Traffic Offence Sentencing
Losing your licence
In some cases the police can suspend your licence for an offence there and then: on-the-spot. Leave your car and walk away…… A good example is for mid- and high-range drink driving offences or serious traffic offences. If you are convicted of the offence the court will then impose a disqualification period. Most of these offences carry a mandatory disqualification period. The Local Court Lawyers are in the best position to use their experience and knowledge to assess whether or not there are grounds to avoid a conviction and therefore avoid a disqualification period. If a conviction cannot be avoided then there are provisions that allow you to argue a reduction of a mandatory disqualification period to a minimum disqualification period set by legislation. We will always try and ensure that the Magistrate exercises their discretion to have any disqualification period backdated to the date that your licence was suspended (instead of the disqualification period starting on the day it goes to court).
Demerit Points suspension
Other areas of loss of licence include points accumulation on your drivers licence. In some cases points can accumulate independent of the court disqualification period. After the court disqualification period ends and you attend the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to get your licence back, you find that you now have an additional suspension to serve. In these cases the Local Court Lawyers can help. There are provisions to make an application to the court and if the circumstances warrant it, you can appeal the decision of the RMS to suspend your licence.
Habitual offenders declaration – Division 3 Road Transport Act 2013
If you have committed more then 2 major traffic offences, or other relevant offences in 5 years there will be an automatic habitual offenders declaration. This means that an extra 5 years disqualification is added onto whatever period of disqualification period the court imposes. There are grounds where such a declaration may be argued as being unjust and disproportionate having regard to your driving record and other special circumstances. The Local Court Lawyers will be able to use their experience and knowledge to assess your matter and give advice and represent you to argue those grounds for the habitual offenders declaration to be quashed.
Provisional drivers licence holders
One of the most heavily regulated driving categories is the p plater. Some of these restrictions include:
- Zero blood alcohol;
- Speed restrictions;
- Passenger restrictions;
- Engine capacity restrictions;
- Towing restrictions;
- Automatic clutch actuator restrictions; and
- Point restrictions.
From November 2017 this class of licence is going to be regulated even further. The laws for p platers are designed to reflect a Graduated Licensing Scheme that prepares our inexperienced motorists for real world road hazards to reduce serious injuries and deaths on the road. Having said that, sometimes a minor offence can cause a loss of licence due to the restrictions on points for p platers. Where a p plater has had their licence suspended due to demerit points then the Local Court Lawyers can use their knowledge and experience to help advise you of the merits of an appeal and represent you in your case before the local court. A successful appeal can get your licence back.
Licence suspension appeals
Where a licence has been suspended due to demerit points, a police suspension or some speeding offences a licence suspension can be appealed. A local court may determine that you can get your licence back if you can show that your are of good character, you need your licence for work or family reasons, or there are goods reason why the court should overturn the suspension. With other suspensions, it may be required to show the court that exceptional circumstances exist. This is a complicated application and area of law and time constraints apply. The Local Court Lawyer can help by advising you of the merits of your application and representing you in your case before the local court.
Section 10 Dismissal
Obtaining a section 10 dismissal will mean no loss of demerit points. The Local Court Lawyer can use their experience and knowledge by advising you of the merits of such an application and represent you in your case before the local court.
Representations to the police – plea bargaining
If you have exercised your right to silence, the police may not have all the facts. There may also be issues in relation to the admissibility of evidence or there is other evidence available that the police were not aware of. Once you have given your version to the Local Court Lawyers there may be a factual or legal position that can be presented to the Prosecutions Section of the NSW Police Force in writing. The Local Court Lawyers are well versed in this process and the likely prospects of success. If written submissions are successful then a charge can be withdrawn and you can avoid the expenses associated with a hearing, you may receive a less serious penalty by amending the facts sheet or the prosecution may lay a less serious charge.
The loss of your licence can have devastating effects on your life. The laws relating to traffic offences are strict and in many cases carry mandatory disqualification periods. For this reason the Local Court Lawyers will ensure that all avenues of the law are exhausted to ensure that you get the best possible result.