Traffic offences are among the most common offences dealt with by Local Courts in New South Wales (NSW) and Parramatta in Sydney. If you have been charged with you may be comforted by the fact that you certainly are not alone. Individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their trade or profession fall into this common error. Notwithstanding its common nature, traffic offences are serious and are always treated as such. In recent times Magistrates have been directed to take a more hard-line approach on offenders. Depending on the seriousness of the charge the consequences can be very severe, and in extreme cases may result in a term of imprisonment.
BTF Lawyers knows that it is unlikely that the average individual will not go to gaol for a Traffic offence such as drink/drug driving or speeding, though frighteningly lengthy licence disqualification periods apply. Therefore BTF Lawyers is mindful to advise all of their clients that a conviction comes with an automatic licence disqualification. Therefore the only way to avoid an automatic licence disqualification is to avoid a conviction.
There are two ways in which you can avoid a conviction:
1. Enter a plea of guilty to the traffic offence and request that the court not record a conviction (Section 10 given generally first time offenders only); or
2. Enter a plea of not guilty and successfully contest the charge.
BTF Lawyers advise that although challenging a charge in regard to a traffic offence is possible, more often than not the circumstances warrant a plea of guilty. Hence for most people obtaining a Section 10 is the only way to avoid licence disqualification.
At BTF Lawyers, Paul Foster will consult with you at your home or other mutually agreed location and the first consultation is free. At that meeting he will discuss you case provide advice to ensure that your chances of avoiding a licence disqualification or reducing the licence disqualification is maximised.
Issues to Note:
Disqualification Periods for First Traffic Offence
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of an offence of drink driving you should be aware of the following:
- A disqualification of licence is automatic; and
- The only way to avoid a disqualification is if the court deals with you pursuant to Section 10.
If you are not a section 10 candidate or the court refuses to deal with you pursuant to section 10 then:
- The court must consider the automatic disqualification period at first instance;
- The absolute minimum disqualification period is set by legislation, this is known as the mandatory minimum disqualification period;
- Most offenders find themselves receiving a disqualification period between the mandatory minimum disqualification period and the automatic disqualification period.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of an traffic offence there is only one way you can avoid a licence disqualification, and that is for the court to deal you pursuant to section 10. At BTF Lawyers we will use our experience to draw the court’s attention to certain factors which may greatly enhance your chances of a section 10. In general terms your chances of a section 10 depend on many factors, some of which include:
- The seriousness of the offence: For low range offences a section 10 is quite common. For mid-range offences a section 10 is possible but increasingly difficult to obtain. Finally for high range offences a section 10 is rarely utilized.
- Your traffic record: It is impossible to be granted a section 10 if you have been given a section 10 for a major driving offence within the last 5 years. Generally speaking the better your record the greater your chances of success.
- The manner and reason for driving: The number of passengers, whether you were involved in an accident, the reason for driving and how you were caught are all relevant. Generally speaking if your driving was uneventful and you were caught alone during a random breath test then your chances of success are greater than one breath tested following an accident.
- Your need for a licence: The court must take into account your need for licence whether it is for employment of family reasons or otherwise.