Have You Been Charged with Driving Suspended or driving whilst disqualified in Melbourne?
If so we have offices located in Melbourne, Ringwood, Moorabbin, Frankston, Dandenong and Geelong with specialist traffic offence lawyers available to assist you. Our lawyers go to court everyday representing clients charged with traffic offences.
What is the difference between the driving suspended and driving disqualified?
If you have been charged with driving whilst disqualified or driving whilst suspended you are effectively facing the same charge (Section 30(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986), however there are some differences.
Driving whilst suspended often relates to driving during a demerit point suspension. The suspension is often initiated by VicRoads, whereby VicRoads send the driver a letter alerting them to the fact that their points have been exceeded and a suspension is pending.
Driving whilst disqualified usually relates to a situation where an offender has previously been disqualified by the Courts for drink driving, dangerous driving or culpable driving and is caught driving. This is considered to be the more serious offence because it has the added sting of relating to contempt of Court.
When hearing a matter Magistrates’ are always more concerned when a citizen has failed to obey the direction of a Court as opposed to a letter received in the post.
I was caught driving Whilst Suspended; do I have to plead guilty?
This is a question that can only be answered after seeking advice from a traffic solicitor that specialises in driving whilst suspended or driving whilst disqualified cases. In the right circumstances it is not unusual for us to get the charge withdrawn. It is all about considering the finer nuances of your case. The most common defence in relation to driving whilst suspended and driving whilst disqualified is that of “honest and reasonable mistake”.
If you didnt know that your licence was suspended or disqualified then you may have a defence. If you didn’t, was that belief a reasonable one to have in all the circumstances? The question of reasonableness is a question that can only be answered after speaking to an experienced legal practitioner who routinely handles these types of cases.
What are the penalties?
First time offenders can receive up to 4 months prison and 30 penalty units and second time offenders can receive up to 2 years prison and a 240 penalty unit fine.
It is unusual for an offender to receive the maximum sentence when attending Court. What commonly occurs is that magistrates exercise their discretion to suspend or disqualify an offender’s drivers licence for a period determined by the Magistrate on the day following submissions from a defence advocate.
Will I lose my licence?
There are many factors that influence whether a Magistrate will interfere with your driver’s licence on a plea of guilty to driving whilst suspended or disqualified. What is important to note is that it is discretionary, unlike many other driving offences in Victoria, a Magistrate is not bound by law to take your driver’s licence for a further period. That doesn’t mean that they won’t and their is no limit to how long a Magistrate can further suspend your driver’s licence following a plea of guilty.
Do I need a lawyer?
When you engage our services in relation to these matters we consider all aspects of your case – why you were on the road, your personal circumstances and any other factors that might tip a magistrate’s discretion in your favour. We understand that sometimes having a licence will mean you can keep your job or it might mean that your family will be able to keep their house. There can be a myriad of reasons why you as a client need to keep your driver’s licence and that is why it is so important to engage experienced solicitors to represent you at court.
Will I have to speak at Court?
If you are pleading guilty the simple answer is no, when you engage a lawyer you are engaging someone to speak on your behalf at Court.
The final factor to consider is the power of the police to impound your vehicle. If you plead guilty the police might make an application to further impound or forfeit your motor vehicle, depending on how many prior offences you have. See our information on vehicle impoundment here.
At Dribbin & Brown Traffic Lawyers we understand the critical factor for any defendant facing a driving whilst suspended charge is further licence loss. Losing your driver’s licence impacts your ability to support family, interact socially and earn money.
So in considering that proposition you should always ask yourself how much it will cost you if you lose your driver’s licence for months, or even years. Most likely it will be far more than it will cost to retain competent counsel to represent you at Court.
Call our office today. The importance of having a qualified, experienced, specialist lawyer on your side in relation to a driving whilst suspended charge when you attend Court cannot be overstated. Don’t leave your Court outcome to chance.