servicing macarthur since 1950

driving matters

 

Achieving Results You Need

servicing macarthur since 1950

driving matters

 

Achieving Results You Need

There are many types of Driving Offences that carry penalties ranging from fines, licence disqualification and, if serious enough, a term of imprisonment.

In many cases, a disqualification from holding a licence is automatically imposed upon the driver by the relevant legislation, and the Court can only reduce the mandatory period of disqualification in some situations.

Some examples of driving offences include:

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Driving in a dangerous manner (which may or may not have caused death or grievous bodily harm)

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Negligent driving

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Driving whilst disqualified

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Driving at excessive speeds

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Police pursuits (known as ‘Skye’s Law’)

The maximum and minimum penalties vary significantly depending on the nature of the charge, the driver’s previous driving record and the submissions made at court. Contact one of Caldwell Martin Cox’s experienced criminal law solicitors at any of the three offices to discuss the best possible course of action in dealing with your driving offence at court.

Drink Driving Offences

Drink driving offences are those in which your blood alcohol content when driving is higher than the prescribed legal limit. That is:

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0.00 for provisional and learner drivers

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0.02 for special range drivers

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0.05 for all other drivers

It is a criminal offence to drive when under the influence of alcohol and drink driving matters are treated seriously by the courts. Automatic periods of disqualification from driving apply depending on your blood alcohol content. 

The following penalties apply for first offence:

For Novice (Nil permitted), Special PCA (0.02) and Low Range Offences (a reading of 0.05 – 0.08) the following penalties apply:

–          A fine of up to $1,100; and

–          A licence Disqualification of between 6 – 12 mths.

For Mid-Range Offence (a reading of 0.08 – 0.15):

–          A fine of up to $2,200;

–          A licence Disqualification of between 3 – 6 mths;

–          Mandatory interlock device for a mandatory 12 mth period; and

–          Possibility of imprisonment of up to 9 months.

For High-range Offence (a reading of 0.15 and over) or refusing to provide oral analysis or blood sample:

–          A fine of up to $3,300;

–          A licence Disqualification of between 6 – 9mths;

–          Mandatory interlock device for a mandatory 24 month period; and

–          Possibility of imprisonment of up to 18 months.

**NOTE: if you have been convicted of a drink or drug driving offence or another major offence within a 5 year period then the penalties are much harsher than those described above.

A major offence may include, but is not limited to, predatory driving, police pursuits, failing to stop and provide assistance after causing injury, refusal to submit to an oral analysis/ blood sample or urine sample, causing death or GBH to another caused by use of a motor vehicle.

It is important to seek legal advice early on and obtain some advice in relation to your prospects at Court. Our firm has acted in a number of these types of matters with successful results.

INFORMATION REGARDING INTERLOCK DEVICES

Drivers convicted of either mid-range or high-range offences are required to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program.

An Interlock is an electronic breath testing device that is linked to the ignition of your vehicle. Before the vehicle is able to start a breath sample will need to take place which will analyse any presence of alcohol before the vehicle will start.

A camera is also attached to the device and each time a breath sample is given a photograph of the person giving the sample is taken. During any journey the device will randomly request further breath samples.

When your licence disqualification period is almost complete the Roads and Maritime Services will send you a letter when it’s almost time to obtain your interlock licence.

The standard cost for the interlock program is estimated at $2,200 per year and it includes:

Interlock device installation
Monthly device leasing
Regular device servicing (monthly or bi-monthly) and
Device removal at the end of the mandatory interlock period. 

For further information in relation to getting your interlock licence please click here.

For a quick reference guide please click here, or to watch a video please click here.

 

 

Drug Driving Offences

It is an offence to drive with certain prescribed illegal drugs in your system. There is no need for the Police to prove that you are under the influence of the drugs, it is purely a question of whether they can be detected. The main drugs tested for at the moment are cannabis and methamphetamines, although cocaine has recently been added and other drugs may be added to the test from time to time. Like alcohol testing, mobile drug testing is now occurring.

Unlike drink driving there is usually only a short period of initial licence suspension, normally 24 hours after initial detection, but the penalties do include a loss of drivers licence and fine. There is however, currently no jail sentence for these offences.

The following penalties apply for the first offence:

Presence of illicit drug in oral fluid/ blood or urine sample:

  • A fine of up to $1,100.00;
  • A licence Disqualification between 3 – 6 months.

For someone who has been arrested and they refuse to provide a sample or alter the outcome of an oral fluid test:

  • A fine of up to $3,300.00;
  • A licence Disqualification between 6 months – 3 years

**NOTE: if you have been convicted of a drink / or drug driving offence or another major offence within a 5 year period then the penalties are much harsher then those described above.

A major offence may include, but is not limited to, predatory driving, police pursuits, failing to stop and provide assistance after causing injury, refusal to submit to a oral analysis/ blood sample or urine sample, causing death or GBH to another caused by use of a motor vehicle.

Speeding Offences

Where you find yourself being issued with a speeding fine not in excess of 30km/h and over, although you will not receive an automatic licence suspension, the demerit points associated with the offence may well impact on your demerit point accrual.

You are entitled to challenge a speeding fine in the Local Court. Whilst there are potential benefits to this which may result in receiving a result such as a Section 10 non-conviction or bond, the downside to this is the Local Court can impose fines of up to $2,200 in this jurisdiction for speeding offences not exceeding the speed limit by 30km/hr a and a fine of up to $3,300 for seeding offences exceeding the speed limit exceeds by more than 30km/h. As a result, you may end up losing your demerit points and also paying a much higher fine.

It is important to understand that once you elect for your matter to be dealt with by Court, it cannot be revoked by you, that is once you elect for the matter to be determined by the Court and you initiate the process you are unable to change your mind.

It is important to seek legal advice early on and obtain some advice in relation to your prospects of challenging the fine at Court. Our firm has acted in a number of these types of matters with successful results.

The following penalties apply for speeding fines:

Unrestricted Licence Holders

Learning / Provisional Licence Holders

Drivers licence appeals

The law provides that both the RMS and NSW Police have the power to suspend your licence if you have either exceeded the demerit point quota or if it is alleged you have committed certain speeding offences. In some circumstances the law allows for those with suspensions to elect the matter to be determined by the Local Court.

Decisions that can be Appealed to the Local Court include:

·         RMS decision to suspend P1 and P2 licence;

·         RMS decision to suspend an unrestricted licence where they have exceeded the speed limit by more than 30km/h but not more than 45km/h; and

·         The decision of NSW Police to suspend a licence where they have exceeded the speed limit by more than 45km/h.

Decisions that cannot be Appealed to the Local Court include:

·         Holders of unrestricted drivers licence RMS decisions when you have exceeded the demerit point quota; and

·         Where a holder of an unrestricted drivers licence has breached the conditions of their Good Behaviour licence.

An appeal must be lodged within 28 days of notification of the suspension or cancellation by the RMS. If you miss the lodgement date you will not be able to appeal the decision.

It is important to understand that once you elect for your matter to be dealt with by Court, it cannot be revoked by you, that is, once you elect for the matter to be determined by the Court and you initiate the process you are unable to change your mind.

Once the matter is at Court the Court is able to do one of three things:

1.      Uphold you Appeal which will mean that your licence appeal is successful and the suspension period does not apply.

2.      Dismiss the Appeal which means your appeal is unsuccessful and you will have to abide by the suspension period.

3.      Reduce the period of Suspension which means the suspension period imposed will be reduced by the Court.

As indicated above those who hold an unrestricted licence are ineligible to appeal any such decision, however, they may apply for a Good Behaviour Licence.

A good behaviour licence is available when a person has incurred more than 13 demerit points and as such are facing a suspension period. The driver in these circumstances may elect to go on a good behaviour licence and continue to drive. During this period however, the driver must be extremely cautious as there is no room for error and they cannot commit a driving offence. In the event a driving offence is committed whilst you currently hold a good behaviour licence you will face a longer suspension period than initially prescribed.

Our firm has a good success rate with such appeals. Even if the appeal is not totally successful, in many cases the automatic disqualification period have been reduced by the Court to a more tolerable level.

Suspension of licence on medical grounds

The RMS can also cancel or suspend a person’s drivers licence if it appears that it would be dangerous for the person to drive a vehicle because of illness or incapacity.

The RMS must notify the person of this decision. The suspension or cancellation can operate immediately from the giving of that notice (i.e. the RMS does not need to provide a “warning period”.

The RMS must tell the person the reasons for the suspension or cancellation, and what action the person can take to have the licence returned.

You have the right of appeal against medical suspension/cancellation of your drivers licence. You muste lodge the appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice. please note: Lodging an appeal does not stop the suspension/cancellation of your licence.

The Court can:

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Allow your appeal. This means that your licence is returned to you;

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Disallow the appeal. This means that the RMS decision stands;

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Vary the RMS decision, for example by giving you a conditional licence.

The criminal law solicitors at Caldwell Martin Cox strongly recommend you contact a member of our team as soon as possible if you have been charged with a driving offence or had your licence suspended, to discuss your options fully.

For further information and assistance please call us to arrange a meeting at one of our three locations.

Mobile Phone Use

The laws surrounding mobile phone use whilst driving may seem a bit confusing. Through various enquires we have received these are the most noteable points.

Learners and Provisional licence Holders

Learners and Provisional licence holders are NOT permitted to use their phone or any function of their phone whilst driving. The exception is that they can:

·         Access the digital drivers licence ONLY when a Police Officer has asked them to do so; and

·         Use the wallet function on their phone ONLY when the car is stationary AND off the road (such as a carpark, a drive thru or in a driveway).

It is important to remember that connecting your phone to your vehicle by Bluetooth to play music is deemed to be using a function of the phone whilst driving.

Unrestricted Licence holders

Unrestricted drivers may use the following functions on their phone and ONLY if the phone is secured to a cradle OR the mobile phone can be operated without having to touch any part of the phone:

·         Make or receive an audio phone call;

·         Use music or audio functions; and

·         Use as a driver’s aid (Navigation Apps)

·         Access the digital drivers licence ONLY when a Police Officer has asked them to do so; and

·         Use the wallet function on their phone ONLY when the car is stationary AND off the road (such as a carpark, a drive thru or in a driveway).

The penalty for being caught using your mobile phone are as follows:

If you think that a fine has been issued incorrectly you have the right to elect for the matter to be determined by the Court. In the event you are found guilty of this offence the Local Court may impose a fine of up to $2,200.00.

It is important to understand that once you elect for your matter to be dealt with by Court, it cannot be revoked by you, that is once you elect for the matter to be determined by the Court and you initiate the process you are unable to change your mind.

It is important to seek legal advice early on and obtain some advice in relation to your prospects of challenging the fine at Court. Our firm has acted in a number of these types of matters with successful results.

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help@cmcox.com.au

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