Most traffic offence charges against a person are generally made under the Road Safety Act 1986 and the Road Safety Road Rules 2017. Much like other criminal offences, a person charged with a traffic offence should receive a charge sheet and a police brief detailing the circumstances of the offence.
In other criminal law matters, the element of a guilty mind or criminal intention must exist. However, in traffic offence matters, the element of criminal intention is somewhat different and instead takes form as strict liability or absolute liability. This means that the prosecution will not have to prove that the offender had a guilty mind at the time of the offence.
Traffic offences will commence in the Magistrates’ Court and go through their relevant rules and procedures. However, offences such as dangerous driving causing death, culpable driving and negligent driving causing injury are dealt with on a more serious level and will not be dealt with as a summary offence.
First and foremost, you will be directed to a contest mention hearing and you will need to address to the Court whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty to the charges. For your legal representative to prepare for this hearing, you need to provide them with all relevant information.
Your legal representative will present to the Court on your behalf advising that you will be entering a plea of guilty. Your legal representative will likely ask for character references as a part of the plea to provide evidence to the Court as to your character and you standing in the community. Character references can come from family, friends, employers, or anyone else you have a close association with who can attest to your character.
Your legal representative will construct a strong argument to present to the Court and present all relevant evidence that will work in your favour. The main purpose of the plea is to argue that the Magistrate exercise leniency in determining the case and the sentence.
It is extremely important to know, however, that the Magistrate has discretion in determining your sentence. A plea of guilty will not automatically entitle you to a lenient sentence, especially if the Magistrate does not believe it is appropriate in the circumstance.
Traffic offences often result in financial penalties (fines), demerit point penalties, suspension or disqualification of licence, impoundment of your vehicle, and/or a road trauma awareness education program. The Road Safety Act however does also allow the Court to impose imprisonment as a sentence in the more serious offences and cases. The Court may also record a conviction alongside any sentence imposed on you.
Since 2014, if a person’s licence has been cancelled due to drink driving, it is required to install an alcohol interlock in any vehicle for at least 6 months for a first offence, and for up to 4 years for more serious and repeat offences.
The Court may sentence a licence suspension if they deem it as appropriate according to the facts of the case before them. This will depend on the nature of the offence, the timing of the offence and whether you have any prior convictions.
However, under the Road Safety Act, certain offences carry a mandatory licence suspension. Drink driving offences, high end speeding offences will result in a mandatory licence suspension period. Further, police have power to immediately suspend a licence for combined drink and drug driving offences, and this suspension will last until the Court hearing where further sentencing may be imposed.
|Concentration of alcohol in blood in grams per 100 millilitres of blood or in breath in grams per 210 litres of exhaled air||First offence||Subsequent offence|
|less than .05||3 Months||12 Months|
|.05 or more but less than .07||6 months||12 months|
|.07 or more but less than .08||6 months||14 months|
|.08 or more but less than .09||6 months||16 months|
|.09 or more but less than .10||6 months||18 months|
|.10 or more but less than .11||10 months||20 months|
|.11 or more but less than .12||11 months||22 months|
|.12 or more but less than .13||12 months||24 months|
|.13 or more but less than .14||13 months||26 months|
|.14 or more but less than .15||14 months||28 months|
|.15 or more but less than .16||15 months||30 months|
|.16 or more but less than .17||16 months||32 months|
|.17 or more but less than .18||17 months||34 months|
|.18 or more but less than .19||18 months||36 months|
|.19 or more but less than .20||19 months||38 months|
|.20 or more but less than .21||20 months||40 months|
|.21 or more but less than .22||21 months||42 months|
|.22 or more but less than .23||22 months||44 months|
|.23 or more but less than .24||23 months||46 months|
|.24 or more||24 months||48 months|
|Exceed speed limit by 25 kilometres per hour or more, but less than 35 kilometres per hour||01 Months|
|Exceed speed limit by 35 kilometres per hour or more, but less than 45 kilometres per hour||06 months|
|Exceed speed limit by 45 kilometres per hour or more||12 months|
|Any speed of 130 kilometres per hour or more that is not covered by item 1, 2 or 3||01 months|
For re-licencing applications, the Court must be satisfied that you have completed a Behaviour Change Program and a licence restoration assessment. Granting re-licencing is at the discretion of the Court and is not guaranteed.
Your matter is to be applied for and listed for hearing not more than 28 days before your suspension expires. The matter will then be heard by the Court 28 days after you have made the application.
Be aware, for drink driving and combined drinking and drug driving offences, the installation of an alcohol interlock for the specified time is a condition for re-licencing.