serious driving offences criminal lawyers

Information in relation to speed, drink and drug driving tickets

Please be aware this page only relates to people that have received a traffic ticket at first instance and are not being summoned to appear at court (that is there is no date to go to court). Please ensure you read all the examples as they cover multiple situations.

If you have a court date because police have summoned you to attend court or police have indicated that you will receive a summons in the mail, click back to the home page or select the relevant offence to the right of this page.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS REGARDING SPEED, DRINK, DRUG DRIVING INFRINGEMENT TICKETS ONLY:

I have received a demerit point offence that will mean I will lose my licence or I received a traffic infringement notice stating I must be suspended or disqualified from driving and I am guilty of the offence but I need my driver’s license for work, what can I do?

The short answer is nothing.

  • As traffic offence specialists we get this question all the time.
  • If you have accrued to many demerit points and the number of points have been added up correctly over a three year period by Vicroads then if you are accepting guilt in relation to the offence, there is nothing you can do to prevent your driver’s licence from being suspended.
  • If you have received an infringement notice for drink driving, drug driving or excessive speeding and you are guilty of the offence then you must incur the suspension/disqualification period off the road specified on the ticket, as it will be the mandatory minimum time that is legislated that you must serve, (be aware you will also incur demerit points after your suspension in relation to excessive speed offences).

Will taking the matter to the Magistrates Court allow me to ask the Magistrate to reduce the time due to family hardship or other factors?

  • Again the short answer is no, there is nothing a Judicial Registrar, Magistrate or Judge can do in circumstances where you are pleading guilty but asking the Court to reduce the mandatory minimum time off the road. The Magistrates’ hands are tied, they have no power to reduce the time you have to serve off the road even if they wanted to, you would be wasting you time and actually putting yourself at risk of having the penalty increased.

Can I get a work licence in Victoria?

Again the short answer is no.

  • In Queensland and NSW you might be able to apply for a work licence but in Victoria this is NOT possible.
  • We constantly get questions from potential clients asking how they can keep their driver’s licence when accepting guilt.
  • If there was a way it could be done we would know about it and advise accordingly, unfortunately there is not.
  • This is the law as it presently stands in Victoria.

Please consider these examples:

Example 1: (Speeding)

  • If you drove 40km over the speed limit and accept you did that, you must be suspended from driving for 6 months in the state of Victoria. This is legislated and subsequently, taking the matter to Court and engaging a lawyer will not remove that suspension period if you are guilty. The Magistrate has no power to help you avoid this period of suspension if you are pleading guilty.

Example 2: (Breach of Vicroads 12 month bond)

  • You have breached your demerit points bond with a 1 demerit point offence and are about to be suspended from driving for 6 months. You must serve your time off the road. There is nothing anybody can do to change this fact. It does not matter that you will lose your job, that is not something that the Court can take into account to reduce the period. When you plead guilty at the court the Magistrate must enter on the computer a finding of guilt in relation to the demerit point offence, this will trigger Vicroads imposing the licence suspension for 6 months. The Magistrate has no power not to impose the demerit points, that is up to Vicroads. The Magistrate only has power to find you guilty or not guilty.

Example 3: (Drink driving infringement)

  • You had a couple of wines after work and blew.07% BAC or over. It is a first offence and you received a traffic infringement notice from police. The notice indicates that you will be disqualified for 6 months as of 28 days from the notice. If you accept that you were that reading again there is nothing anybody can do for you

Example 4: (Drug driving infringement)

  • You smoked cannabis 1 day prior to being intercepted by police. They do a saliva test and it reveals cannabis in your system. You make admissions to using cannabis 1 day prior to driving. You receive an infringement notice from the police officer disqualifying you from driving for 3 months. If you accept that you are guilty in relation to the matter then you must serve your time off the road, going before a magistrate or appealing the decision will not change the outcome.

Other questions answered in relation to trying to avoid Vicroads accruing the demerit point or period of suspension against you:

What if the Magistrate imposes a non-conviction in relation to the demerit point offence?

  • It is irrelevant, even if the Magistrates finds the charge proven and dismissed under section 76 of the Sentencing Act, Vicroads will still accrue the demerit point offence against your name.

What if I wait until I get all my points back from Vicroads and then plead guilty at Court, won’t that avoid the suspension?

  • The answer is no, when you plead guilty the charge will be dated at the time of the offence and trigger whatever sanction should have occurred at that time.

I want to plead not guilty to the traffic infringement notice:

If the notice relates to a speeding offence, there are defenses available.

Things to consider in relation to challenging these types of matters:

  • Did you make admissions at the scene or did you admit that you were not sure, if so you are already on the back foot.
  • What you told police is always important in Court.
  • Is the information on the ticket correct? If not it is not fatal to the police case, these things can always be remedied at court by viva voce evidence given by the charging police officer.
  • Did the police get the right car? Sometimes police do get it wrong.
  • Did the police member show you the laser read out when requested. If not this is not fatal to the police case but might form the basis for cross examination. The police are under no obligation to show road users the speed read out.
  • Are any other standard defences open to you such as necessity, duress, factual dispute?

Laser measuring devices:

The most difficult offences to challenge are those relating to speeding offences detected by laser measuring device. They can be challenged but it is always very technical, it might involve a user error, it might involve an incorrectly signed area or a straight factual dispute to give some examples. It is always expensive to challenge these types of infringements. It can involve experts or pawing through police user manuals. Costs can range from $3000 – $10000 depending on the type of defence applicable to your situation. If an expert is required it could be more.

Radar Devices:

Radar devices are more easily challenged but again will incur a similar cost in running the matter to contested hearing.

Our advice:

  • If you have denied the offence categorically at the scene
  • In relation to speeding if the police have used a more rudimentary method to estimate your speed such as following you and estimating speed using their own speedometer
  • Or if you are absolutely bona fide in your assertion that the police have got it wrong, and you can produce evidence to the contrary, come and see us and we will contest the infringement for you.

But if you are only challenging the infringement because you will be disqualified or suspended from driving, please consider the above information.

If there is no basis to contest the matter you need to consider accepting your suspension otherwise you risk losing money fighting an unwinnable battle and still losing your licence at the end of it all.

These are the kind of outcomes we like to avoid for our clients.

Moving Forward: After considering the above information if you would like preliminary advice, you can contest the infringement, you will then be issued with a preliminary brief of evidence and from there we can give you some advice. We will charge you $440 to do this. Please be aware that if our advice is that you will have huge difficulty fighting the matter, the matter cannot then be withdrawn from Court, you will have to attend or send someone on your behalf. It is not advisable to just not show up after deciding you no longer want to contest the matter.