state and territory has the same law(s) dealing with this sort of thing? Dec 11 '20 at 22:10
  • @DavidSupportsMonica All states and mainland territories have basically the same process for nominating that you were not the driver And you can also nominate in addition things like: The car was stolen, the license plates were stolen or the car has been sold.
    – Peter M
    Dec 11 '20 at 22:17
  • And does that declaration absolve the owner from all responsibility? Dec 12 '20 at 0:50
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    @DJClayworth It is a legal declaration that you were not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the incident. As an example of the process here "A new infringement notice will be issued to the person you have nominated, and the infringement notice sent to you will be cancelled". There is a potential fine of in excess of $AUD9k for knowingly providing false or misleading information.
    – Peter M
    Dec 12 '20 at 4:38
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Hurry.

If in victoria at the time of the driving offence, check with the authorities at:

https://online.fines.vic.gov.au/en/Contact-Us

Note that all official Australian government websites end in .gov.au

Check quickly, the consequences are listed on the website, and worsen for you.

For Victoria (my state) they have a process for "pausing" the process because of the covid mess or poverty. As long as you remain polite, you are likely to be able to get info over the phone. Have the infringement number ready as they would like that info first.

There is only a very small chance of error, which can be checked by looking at the photo which is freely available online.

The points on the licence is not such a problem, but the debt owed will never, never be forgotten. If OK with you, tell us what state this was.

enter image description here

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  • It was in the state of NSW.. I'm gonna give them a ring tomorrow to either sort out a payment plan or see what I can do. Dec 18 '20 at 0:45
  • Dont forget the time difference.....weekend has started already. Dec 18 '20 at 6:43
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$446 AUS is about $336 USD or £251 sterling.

I believe that (some) Australian States & Territories will let you pay by instalments, atleast for residents. I would contact the authorities and ask if you can pay by instalment. If not, is your b/f in a position to pay the fine on your behalf, and then you can repay him (assuming this is legal)? Otherwise, can someone else lend you the money?

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  • Yes payment plan is the option I'm thinking, thank you for your reply! Dec 18 '20 at 0:45
  • If your bank charges per-transaction foreign fees, then you'll have pay the fee for each instalment. This might make paying-by-installment a lot more expensive in the long run
    – CSM
    Dec 18 '20 at 9:44
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You have acknowledged that you did it.

It's a fair whack of money, but in the end of the day £250 plus the transfer fees is not so much that you'd be unable to borrow it.

Pay it and get rid of the problem.

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