Driving Whilst Disqualified Not Guilty

Charges: Driving Whilst Disqualified, Drink Driving by Exceeding the PCA (prescribed content of alcohol) reading at 0.12.

Facts: The client had been to Court two and a half months ago charged with Driving Whilst Disqualified, amongst other charges. He was then picked up again.

During the client’s previous court appearance he had been disqualified from driving for a period of three months by the Magistrate, according to the Court records. We did not act for the client on that occasion.

However the client claimed that the Magistrate had indicated in open Court that he was only to be disqualified for a period of two months. We checked with the Court Co-ordinator whose printed paperwork revealed that the client was disqualified for two months on one case number and three months on a different case number. The client claimed he only received the paperwork in relation to the first case number.

It became clear that we would need to see the Court recording of proceedings for the previous Court appearance. Following receipt of the disc it was revealed the Magistrate had in fact stated two months disqualification, not three months, on both cases.

This was sufficient to allow us to have the Driving Whilst Disqualified charge withdrawn on the basis of ‘honest and reasonable mistake’. The Magistrate had allowed the defendant to leave Court under the impression that he was only suspended for two months. The client was picked up two and half months later and it would therefore be unfair for him to plead guilty to that charge.

Results: This left only the Drink Drive charge. The client had a prior matter in relation to drink driving and driving whilst disqualified.To come before the Court on both those charges so soon after the last Court appearance would have been very problematic for the client.

Fortunately the Driving Whilst Disqualified charge was withdrawn and the client received minimum time off the road and a fine in relation to the Drink Driving charge.