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The Rider's Handbook

Penalties

In South Australia, if you do not comply with the road laws you can be penalised.

Traffic offences

Penalties for traffic offences include fines, disqualification from holding or applying for a licence, licence cancellation, refusal or suspension, night time riding restrictions (curfews), licence regression, and in extreme cases, imprisonment.

Demerit points for traffic offences

If you break the traffic laws, you can be fined and for certain traffic offences, you will have demerit points recorded against your licence. There is a limit to the number of points you can build up before you are disqualified from riding.

Demerit points are added to your licence record:

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  • when you pay the expiation fee for offences listed in an expiation notice; or
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  • when an enforcement order for the offence in the expiation notice is made against you; or
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  • if you are convicted of the offence in a court.
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You will receive a warning notice when you accumulate 6 demerit points or more.

Speeding offences

Penalties for exceeding the speed limit include demerit points, fines, licence suspension or disqualification. Penalties increase depending on how many kilometres an hour over the speed limit you are going.

Immediate loss of licence

You will have your licence suspended immediately if riding with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more or for excessive speeding by 45 km/h or more. Your licence or permit will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months and demerit points and fines will also apply.

You will be disqualified from holding a licence or permit for a further period if the demerit points bring your total points to or over the relevant limit.

Other serious riding offences

If you are convicted of more serious riding offences you may be disqualified from riding by a court, fined or imprisoned. Many offences carry minimum disqualification periods.

These offences include:

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  • Riding or attempting to ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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  • Riding or attempting to ride when your alcohol level is over the limit for your permit or licence class.
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  • Riding with a prescribed drug in your oral fluid or blood.
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  • Refusing to take a drug test.
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  • Refusing to take a breath test.
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  • Refusing to give a blood sample.
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  • Exceeding the speed limit by 45km/h or more.
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  • Careless riding that is an aggravated offence.
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  • Reckless or dangerous riding.
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  • Not stopping, giving assistance or reporting a crash where someone is killed or injured.
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  • Dangerous riding to escape police pursuit.
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Negligent or dangerous riding causing injury or death

The law provides for serious charges to be laid against people riding a motorcycle in a negligent or dangerous manner that causes injury or death.

If you are the rider of a motorcycle andyour negligent or dangerous riding causes somebody's death or injury you could be imprisoned for up to 15 years, with 10 years or more licence disqualification. If the offence is a second or subsequent offence or is committed in aggravating circumstances, you could be imprisoned for life.

Aggravating circumstances are:

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  • Riding more than 45 km/h over the speed limit.
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  • Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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  • Riding with a prescribed drug in your oral fluid or blood.
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  • Riding with a blood alcohol of 0.08 or more.
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  • Riding a motorcycle to escape police.
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  • When the offence was part of a prolonged, persistent and deliberate course of very bad riding.
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  • Riding while knowing you are disqualified or suspended from riding.
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Similar penalties apply if you leave the scene of a crash where your negligent or dangerous riding has caused somebody's death or serious injury. In this case, aggravating circumstances are:

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  • If the motorcycle was stolen or used without consent.
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  • If you knew you were disqualified from riding.
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  • If you were riding with a blood alcohol of .08 or more, or with a prescribed drug in your oral fluid (saliva) or blood.
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Hoon riding

A number of offences can be punished by a period of wheel clamping or impounding of the motorcycle you were using at the time of the offence, or any vehicle you own.

These offences are:

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  • Causing death or harm by dangerous use of a motor vehicle.
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  • Dangerous riding to escape a police pursuit.
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  • Misuse of a motor vehicle.
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  • Excessive speed.
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  • Reckless and dangerous riding.
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  • Riding under the influence of alcohol.
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  • Riding while having a prescribed concentration of alcohol in blood.
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  • Riding while having a prescribed drug in oral fluid (saliva) or blood.
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  • Emitting excessive noise from a motor vehicle.
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  • Marking graffiti.
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  • Damaging property.
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  • Riding unregistered (repeat offence).
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  • Riding uninsured (repeat offence).
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  • Riding unlicensed (repeat offence).
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  • Riding whilst suspended (repeat offence).
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  • Drag racing, doing burnouts, donuts, wheelies, burning rubber, spinning of wheels, excessive tyre or engine noise and breaking up ground in a park or garden (all are misuse of a vehicle).
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If the police report or charge you with one of these offences, they may also wheel clamp or impound the motorcycle or any vehicle you own for 7 days (or longer if they apply to the court).

A court may also order longer periods of clamping or impounding if you have already expiated or been convicted of one of the above offences within the previous 10 years - 3 months for a second offence and 6 months for a third offence. If there are further offences, the court may order the vehicle to be sold. In addition you will have to pay for the costs of clamping or impounding.

DRINK AND DRUG RIDING

Penalties apply according to the level of alcohol or presence of drugs detected in the body of a rider, and increase depending on whether the offence is a first, second, third or subsequent offence. Penalties may include:

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  • Severe fines.
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  • Demerit points.
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  • Immediate licence suspension followed by a period of disqualification from riding, and
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  • Imprisonment in some cases.
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Note - the Police are able to conduct random roadside saliva tests to detect the presence of three prescribed drugs: THC (cannabis), Methylamphetamine (speed) and MDMA (ecstasy).

RIDING WITHOUT A LICENCE

Heavy penalties apply for riding without a licence. Penalties are often more severe for repeat offences. You can receive an on-the-spot fine for riding on a licence or permit that is expired or otherwise not authorised.

Other unlicensed riding offences are more serious. You will be required to appear in court if you are found to be riding if:

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  • You have never held a licence for the class of vehicle you are riding (maximum of 1 year imprisonment for a subsequent offence).
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  • Your licence is suspended, or you are disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence (maximum of 6 months imprisonment for the first offence and 2 years imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence).
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If you move from interstate to live in South Australia, you have 3 months in which you can legally drive on your interstate licence before needing to apply for a South Australian licence.

FINES ENFORCEMENT RESTRICTIONS

In South Australia there are a number of methods for the courts to recover outstanding fines, including suspension of your driver's licence for sixty days or refusal for registration and licence transactions to be processed until the fine is paid or cleared by the court.

These sanctions may be applied for any unpaid fines, regardless of whether the offence is traffic related or not. A licence suspension will commence 21 days after the Registrar of Motor Vehicles receives the order from the court and the court will post a notice to you.

To pay a penalty or discuss options, telephone the Easy Pay Fines Call Centre on 1800 659 538.

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