The Chronicle

Warning: ‘Cell’ fines are real


HEFTY fines for driving while using a mobile phone are real as a 26-year-old Toowoomba woman has found out.

Maria Kressa Aquino was seen by a police patrol to be driving on Chalk Drive with her mobile phone in her hand about 11.09pm, June 1, Toowoomba Magistrate­s Court heard on Wednesday.

The on-the-spot ticket for such offending was $1000 but when that went unpaid she was sent a summons which added $108.60 to the cost, police prosecutor Sergeant Natalie Bugden told the court.

Aquino, who represente­d herself, pleaded guilty to a charge of “use of mobile phones”.

She told the court she was a student who also worked as a kitchen hand in Toowoomba.

Magistrate Kay Ryan told Aquino that her plea of guilty had saved the court time and the expense of a court hearing.

However, the law was there for a reason.

“You’ve got to be very careful with the phone,” she said.

Ms Ryan told Aquino that she could increase the fine under the circumstan­ces but that she would keep the penalty to the ticketable amount.

Ms Ryan fined Aquino $1000, which was referred to the State Penalties Enforcemen­t Registry (SPER), and ordered she pay the cost of the court filing fee of $108.60.

Ms Ryan ordered the conviction not be recorded.

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