At Corney and Lind, we understand that even a simple traffic charge can change your life, and possibly the life of your family. What many think is a simple area of law is actually quite complex. This means that defending or representing yourself in a traffic matter can quickly become a daunting ordeal. In most cases, people who choose to self represent end up with a less favourable outcome in many cases simply because of inadequate paperwork or submissions in the courtroom.
Our focus in traffic matters is to get you the best outcome possible, ensuring that the consequences on your daily life are minimal.
Drink Driving, Drug Driving or Driving Under the Influence results in an automatic disqualification of your license. However, there are legitimate avenues to minimize the period of disqualification you may receive, including the possibility of work licences (please see below). Due to the seriousness of some offences, it is imperative to have competent legal representation during your hearing.
A charge for driving unlicensed will usually result in a period of disqualification, except in limited circumstances. It is normally very difficult to prevent at least a small disqualification period for driving unlicensed. Our goal when representing you in these matters is to minimise the period for which you will be off the road. Additionally, if you were charged for driving on a recently expired license, you may be able to avoid suspension altogether.
A Dangerous Driving charge usually results from serious accidents or Driver Negligence, where there has been significant injury to either people or property. It is a Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) offence and carries harsher penalties than the more minor charge of careless driving – up to and including 14 years imprisonment. In matters dealing with dangerous driving, elements such as the road condition and nature, the number of persons and vehicles, the speed of the vehicle and the presence of intoxicating substances in the driver’s blood should be taken into account. Proving that the vehicle was not operated dangerously is key in avoiding or mitigating serious penalties.
Careless driving, or driving without due care and attention are more minor charges, and an offences under the Traffic Act 1949 (Qld). The maximum penalty for an offence of this nature is $4,000.00 and 6 months imprisonment, but the Courts will usually issue fines unless there has been a systematic habit of infringement. If this is the case, adequate legal representation is especially key – there are significant evidentiary considerations for these charges, and in many cases it is the word of one person against another. Your lawyers will be able to assist not only at trial, but in preparing and drafting your evidence and the documents required at your hearing.
If you have been charged with a alcohol or drug related offence in Queensland while driving, you may be eligible for a Restricted or Special Hardship licence. This will allow you to still drive your vehicle for work or under certain conditions, and for many people this can be the difference in keeping or losing their job.
Obtaining a restricted or special hardship licence can be difficult as there are a number of conditions you must meet. Please contact our office for further information.
With the new “hooning” laws in Queensland, police have many powers previously unavailable to impound or cause the permanent forfeiture of a motor vehicle. There are two types of hooning offences; the more serious “Type 1” and the less serious “Type 2”.
Type 1 generally involves evading police, street racing or causing unnecessary noise. Type 2 includes driving a modified vehicle that does not comply with safety standards, driving while under a suspension order or exceeding the speed limit by more than 40km/h.
If your vehicle is impounded, you may be able to apply to the court for release. Reasons for this include financial hardship, not giving consent for use of the vehicle, or that there were no reasonable grounds for the impoundment/forfeiture. These arguments are normally quite complex, and require thorough preparation. We especially counsel against self-representation in the case of vehicle impoundment.
If you wish to appeal against a general disqualification of a licence, or against a fine for the accumulation of demerit points (especially if it will mean suspension of your licence), it is wise to seek at least initial legal advice. The arguments around licence disqualification are normally evidentiary in nature, and usually require detailed affidavit evidence and intimate knowledge of Traffic Law. This is especially true in the case of disqualification appeals; you are only entitled to a single application per year so best make it count.
Many do not realise that SPER have a very broad range of powers in relation to enforcement of penalties and sentences until they fall victim to them. If you are having issues with your SPER account or would like advice in relation to the possibility of opening a SPER account, obtaining adequate legal advice can be the difference between losing something valuable (for example, your licence) or convincing them to delay enforcement.
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