Traffic Law & Driving Matters

We have expert and detailed knowledge of all NSW road transport legislation and associated regulations, as well as the conceptually difficult laws of evidence.

We apply the same degree of expertise, diligence and determination to every one of the traffic offences that we defend, whether a ‘major traffic offence’ that attracts a custodial sentence (e.g. dangerous driving, drink driving, negligent driving occasioning death or GBH, driving while disqualified/suspended/cancelled), to less serious matters such as traffic infringements that attract a maximum penalty of a fine and demerit points.

A conviction for a ‘major traffic offence’ results in mandatory licence disqualification.

If a driver has convictions for three ‘major traffic offences’ in five years, Roads and Maritime Services disqualifies the driver from holding a licence for five years under a Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration in addition to any period of licence disqualification ordered by the court.

We can make an application to the Local Court to have Habitual Traffic Offender Declarations quashed.

  • Dangerous Driving
  • Drink Driving/PCA Offences
  • Drive while license suspended/cancelled/disqualified
  • Negligent Driving
  • Police Persuits
  • Speed Camera Offences
  • Speeding Offences

COMMON TRAFFIC OFFENCES

Dangerous Driving

Driving in a manner dangerous involves driving on a road or road related area that creates a real or potential danger to the public. The driving must in reality be actually or potentially dangerous, and not merely speculatively. The court will take into account not only the actual amount of traffic present on the road at the relevant time, but also the amount of traffic that might reasonably be expected to be on the road.

Drink Driving/PCA Offences

Drink driving involves driving a vehicle (or riding a motorcycle), or sitting in the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempting to put the vehicle in motion, with more than the prescribed concentration of alcohol in your breath.

In relation to Drink Driving matters, we have access to supremely qualified Pharmacological Experts who provide us with opinions/reports highly regarded by the judiciary. These expert opinions often provide us with evidence that enables us to have charges against our clients withdrawn (via representations to police), dismissed at hearing, or downgraded from high range to mid range and mid range to low range.

Where clients instruct us to plead guilty to PCA offences, we sometimes recommend they enroll in a drivers awareness program, or the Interlock Program to increase our prospects of achieving optimal results in relation to sentence and licence disqualification.

Novice range PCA

Novice-range drink driving relates to a breathe alcohol concentration of more than zero grams alcohol per 210 litres of breath, but less than 0.02gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath.

Maximum penalty is a fine of $1100 for a first offence and $2200 if the driver has a conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

For a first offence, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 3 months, with an automatic period of 6 months. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 6 months, with an automatic period of 12 months.

Special range PCA

Special-range drink driving relates to a breathe alcohol concentration of 0.02gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath, or more, but less than 0.05gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath.

Maximum penalty is a fine of $1100 for a first offence and $2200 if a conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

For a first offence, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 3 months, with an automatic period of 6 months. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 6 months, with an automatic period of 12 months.

Low-range PCA

Low-range drink driving relates to a breathe alcohol concentration of 0.05gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath, or more, but less than 0.08gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath.

Maximum penalty is a fine of $1100 for a first offence and $2200 if the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

For a first offence the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 3 months, with an automatic period of 6 months. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 6 months, with an automatic period of 12 months.

Mid-range PCA

Mid-range drink driving relates to a breathe alcohol concentration of 0.08gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath, or more, but less than 0.15gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath.

Maximum penalty is 9 months imprisonment and/or a $2200 fine for a first offence and 12 months imprisonment and/or a $3300 fine if the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

For a first offence, minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 3 months, with an automatic period of 6 months. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 6 months, with an automatic period of 12 months.

High-range PCA

High-range drink driving relates to a breathe alcohol concentration of 0.15gms alcohol per 210 litres of breath, or more.

Maximum penalty is 18 months imprisonment and/or a $3300 fine for a first offence and 2 years and/or a $5500 fine if the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years,

For a first offence minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 12 months, with an automatic period of 3 years. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 2 years, with an automatic period of 5 years.

Refuse breathe test

A police officer may require a person to undergo a breathe test if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that the person is or was driving a motor vehicle on a road or road related area, or occupied the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle and attempted to put the vehicle in motion.

A police officer cannot require a person to undergo a breathe test if more than two hours has elapsed from the time of driving a motor vehicle (on a road or road related area).

A police officer cannot require a person to undergo a breathe test at the person’s home.

A police officer cannot require a person to undergo a breathe test if, as a result of injuries sustained by the person, it would be dangerous to the person’s medical condition.

A driver has a defence to a charge of refuse breathe test if the driver was unable to undergo a breathe test due to a medical condition.

Maximum penalty is a fine of $1100 for a first offence and $2200 if the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

On conviction, the court has a discretion to disqualify a driver from holding a licence. No minimum disqualification period is stipulated.

Refuse breathe analysis

A police officer cannot require a person to submit to a breathe analysis if more than two hours has elapsed from the time of driving a motor vehicle (on a road or road related area).

A police officer cannot require a person to submit to a breathe analysis if, as a result of injuries sustained by the person, it would be dangerous to the person’s medical condition.

A driver has a defence to a charge of refuse breathe analysis if the driver was unable to submit to a breathe analysis due to a medical condition.

Maximum penalty is 18 months imprisonment and/or a $3300 fine for a first offence and 2 years and/or a $5500 fine if the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years.

For a first offence minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 12 months, with an automatic period of 3 years. If the driver has a prior conviction for a major offence in the preceding 5 years, the minimum licence disqualification period on conviction is 2 years, with an automatic period of 5 years.

Drive while licence suspended/cancelled/disqualified

Following the decision of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in DPP v Partridge [2009] NSWCCA 75, in relation to offences of drive while licence is cancelled, suspended, or disqualified, when the court is determining whether the offence is a ‘second or subsequent offence’ for the purpose of finding the applicable automatic licence disqualification period, prior ‘major offences’, such as drink driving or drive manner dangerous, are no longer taken into account (see section 25A Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998.

Negligent Driving

Negligent driving involves driving a vehicle on a road or a road related area without using the same degree of care that an ordinary prudent person would deem necessary in the circumstances in order to avoid injuring or damaging the property of others who may be using the road. The nature, condition and use of the road and the amount of traffic which might reasonably be expected to be on the road is taken into account.

Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm (gbh)

Where ‘negligent driving’ (see above) causes grievous bodily harm, a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment applies, with a minimum licence disqualification period of 6 months on conviction.

Negligent driving occasioning death

Where ‘negligent driving’ (see above) causes death, a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment applies, with a minimum licence disqualification period of 12 months on conviction.

Police Pursuits

On 18 March 2010, Skys Law was enacted, inserting s 51B into the Crimes Act, creating a new offence relating to police pursuits. The section applies if a driver has reasonable grounds to suspect that police are in pursuit and is required to stop, but does not stop, and then drives recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to others. The offence carries a maximum penalty of three years jail for a first offence and five years jail for a second or subsequent offence.

Speed Camera Offences

We can challenge alleged camera detected speeding infringements on your behalf by challenging the accuracy of the instrument used to record your speed.

Speeding Offences

We can challenge alleged speeding infringements detected by lidar or radar by challenging the accuracy of the lidar or radar instrument used to record your speed. We can also challenge alleged speeding infringements detected by a police officer making an estimate of your speed.

Where the speed alleged is admitted, we can seek to have the matter dismissed under section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, so that no fine is imposed and no demerit points are accumulated.