Driving and traffic offences are covered by the Road Transport Act 2013 and include:
- Alcohol and drug use while driving;
- Speeding and dangerous driving;
- Driver licensing; and
- Vehicle safety and registration.
Alcohol and Drug Use while Driving
These are probably the most common offences. Drink driving charges fall into 3 categories:
- Low Range : 0.05 ‐ Less than 0.08;
- Medium Range : 0.08 ‐ Less than 0.15;
- High Range : Exceeding 0.15.
If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, the Police only have to show to the Court that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Courts take these offences seriously and they usually result in the loss of license or a fine, or both depending on the degree of intoxication and your driving record.
The penalties for Dangerous Driving rage from no conviction being recorded (See “What is a Section 10”, below) to substantial fines, long term suspension of licence and even a prison sentence.
The most common issue is the loss of a license for serious offences such as dangerous driving resulting in death or injury to others, or through accumulating Demerit Points due to speeding for example.
Vehicle Safety and Registration
Driving a vehicle contrary to road worthiness or loading requirements can lead to fines, demerit points and loss of licence for both private and professional drivers.
Driving an unregistered vehicle has serious consequences for the driver as well as the community. For private drivers, this results in a fine, but for professional drivers, this will also attract Demerit Points.
Will I have a Criminal Record?
If you are convicted, most driving and traffic offences result in a criminal record. This has important implications for employment and travel. Some employers require disclosure of any criminal records and in some cases, people with a criminal record cannot be employed. Some examples include the Police or working with children. Other professions such as the health and legal professionals may have stringent licensing conditions that preclude persons with criminal records.
If you have received a criminal conviction, you will need to apply for a visa to travel to some countries such as UK or the USA. Depending on the nature of the offence and punishment, your visa application could be refused.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
The Courts take all driving offences very seriously. Holding a driver’s license is regarded a privilege rather than a right. If you have been charged with any driving offence, you may choose to represent yourself in Court. While this seems easy enough on the surface, important steps in preparing your defence may be missed and lead to a less satisfactory outcome for you. Also, just appearing in Court is stressful enough.
What Difference does a Lawyer Make?
Having a well prepared defence is vital to achieving the best result for you. The benefits of engaging a Legal Representative are that they know the law, the Courts, the way the Judge or Magistrate likes to work, and how to best prepare and present your defence. Having a lawyer appear for you reduces the stress and pressure of the court appearance. Often it is the small, seemingly insignificant items that make the difference between a satisfactory outcome for you and a criminal record.
What is a Section 10?
Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Provisions) Act provides for the Court not to record a conviction even if a guilty plea is entered. This is usually given in special circumstances where there are mitigating factors. But this is rarely appropriate for High Range drink driving offences.
We can help you with the Court procedures, what evidence to present and how best to present your application for a Section 10 dismissal where appropriate, thus avoiding you having a criminal record.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with one of our Beecroft traffic lawyers.