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TRAFFIC OFFENCES

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How to beat a traffic offence in NSW?

In NSW, most traffic offences are strict liability offences. That means the prosecuting authority does not need to prove you intended to commit the offence, only that you did commit the offence.

Traffic law is a complex area of law and it is essential that you seek legal advice about your matter, especially if your matter is before the courts. Most traffic offences are dealt with under the  Road Transport Act 2013, however, there are a number of traffic offences that are prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1900 NSW.

In NSW we have been brainwashed to think that once a traffic fine has been received, that it’s not worth contesting. We are somewhat forced to simply accept it and all of its consequences – even when we know or at least feel we did not commit the offence or at least how it is being alleged. The reality, however, is that our legal system protects us from such injustices and where a person is adamant that they did not commit an office it is often the case that they are right.

Pleading Not guilty traffic offence sydney 1 1

I am not guilty of my traffic offence. What can I do?

Cops are human too, and sometimes they get it wrong. 

In NSW we have been brainwashed to think that once a traffic fine has been received, that it’s not worth contesting. We are somewhat forced to simply accept it and all of its consequences – even when we know or at least feel we did not commit the offence or at least how it is being alleged. The reality, however, is that our legal system protects us from such injustices and where a person is adamant that they did not commit an office it is often the case that they are right.

In summary -Just because you have received a traffic fine or charged with a major offence does not mean that you are guilty. At Jameson Law our expert traffic lawyers know and understand the ins and outs of the Road Transport Act and associated Crimes Act legislation. This puts them in a unique position to ensure your prospects for a successful defence are as high as possible. 

Pleading-guilty-traffic-offence-sydney

What if I am actually guilty of my traffic offence?

You’ve made a mistake. It happens. And if you’ve been tested or caught on radar, “sometimes” it’s not even debatable. What does the Magistrate hearing your case want to know moving forward?

  • Will you be a repeat offender? Is this the only time you’ll be seen in court, or will it be a regular occurrence for you?
  • Are you are a person of good character?
  • Did the offence occur during a difficult time in your life?
  • What steps have you have taken steps towards addressing any underlying issues? e.g. attending counselling, attending a course (eg anger management, drug and alcohol etc) and/or seeing a psychologist / psychiatrist.
  • What impact will the fine and/or licence suspension have on your employment, your dependents and your health (among other things)?

Our expert lawyers will compile a winning strategy and fight hard to attain your desired outcome including reinstating your licence for licence suspensions. 

What can you be charged with?

There are a number of serious and non-serious driving offences and traffic offences that fall under:

Serious Driving Offences

  1. Negligent driving where death is occasioned
  2. Negligent driving where grievous bodily harm is occasioned
  3. Furious driving; Reckless driving; Driving in a manner or at a speed dangerous
  4. Fail to stop and give assistance in an accident involving death or injury
  5. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  6. Speeding offences
  7. School zone offences

Non-serious offences:

  1. Parking offences
  2. General driving offences (not wearing a seatbelt, red light offences, mobile phone offences, etc)
  3. Vehicle registration
  4. Licence offences
    Heavy vehicle offences
  5. Heavy vehicle driver fatigue offences

Some of these traffic offences are explained below.

What are the Most Common Driving Offences?
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    Driving Under the Influence

    Drink Driving (PCA Offences)

    Drink driving offences are serious offences. According to the Centre for Road Safety

    drink driving is a factor in one in seven crashes in NSW that result in death.

    From 20 May 2019, tougher penalties apply for lower range drink driving offences, and for driving

    with the presence of an illicit drug.

    The change is part of a number of reforms in the Road Safety Plan 2021 to reduce alcohol and drug-related trauma on NSW roads.

    Many drivers follow the guideline:

    • Males = 2 standard drinks in the first hour and 1 standard drink every hour after
    • Females = 1 standard drink in the first hour and 1 standard drink every hour after.

    However, everybody reacts to and processes alcohol differently. Therefore, it is best not to consume alcohol if you will be driving.

    Blood alcohol limits

    Novice drivers (learner and provisional licence holders) have a 0.00 blood alcohol limit.

    Special category (professional drivers, e.g bus, truck, taxi, uber, etc) have a blood alcohol limit of 0.02

    Class C licence holders (normal car and motorbike licence) have a blood alcohol limit of 0.05

    Alcohol offences

    Novice range PCA = a BAC of more than 0 grams but less than 0.02 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 milligrams of blood.

    A novice driver who has consumed alcohol must not:

    (a) drive a motor vehicle, or

    (b) occupy the driving seat of the motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion

    The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 (1st offence) or $3,300 (2nd or subsequent offence)

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

    * If no previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

      * An automatic disqualification of 6 months, or

      * If the court thinks fit, a disqualification of 3 months (but no shorter)

    * If a previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

       * An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months, or

       * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 6 months (but no shorter)

    Special range PCA  = a BAC of 0.02 grams or more, but less than 0.05 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 milligrams of blood.

    A special category driver who has consumed more than 0.02 must not:

    (a) drive a motor vehicle, or

    (b) occupy the driving seat of the motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion

    (c) occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle

    The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 (1st offence) or $3,300 (2nd or subsequent offence)

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

    * If no previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

      * An automatic licence disqualification of 6 months, or

      * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 3 months (but no shorter)

    * If a previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

       * An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months, or

       * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 6 months (but no shorter)

    Low range PCA = a BAC of 0.05 grams or more, but less than 0.08 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood

    A driver who has consumed more than 0.05 must not:

    (a) drive a motor vehicle, or

    (b) occupy the driving seat of the motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion

    (c) occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle

    The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 (1st offence) or $3,300 (2nd or subsequent offence)

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

    * If no previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

      * An automatic licence disqualification of 6 months, or

      * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 3 months (but no shorter)

    * If a previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

       * An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months, or

       * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 6 months (but no shorter)

    Middle range PCE = a BAC of 0.08 grams or more, but less than 0.15 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 milligrams of blood

    A driver who has consumed alcohol resulting in a blood alcohol content between 0.08 grams and 0.15 grams of alcohol must not:

    a) drive a motor vehicle, or

    (b) occupy the driving seat of the motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion

    (c) occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle

    The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 or imprisonment for up to 9 months (or both) for a first offence. If it is a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $3,300 or imprisonment for up to 12 months (or both).

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

    * If no previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

      * An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months, or

      * If the court thinks fit, a licence disqualification of 6 months (but no shorter)

    High range PCE = a BAC of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 milligrams of blood

    A driver who has consumed alcohol resulting in a blood alcohol content of more than 0.15 grams must not:

    a) drive a motor vehicle, or

    (b) occupy the driving seat of the motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion

    (c) occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle

    The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300 or imprisonment for up to 18 months (or both) for a first offence. If it is a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500 or imprisonment for up to 2 years (or both).

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

      * If no previous offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:

         * An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months

         * If it is a second or subsequent offence, an automatic licence disqualification of 2 years.

    Alcohol Interlock Program

    For high range and mid-range PCA offences and second or subsequent PCA offences, the court may order a driver to enrol in the alcohol interlock program and have a device fitted to their vehicle. The interlock program impacts on the disqualification period a court may set. For further information about the program, including how to have a device fitted to your vehicle, contact Jameson Law or RMS.

    Drug Driving

    Driving while under the influence of drugs is a serious offence. 

    A person must not, while there is present in the person’s oral fluid, blood or urine any prescribed illicit drug:

    a) drive a motor vehicle

    b) occupy the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the vehicle in motion, or

    c) if the person is the holder of an applicable drivers licence (other than provisional and learners licence) occupy the seat next to a learner driver driving the vehicle

    The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $2,200 for a first offence and $3,300 for a second or subsequent offence.

    The licence disqualification period for this offence is:

    • If no previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:
    • An automatic disqualification of 6 months, or
    • If the court thinks fit, a disqualification of 3 months (but no shorter)
    • If a previous major offence has been committed in the previous 5 years:
    • An automatic disqualification of 12 months, or
    • If the court thinks fit, a disqualification of 6 months (but no shorter)

    Refusing a Roadside Breath Test or Drug Test

    It is also an offence to refuse a roadside breath test. It can result in being arrested and conveyed to the police station for a breath analysis. Refusal to take a breath test is treated the same as high range PCA and has the same penalties.

    Driving Negligently

    A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road negligently. 

    Penalties:

    • If it results in death = a maximum penalty of $3,300 or imprisonment for 18 months (or both)    for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $5,500 or imprisonment for 2 years (or both).
    • If it results in grievous bodily harm (serious injury) = a maximum penalty of $2,200 or imprisonment for 9 months (or both) for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $3,300 or imprisonment for 12 months (or both).
    • If it does not result in death or grievous bodily harm, the maximum penalty is $1,100.

    Drive Furiously, Recklessly or at Speed in a Manner Dangerous to the Public

    A person must not drive furiously, recklessly or at speed in a manner dangerous to the public.

    Penalties:

    • Under the Road Transport Act 2013, a maximum penalty of $2,200 or imprisonment for 9 months (or both) for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, a maximum penalty of $3,300 or imprisonment for 12 months (or both).
    • This offence is also punishable under the Crimes Act 1900 where it results in injury or grievous bodily harm. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years. 

    Police Pursuits

    Police pursuits are a criminal law offence. A driver who knows, ought to reasonably know or has reasonable grounds to suspect that police are in pursuit of the vehicle being driven is required to stop the vehicle and does not stop the vehicle and then drives recklessly or at speed or in a manner dangerous to others, is guilty of an offence.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment of 3 years for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 5 years.

    Failure To Stop And Render Assistance

    Failure to stop and render assistance after an accident is a criminal law offence. 

    • Death: A driver involved in a motor vehicle accident causing the death of another person and the driver knows, ought reasonably to know the vehicle has been involved in a car accident causing death or grievous bodily harm to another person and fails to stop and render assistance is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 10 years.
    • Grievous bodily harm (serious injury): A driver involved in a motor vehicle accident causing grievous bodily harm of another person and the driver knows or ought reasonably to know the vehicle has been involved in a car accident causing death or grievous bodily harm to another person and fails to stop and render assistance is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 7 years.

    Predatory Driving

    Predatory driving is a criminal law offence. A driver who, while in pursuit of or travelling near another vehicle, engages in a course of conduct that causes or threatens an impact involving the other road users and intends by their conduct to cause injury to persons in the other vehicle is guilty of an offence.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 5 years.

    Dangerous Driving

    Dangerous driving is a criminal law offence with multiple categories.

    Dangerous driving occasioning death

    If a vehicle driven by a person is involved in a car accident causing the death of another person and the person driving the vehicle was, at the time of the car accident, driving the vehicle

    • under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug; or
    • at a speed dangerous to another person or persons; or
    • in a manner dangerous to another person or persons

    The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 10 years.

    Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death

    If dangerous driving occasioning death occurs in circumstances of aggression, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 14 years.

    Aggravating circumstances include but are not limited to:

    • element and nature of injuries inflicted
    • number of people put at risk
    • degree of speed
    • degree of intoxication or of substance abuse
    • erratic or aggressive driving
    • competitive driving or showing off
    • length of the journey during which others were exposed to risk
    • ignoring warnings
    • escaping police pursuit
    • degree of sleep deprivation
    • failing to stop

    Dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

    If a vehicle being driven by a person is involved in a car accident causing grievous bodily to another person and the driver was at the time of the car accident, driving the vehicle 

    • under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a drug
    • at a speed dangerous to another person or persons
    • in a manner dangerous to another person or persons

         The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 7 years.

    Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm

    If dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm occurs in circumstances of aggression, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 11 years. Aggravating circumstances are set out above.

    Traffic Offenders Program

    Participation in traffic offenders programs shows the court you are remorseful and may assist in reducing your disqualification period.

    Speeding – Street Racing

    A person must not operate a motor vehicle in such a manner as to cause the vehicle to undergo sustained loss of traction by one or more wheels of a vehicle.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $1,100.

    It is also an offence to :

    • Do or omit to do anything that prolongs, sustains, intensifies or increases a loss of traction.
    • Operate a vehicle as above, knowing there is an appreciable risk do so at that time and place is likely to interfere with the amenity of the area or the peaceful enjoyment of persons in the area or make the area unsafe.
    • Willingly participate in any group activity involving the above.
    • Organise/promote/urge any person to participate in or view any group activity involving one or more vehicle as stated above.
    • Photograph or film the above activities to promote it.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300 for a first offence or a fine $3,300 or imprisonment for 9 months (or both) for a second or subsequent offence.

    Speeding and Red Light Cameras

    Many red light cameras also include a speed detection device. It is possible to appeal speeding and red light camera offences. Once you receive the infringement notice, follow the instructions attached. It is recommended to appeal your infringement to the State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) before appealing to the court. It is important to lodge your appeal immediately as you only have 21 days from the date of the infringement notice. Before lodging your appeal, you can obtain a copy of the picture taken by the camera, however, you will be charged a fee.

    Licence Offences

    Novice = Learners permit and provisional licence (P1 and P2) holders 

    Special = Professional drivers e.g. bus and truck (light rigid, medium rigid and heavy rigid), taxi, Uber, etc

    C class = normal drivers licence

     

    Unlicensed Driving in NSW

    In NSW, a person MUST NOT, unless exempted by statutory rules-

    a) drive a motor vehicle on any road without being licensed for that purpose; or

    b) employ or permit any person not so licensed to drive a motor vehicle on any road

    The maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200

    If you have not held a license in the past 5 years and you drive a motor vehicle on any road, you can incur a maximum fine of $2,200 for a first offence or $3,300 or imprisonment for six months (or both) for a second or subsequent offence.

    Licence Suspension and Licence Cancellation

    Demerit Points

    Unrestricted licence holders in NSW risk having their licence suspended by the roads authority if they accrue the following demerit points in a three year period:

    • 13 (or 14 for a professional driver) to 15 = 3 months licence suspension
    • 16 to 19 = 4 months licence suspension
    • 20 or more = 5 months licence suspension

    Police Suspension / Cancellation of Licence

    • A police officer has the power to suspend/confiscate a driver’s licence for the following:
    • Serious offences causing death or grievous bodily harm
    • Speeding in excess of 45km/h above the speed limit (automatic 6 months suspension)
    • Driving under the influence
    • PCA offences (automatic 3 months suspension for low range drink driving)
    • Street racing
    • Aggravated burnout offences
    • Novice driver speeding in excess of 30km/h above the speed limit (automatic 3 months suspension)
    • Unaccompanied learner (automatic 3 months suspension)

    On the spot suspensions mean you MUST NOT drive the vehicle.

    Police suspensions can be appealed. You MUST lodge your appeal within 28 days of the infringement notice.

    You MUST NOT drive while a licence suspension is in place. If you do, it can lead to further penalties.

    Further information can be found on the RMS website.

     

    Driving While Suspended / Disqualified

    It is an offence to drive while suspended or disqualified. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300, imprisonment for 6 months and licence disqualification for 6 months for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500, imprisonment for 12 months and licence disqualification for 12 months.

     

    Vehicle Registration Offences

    In NSW, it is an offence to drive an unregistered vehicle. Failure to register your vehicle means that your vehicle is also uninsured. Driving an uninsured vehicle is also an offence.

    The penalty for driving an unregistered light vehicle (car and van up to 12 seats) is $686. The penalty for driving an uninsured light vehicle (car and van up to 12 seats) is $686. If the vehicle is a heavy vehicle (GVM more over 4.5), the fine for an unregistered vehicle is $1449 and 4 demerit points. The fine for driving an uninsured heavy vehicle is $686.

     

    Habitual Traffic Offenders Declaration

    As of 2017, the Habitual Traffic Offenders Declaration has been abolished. If you have a declaration still in place, contact Jameson Law to discuss your matter.

     

    Disclaimer

    The above is general legal information and should not be considered legal advice. You should speak with one of our solicitors for legal advice tailored to your specific legal problem. The penalties listed are maximum penalties. The courts deal with matters on a case by case basis. It should also be noted that there may be court delays due to COVID-19.

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    I need to appeal my Traffic Offence

    How do I appeal a traffic offence?

    If you have received a traffic infringement and you would like to appeal it, you will need to take the matter to your local court. You will need to follow the instructions printed on the back of your infringement notice. If you are ever in doubt about your options or obligations, you should seek legal advice immediately. A specialised traffic lawyer is the best point of call in these types of situations.

    How do I appeal a traffic offence?

    If you wish to appeal a traffic offence, you will need to provide the court with evidence of why you feel the infringement has either been given in error, or there are circumstances which warrant it being waived. You will need to provide to the court the following:

    1. The circumstances surrounding the traffic offence;
    2. The weaknesses present in the prosecution’s case;
    3. Your traffic history; and
    4. Why you require a licence.

    It is extremely important that you are prepared to provide the court with all the information it needs so as to avoid any unnecessary delays.

    How Do I Prepare For Court?

    Do I really need to seek legal advice?

    Legal advice should be your first point of call when preparing for court. It is important to show the court that you are taking your matter seriously and by being legally represented, you are demonstrating that you understand the severity of the charge.

    It is also good to get an idea of what outcome you could be facing if you are found guilty of your offence. Are you looking at a term of imprisonment? A suspended sentence? Maybe even a community service order? It is best to have a realistic view of your matter.

    Is there anything I could be doing to help my chances of receiving a lighter sentence?

    Your lawyer may be able to suggest rehabilitative programs or measures you could take to make yourself appear better before the court. The court likes to see both remorse and rehabilitation from criminal behaviour. Services such as Relationships Australia, Catholic Care, Beyond Blue, etc, are designed to aid people through mental, physical and educational means. Examples of this may include:

    1. Drug and alcohol counselling;
    2. Anger management programs;
    3. Family violence counselling;
    4. Parenting or separation courses;
    5. Skill development and education to heighten employment opportunities; etc.

    Anything you can do to appeal your character before the court is inevitably going to help you when it comes to sentencing.

    Should I have character references to speak on my behalf?

    Depending on what offence you are alleged to have committed then having character references or letters of reference can be helpful to your case.

    For example, if you were applying for a restricted driver’s licence, you would most certainly need a letter from your employer which relays that you will have your employment terminated in the event you do not have a licence. Similarly, if your job requires a working with vulnerable persons card then a letter from your employer would be necessary in these circumstances.

    If you have committed a low range offence for the first time, references which speak to this being out of character could also be beneficial to you however, this is something your lawyer could better advise you on.

    Is presentation in court important?

    The short answer is yes! When you attend court, presentation is important because of the seriousness of the situation. The court deserves a level of respect that many people do not give it.

     

    It is important to consider the impression you want to make when appearing in court. Neat, respectful clothing is a good start. You do not necessarily need to go as formal as wearing a suit (though it is a good option), but you should stay away from low cut, offensive clothing. T-shirts or jackets with slang, swear words or slogans should be avoided and hats and sunglasses should not be worn inside the building.

     

    People usually think that this type of presentation is not important but it could not be further from the truth. It is always going to be human nature to make some sort of character determination based on first impressions and when your freedom is hanging in the balance, first impressions are everything.

    Frequently Asked Questions.

    This depends on the seriousness of your traffic offence. If you have received a Court Appearance Notice (CAN), then you will have to go to the Local Court. If you are unsure, just contact us and we can check for you. We can also appear with you, to ensure your legal rights are protected.

    If your car or motorcycle was involved in any of the following offences, then the police do have grounds to either impound your vehicle, remove your number plates and attach a ‘number-plate confiscation notice’ and/or send you a ‘production notice’ requiring that you take the car to an impound or hand in your number plates.

    These are the sanctionable offences which they can perform the above:

    • some drink driving offences 

    • street racing

    • burnouts

    • a police pursuit

    • speeding by more than 45 km/h (does not include camera detected offences)

    • speeding by more than 30 km/h if you are a disqualified driver (does not include camera detected offences)

    The police can also take away your vehicle if you were convicted of drink driving in the last 5 years and now, caught with: 
     
    • mid-range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more but less than 0.15)

    • high-range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (a blood concentration of more than 0.15)

    • refusing to give a breath test or failing to provide a blood sample, when requesting by police.   

    No. If this has happened to you contact us immediately. The police can only impound or take the number plates of the car you are driving if you are the registered owner of the car.

    They may however send you a warning notice, and if your vehicle is involved in sanctionable offences in the next 5 years, the registration will be suspended for up to 3 months.

    If you have received a warning letter, contact us to look into a resolution especially if you had no involvement in the incident.

    Yes. We can help you put an application to the Court showing that you need to use the vehicle. The Court in turn will consider the following:

    • whether it is reasonably likely that the vehicle will be used to commit sanctionable offences again, or
    • any extreme hardship caused to someone other than the registered owner because the vehicle or number plates have been taken away.

    We understand how easy it is to make a mistake. To take your eye off the road for even just a few seconds and suddenly, you made an error that could lose you your licence. Maybe it was a lapse in judgement? Or maybe it was just a split-second loss of concentration? It may even be a case of oops, you had too much to drink and now the damage has been done.

    No matter the reason or cause, seek legal advice before doing anything else. See exactly what your options are before making any decisions and allow an expert to help you with your case. 

    You will need to contact a criminal lawyer to help you with your legal issues as criminal law is the jurisdiction that your offence falls under. Specifically, you will need to find a traffic lawyer who deals with traffic law on a daily basis.

    Majority of driving related offences are dealt with in the Magistrates court or depending on your state, the district court. You will need to attend court in person to have your matter dealt with and to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty in relation to the offence. 

    Before you do anything, you should seek legal advice.

    Drink driving is a dangerous offence and it is viewed very seriously by the court. If you choose to operate a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol, you are viewed to not only be putting your own life in danger but also be putting the lives of those around you in danger as well. 

    But we know the situation is not always black and white and that is the beauty of the Australian legal system. People’s individual circumstances are taken into account when determining these types of matters and you will have the chance to bring your case before the court and present your defense. 

    Maybe you had a reason for getting behind the wheel while under the influence. Perhaps there was a medical emergency that required immediate attention. Perhaps you had been drinking but had also contracted either heat stroke or food poisoning and this had simply exacerbated your symptoms. There is always the possibility that you had a lapse in judgement and thought you would be still under the limit of 0.05. 

    Perhaps there is even a chance you knew you were over the limit and you chose to get behind the wheel anyway. Whatever the reason, we are here to help, not to judge.

    At the time of being charged with an offence, you would have been provided with a piece of paper referred to as a summons. This sheet will detail the charge, the particulars of the charge and the date and time the offence occurred. A date and time will also be provided for when the matter will be before the court.  

    When you appear in court, you will enter a plea of either; 

    1. Guilty; or 
    2. Not guilty.

    If you enter a plea of guilty then you are admitting that you have committed the offence and that you are taking responsibility for your actions.  You will then be sentenced or the offence. In the event you plead guilty to your offence, it will be looked upon favourably by the court because you are not only saving court resources such as time and money but you are being honest. 

    If you enter a plea of not guilty, then you are rejecting that you have committed the offence and a hearing will be set so that you can present your defence. Unless your guilt can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of your offence.

    If this is your first offence then you may be fortunate enough to receive a lighter sentence, however, it is never a guarantee. As a first time offender, you are usually afforded some leniency for your past good behaviour.

    In the event that this is a subsequent offence for you, your odds are not as good. A subsequent offence describes an offence which you have previously committed (i.e. drink driving). Usually, if you have committed subsequent offences then you will be held to a harsher standard of sentencing because you have failed to learn from your mistakes previously.

    1. Disqualification 

    Your licence can be disqualified/suspended if you commit a traffic offence for various lengths of time. Depending on what offence you commit will depend on what period of disqualification you are given. This period can be anywhere from a few months to a few years in length and can differ between states. If in doubt, contact a lawyer to see what period you might be facing. There are a range of factors which may be taken into account including; 

    • How many times you have previously been convicted of a traffic offence; 
    • What type of offence/s you have committed (i.e. speeding, drink driving, etc.);
    • If you were convicted of speeding, how far over the limit were you?;
    • If it was a drink driving offence, how far over the legal limit were you?; 
    • Were your a Learner or provisional driver at the time of the offence? Etc

    2. Loss of Demerit Points 

    In some instances, you may just lose a portion of your demerit points as punishment for your offence. This is a common punishment for those who are convicted of either speeding, low range drink driving, etc. A fully licenced driver has 12 demerit points available to them. If they lose these 12 points then they automatically have their licence disqualified. 

    Please note: If you are a learner driver or provisional driver, you are only able to accrue 4 demerit points within a 12 month period. If you accrue more than 4 points then your licence will automatically be suspended for a period of 3 months.

    3. Restricted Licence 

    In certain circumstances, it may be possible to get a restricted licence if you are looking at a period of licence disqualification. These types of licences are only awarded in very limited circumstances and it is essential to prove a specific need for one in order for one to be granted. A restricted licence may be granted in circumstances where; 

    • You will be unable to complete your work duties and will otherwise have your employment terminated;
    • You are unable to adequately transport your children to and from school or other necessary appointment/activities;
    • Other people such as elderly parents, children are reliant on your licence; etc 

    In order to obtain a restricted licence, you need to not only be able to prove your specialized need for one but you also need to undertake a liver function test. This test will demonstrate to the court whether your liver identifies a drinking problem, or a continuous abuse of alcohol. In the event it does, the court may not be satisfied that if they provided you with a restricted licence, that you would not drink and drive. If the liver function test returns a normal result which suggests irregular or insignificant alcohol use, then it is possible the court might grant you a restricted licence because they are satisfied there is a less likely chance you will abuse the privilege. 

    Bear in mind, a restricted licence only allows for driving in limited circumstances, i.e. during work hours. If you are caught driving outside these circumstances then you will both have your licence revoked, and be charged and re-sentenced.  

    Hypothetical Scenario

    Jack is charged with high range drink driving. It is his second offence but there has been a ten year gap in between charges. For this most recent offence, Jack was caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.125 which travelling down a main road. This is a serious offence because not only was Jack almost 3 times over the legal limit but he was traveling down a public road at 6:00pm on a Friday night. This is a high traffic time of day and there are both adults and children around at this time. 

    The following factors would be considered in Jack’s situation: 

    1. That he has a prior conviction for the same offence; 
    2. That he was driving in a high traffic area and endangered the lives of adults and children;
    3. That he had the option not to drive but chose to anyway.

    Possible Outcome: Jack is likely to be eligible for a suspended licence due to the nature of his offence but may be able to apply for a restricted licence. Jack is a single father who works as a delivery driver to provide for his family.

    1. Jack is not a regular drinker and would likely return a healthy liver function result; 
    2. Jack requires his licence to continue working and to take his children to school.

    If Jack loses his driver’s licence he will be unable to provide for his family and will also be terminated from his employment.

    In most circumstances, you may be able to given a period of licence suspension rather than a full loss of your licence. This means that for a period of 3, 6, 12, etc, months, you will be unable to drive, however, once that period has passed, you will have your licence reinstated and you can continue driving. 

    Hypothetical Scenario

    Leticia is out with friends having lunch when she realizes she needs to pick her children up from school. She had been having so much fun that she lost track of time and now she is going to be late to collect them. Leaving the restaurant, Leticia decides to take a few back streets to avoid the busy main roads and doesn’t think it will be as noticeable if she exceeds the speed limit a little so she can make it in time. As Leticia is rounding a corner, a police car is coming down the other side of the street. They catch Leticia doing 85 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. This is the second time Leticia has been caught for speeding in a two week period. The first time she was issued with a warning but she cannot be issued with another one yet. 

    When Leticia came around the corner, she happened to glance down at her phone and notice a text from her friend but she couldn’t properly read it from where it was in the passenger seat. Leticia picked up her phone to look at it and this was noticed by police as well.

    Leticia has now been charged with once count of speeding and one count of dangerous driving. To make matters worse for Leticia when she rounded the corner she had entered the street directly next to the school zone so there were children and parents crossing the road at the time. With the speed Leticia was driving, someone could have been seriously injured.

    Leticia had her licence suspended for a period of 6 months by way of court order.

    There are some traffic offences which will not result in a court ordered sentence for the offence. In some instances, infringement notices are given by the police on the spot upon committing a traffic infringement and you merely need to pay the fine and continue with your day. This can quite often coincide with the loss of demerit points. 

    Hypothetical Scenario

    Mandy is running late for a doctor’s appointment because she struggled to get out of work on time. She is racing down the street, not realizing that she has entered a 60 km/h zone. A police officer turns into the street behind her and sees her speeding. He pulls her over and issues her with a fine. 

    Mandy was caught doing 70km/h on the 60km/h zone. She was issued with both a fine and a loss of demerit points. The type of fine or penalty that you will receive is specific to the state you live in and will be subject to the specification of the Road Safety Act of that state, be it, NSW, Victoria, etc. 

    It is always important to remember that at high peak time of the year, i.e. Christmas, New Year, Easter and long weekends, there is an increase in the penalty for traffic infringements. Double demerit points and increased fines could be the difference between losing or keeping your licence in these instances.

    It is considered a serious offence to drive a vehicle without a valid licence or a licence at all. As an unlicensed driver you will be considered to have broken more than one law and this is a serious offence for the following reasons. 

    1. If you did not hold a licence it was because you had either not passed the test or you had lost your licence for a traffic offence;
    2. If you drive as an unlicensed driver then you are putting the lives of those around you in danger; and 
    3. If you are caught driving as an unlicensed driver with other people in the car then not only did you put your own life in danger but you put other people’s lives in danger as well. 

    These are only some of the factors which may be considered by the court but as you can see they are serious in nature.

    NSW Courts our Sydney Traffic Lawyers attend

    Street Address: 368 Darling St
    Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax:
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Direct all enquiries to Burwood Local Court

    Street Address: Cnr Chapel Road & The Mall
    Postal address and email: PO Box 71 Bankstown NSW 2200 Email
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9722 6060
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 1 Kildare Rd
    Postal address: PO Box 217 Blacktown NSW 2148
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9672 2666
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 7-9 Belmore St
    Postal address: PO Box 235 Burwood 1805
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9744 4144
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: John Street
    Postal address: PO Box 186 Camden NSW 2570
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: (02) 4657 3105
    Registry Hours: 9:30 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 3:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

    Street Address: Railway St
    Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 4629 9606
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Queen St
    Postal address: PO Box 91 Campbelltown NSW 2560
    Telephone: 4629 9777
    Fax: 4629 9744
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 98 Liverpool St 
    Postal address: PO Box 20495 World Square NSW 2000
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9264 3806
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:00
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Level 3 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
    Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9287 7543
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Level 4 Downing Centre 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney
    Postal address: PO Box A4 Sydney South 1235
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9287 7963
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Parramatta Court House 12 George Street Parramatta
    Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta 2124
    Telephone: 8688 4525
    Fax: 8688 4913
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 & 2:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Cnr Spencer St & Court Rd
    Postal address: PO Box 201 Fairfield NSW 2165
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9794 7979
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 294 Peats Ferry Rd
    Postal address: PO Box 96 Hornsby 1630
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9847 9955
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 17 Montgomery Street
    Postal address: C/- Sutherland PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 22132
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax:
    Registry Hours:
    Telephone Hours:
    Days open: All registry services are provided from Sutherland Local Court

    Street Address: 150 George St
    Postal address: PO Box 3435 Liverpool Westfields NSW 2170
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9821 7888
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 2 Belgrave Street
    Postal address: PO Box 125 Manly NSW 1655
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9934 4545
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 59 North Parade
    Postal address: PO Box 99 Mt Druitt NSW 2770
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9881 9188
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 222 Australia Street
    Postal address: PO Box 575 Newtown NSW 2042
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9577 4040
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 12 George Street
    Postal address: PO Box 92 Parramatta NSW 2124

    District Court
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 8688 9602 (Criminal) 8688 9603 (Civil)
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon-Fri

    Street Address: 2 George Street
    Postal address: Locked Bag 5113 Parramatta NSW 2123
    Telephone: 8688 1888
    Fax: 8688 1999
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
    Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4.30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: 64-72 Henry Street
    Postal address: PO Box 318 Penrith NSW 2751
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 4720 1555
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 -4:30
    Days open: Mon-Fri

    Street Address: 288 Windsor Street
    Postal address: PO Box 9 Richmond NSW 2753
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax:
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30

    Street Address: 814 Victoria Road
    Postal address: PO Box 22 Ryde 1680
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax:
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 1:00 and 2:00 - 4:00
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: all registry enquiries are to be directed to Parramatta Local Court .

    Street Address: 66-78 Albion Street
    Postal address: PO Box K303 Haymarket NSW 1240
    Telephone: 8667 2100
    Fax: 8667 2130
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    Street Address: Cnr Flora and Belmont Streets
    Postal address: PO Box 37 Sutherland NSW 2232
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9542 0244
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

    (formerly Level 5 Downing Centre)

     

    Street Address: Level 4, John Maddison Tower, 86 Goulburn St
    Postal address: PO Box K1026 Haymarket NSW 2000
    Telephone: 1300 679 272
    Fax: 9287 7188
    Registry Hours: 9:00 - 4:30
    Telephone Hours: 8:30 - 4:30
    Days open: Mon - Fri

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