I’ve forgotten to pay my motor vehicle registration and now I have a fine

With many states in Australia moving or have moved to a motor vehicle registration system that does not require registration stickers to be affixed to vehicles, there will no doubt be some who’ll find it difficult to remember precisely when to pay for vehicle registration renewal should the reminder notice be misplaced or not arrive in the mail.

Don’t feel you’re unique in this situation, administrative errors such as these occur everyday, although sometimes with consequences such as incurring a fine as in the case of your person operating an unregistered motor vehicle. Can such administrative errors and corresponding infringements be remedied? Technically, yes.

In order to correct the administrative error and remedy the fine, one may need to undertake an administrative process that backdates and corrects the original controversy of a timely registration renewal:

  • Send in a notice with a tender of payment (the renewal amount via cheque or some form of money order) to the department of motor vehicles. You may want to call the notice: Notice of Tender of Payment (or something similar),
  • The notice will be backdated (nunc pro tunc) to a day before the registration expired. eg Near the top of the Notice where the date usually goes it will read something like: Dated Nunc Pro Tunc to 1 January 2015 (assuming that the registration expires on 2nd Jan.
  • The notice should ask for forgiveness for any inconvenience caused by the administrative error. eg The undersigned can say only two words for any inconvenience caused “Forgive Me”
  • The terms of performance will indicate accepting the payment will mean there is agreement that the registration renewal has been paid in a timely manner and commences immediately after expiry of the previous registration term. eg The undersigned hereby tenders payment for motor vehicle registration XXX 123 for the sum of $XXX.XX to affect the remedy. The Department of Motor Vehicles is hereby authorised to process the tender of payment as stipulated at the date of this notice to make all parties whole. In the event the remedy is not accepted to the terms stipulated herein, the Tender of Payment is to be returned to the undersigned within 10 days of receipt of this notice and showing cause why a timely tender of payment has be rejected.

Unregistered Car

If the tender of payment is accepted, then there is acceptance to the terms of the contract. If the tender of payment is rejected, then the tender of payment must be returned. If not, then there is acceptance.

So what just happened? Legally it will appear that timely payment of vehicle registration has occurred and the motor vehicle is now once again registered as if the renewal was undertaken in a timely manner. This process keeps the motor vehicle operator/owner in honour, thus resolving any controversy.

The infringement will now need to be addressed once payment is confirmed and processed or an acknowledgement is received. A conditional acceptance to the infringement offer will need to be tendered requesting evidence that the motor vehicle was not registered and the department of motor vehicles did not accept the conditions of the notice and did not accept the tender of payment. A copy of your notice to the DMV will need to be attached.

Note: This is a Public Side remedy.