Home | Browse Topics | Criminal & traffic law | Driving and traffic law | Category 1 driving offences: Fines or community-based sentences only

Criminal & traffic law

Court processes: How driving offences are dealt with

Category 1 driving offences: Fines or community-based sentences only

What are Category 1 driving offences?

Criminal Procedure Act 2011, s 6

These are offences that are more serious than infringement offences, but for which you can’t be sent to prison. Instead, you can only be fined, or given a community-based sentence like community work.

Category 1 driving offences are usually dealt with by fines, but can also involve disqualification from driving. Examples of Category 1 offences are:

  • exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h (a maximum fine of $1,000)
  • driving an unsafe vehicle (maximum fine of $2,000)
  • pouring oil, diesel or other substances on the road to cause wheel-spins (maximum fine of $3,000)
  • careless driving that doesn’t cause injury or death (maximum fine of $3,000, and you can also be disqualified for a period)
  • failing to remain stopped for the police when required (maximum fine of $10,000).

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004, clause 5.1 Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999, Schedule 1 Land Transport Act 1998, ss 34, 36A(5), 37, 52(2)

How are Category 1 driving offences dealt with?

Criminal Procedure Act 2011, ss 14, 37, 38 Sentencing Act 2002, s 106

The process begins with the District Court sending you a notice called a “charging document”.

You then have the chance to deny and defend the charge if you want to. You’ll need to enter a plea with the court – either guilty, not guilty or a special plea. However, unlike Category 2 and 3 offences (see below), you don’t have to go to court to enter your plea if you don’t want to – instead you can simply send a notice to the courts.

If you plead guilty, you can say in your notice of plea whether you want to appear in court for sentencing. You can also include any submissions you want the court to take into account when it sentences you.

Your submissions to the judge on sentencing could include arguments for discharging you without conviction (see: Sentencing).

If you’re charged with any Category 1 offence and you plead not guilty, you’ll have a trial in the District Court without a jury (these are called “judge-alone trials”).

Did this answer your question?

Driving and traffic law

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres/

For Community Law’s guide to applying for a limited licence and template application forms: communitylaw.org.nz/resources/legal-letters

Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Agency

Waka Kotahi’s site provides a wide range of driving and road safety information, including on topics covered in this chapter.

Website: www.nzta.govt.nz
Phone: 0800 699 000
Email: info@nzta.govt.nz

Search your question on Waka Kotahi’s resources section: www.nzta.govt.nz/resources

New Zealand Police

The New Zealand Police’s “frequently asked questions” section provides helpful information, particularly the “Driving/road safety” and “Tickets/infringements” section.

Website: www.police.govt.nz/advice-and-services/faqs

New Zealand Government

The New Zealand government website sets out more information about driving fines and penalties, including how to pay for infringement notices.

Website: www.govt.nz/browse/transport/driving-fines-and-penalties

Consumer Protection

The Consumer Protection website has useful information on a range of consumer topics, including private parking tickets and the towing and clamping of cars.

Website: www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/help-product-service/cars/parking-clamping-towing

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top