If you’ve recently been charged for drinking and driving, drug driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) you need an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer in your corner who is prepared to fight for you and uphold your rights under the law.
Stary Norton Halphen lawyers are experienced in defending a range of traffic offences and we are proud of our reputation as Victoria’s most knowledgeable drink driving and DUI lawyers. Do not hesitate to speak to us in regards to cases involving:
If you are facing any of these charges, get in touch with us today. You can call us on (03) 8622 8200 or contact us through our online enquiry form. For After Hours enquiries, please ring 0407 410 821.
In cases of drink driving and drug driving, there are essentially two types of offences with which you can be charged:
A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is made when a person is believed to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The person does not necessarily have to have given a positive result on a drug or breathalyser test. Instead, police and prosecutors must prove you were under the influence when driving, whether by assessing your performance on the road or through personal interaction, e.g. bloodshot eyes or slurring speech.
A Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) charge is levelled when a person is caught driving with a blood alcohol level above the legally accepted limit. In these cases, it does not matter if the person was visibly under the influence of alcohol.
If charged with either of these offences you should obtain legal advice as soon as possible to determine:
As drink driving and DUI cases vary significantly, it’s best to get in touch with a lawyer at your nearest Stary Norton Halphen office and book in a time to discuss your case so that you are aware of what might happen to you when your matter reaches Court. Here we note it is particularly important to obtain legal advice if you have prior convictions for the same or similar offence, as the risk of being imprisoned often increases if you have relevant prior convictions.
Other Driving and Traffic Offences
We also represent persons charged with numerous other driving offences ranging from the most serious offences of culpable driving, dangerous driving causing death, negligent driving causing serious injury and dangerous driving causing serious injury, to those where the consequences of the offending are not as dire, such as hoon driving and other road safety offences which can result in a loss of licence.
At Stary Norton Halphen, whether you are facing imprisonment or you are facing a loss of licence your case is important to us and we will fight hard for you.
There are a variety of reasons why people decide to fight speeding fines, including the belief that a Court has the discretion to overrule the imposition of demerit points or a mandatory suspension from driving. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Accordingly, do not elect to take a speeding fine to Court in circumstances where the offence you have committed incurs demerit points or a mandatory suspension in the hope a Court will overrule these aspects of your penalty. The Court does not have such powers. To elect to take a speeding fine to Court for these reasons is a waste of your time.
The only way to prevent a loss of licence or the incurring of demerit points when you have received a speeding fine is to successfully defend the allegation of speeding. Raising a successful defence in these matters is rare and often a costly exercise. Examples of arguable defences include demonstrating that the device used to record your speed was faulty or successfully arguing that you were not the driver of the speeding vehicle.
We understand that speeding fines can be expensive and a loss of licence frustrating, but if you elect to take a speeding fine to Court you want it to be a productive exercise where you do more than waste your own time and money. Accordingly, before you decide to take a speeding fine to Court, please remember that if you do not have an arguable defence, the Court does not have any power to prevent you from incurring demerit points or losing your licence.
Unfortunately, if you are aggrieved over a speeding fine you have received, in most instances the only thing to do is to accept the penalty and move on. Only seek professional legal help if you genuinely believe you have an arguable defence, otherwise you will in all likelihood simply be making a bad situation worse.
Careless Driving, Dangerous Driving and Reckless Conduct Endangering Life or Serious Injury
Careless driving is a low level driving offence which is often laid when a person has an accident, though an accident does not necessarily have to have occurred. A careless driving charge requires the police to establish that a person failed to exercise the degree of care and attention that a reasonable and prudent driver would exercise given the circumstances. As the maximum penalty for careless driving is a fine, the biggest issue a person faces when they are charged with this offence is that it enlivens discretion for the Court to take away their licence and automatically incurs three demerit points.
Dangerous driving is a more serious offence than careless driving. It has a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum period of disqualification of 6 months if the manner of your driving is dangerous and 12 months if you exceed the speed limit by more than 45km per hour. However, excessive speed alone will not always make out the charge. The police must establish that, having regard to all the circumstances of your case, your driving subjected members of the public to a real or potential danger.
Reckless conduct charges are not only laid when people drive in a particularly dangerous manner placing others in danger of death or serious injury. When people drive in a manner which places others in danger of death or serious injury, then a reckless conduct charge is often laid. The maximum penalty for placing a person’s life in danger is 10 years imprisonment, whereas the maximum penalty for placing a person in danger of serious injury is five years. Interestingly, there is no mandatory minimum period of disqualification from driving for these offences. However, it is our experience that those who are found guilty of these offences often lose their licences for a very long period, along with receiving a very stern penalty, such as jail or a significant amount of unpaid community work.
If you are charged with any of the offences set out above, an experienced criminal lawyer will be able to assess your prospects of successfully defending the charge and avoiding punishment or make suggestions as to an alternative charge that may be appropriately laid, which is likely to result in a lesser penalty and the potential for either a shorter period of time off the road or in some instances no loss of licence at all.
Driving while unlicensed and Driving while suspended or disqualified
Driving while unlicensed is an offence which often results in a financial penalty. However, as the maximum penalty is three months imprisonment, repeat offenders risk unpaid community work and in some instances immediate imprisonment. Further to that, those caught driving while unlicensed often end up losing their licence as part of the punishment they receive from the Court. However, suspending or disqualifying you from being able to obtain a licence is not a given; that is, the Court has discretion. In our experience, people who are charged with this offence are often in a much better position if, when they face Court, they have obtained their licence so as to demonstrate that they have rectified the problem which led to them being charged in the first place. While it does not completely protect you from losing your licence, it does place you in a much better position than you would otherwise have been in.
Driving while suspended or disqualified is an offence which has a maximum penalty of imprisonment and can result in a further loss of licence. Those facing the Court for the first time usually receive a fine. The main issue for first time offenders is usually loss of licence. Repeat offenders face harsher penalties such as unpaid community work, immediate imprisonment and lengthy periods of suspension. An experienced lawyer will first determine if you have a defence to this charge so as to avoid any penalty whatsoever, but if that is not possible, depending on whether you come before the Court as a first time offender or with multiple prior convictions, they will help you mount a case to achieve the best possible result that for your case.
If you believe your case does require legal representation, get in touch with Stary Norton Halphen. Call us on (03) 8622 8200. For After Hours enquiries, call 0407 410 821.