For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed by cars and motorbikes. It has not diminished over time, in fact it has been an expensive addiction. Over the years I have owned many different cars and motorbikes, and have accepted the expense as part of my passion.
The expense has been justified by the fun this past time has given me and a large part of this fun was in the driving and riding, going out on my own or with friends sharing the experience of fellow enthusiasts. These experiences have been somewhat diminished by the over policing that seems to be about today. Be it the oversimplification by the press or the mantra of Government agencies that it is speed that kills as opposed to inappropriate speed we see a growing number of possible traffic rules that can be breached.
As a criminal and traffic lawyer I see an ever increasing number of cases where the authorities can take away your ability to drive. For example allegations by police that an individual is driving dangerously or at speeds above a certain limit can result in an immediate roadside suspension, despite no guilt being established. The practical ramification of such action is that one needs to run a preliminary case before the local court arguing “exceptional circumstances” in an attempt to have the licence returned pending the substantive hearing in to the charge itself. If one was not to do that the period of suspension could have been completed before the substantive case comes to hearing.
This does not take into account the power of the Roads and Maritime Services formerly the Roads and Traffic Authority, who have authority to suspend licenses for a variety of reasons from excessive demerit points, to speeding offenses over 30kmh and 45kmh, to medical conditions. I have had numerous people contact me because they have served a period of disqualification for an offence given to them by a court only to be advised they have a further period imposed by the RMS when they have attended a registry to get their license back. These reasons can be demerit point suspensions or up to 5 years suspension
for being a habitual offender. Recent case law resulting from challenges by the RMS has influenced the ability of courts to stipulate the exact period of disqualification in some cases allowing it to be determined by the RMS.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that it could not happen to you, that as portrayed by the press it only happens to hoons. A growing proportion of my clients are older people, who are so called responsible members of the community, who get dragged into the complexities of the criminal justice system by a moment of indiscretion or inattention. People who may lose their license on the side of the road because they are traveling over the speed limit on roads that used to be 100kmh but are now 60kmh, or 40 kmh work zones on 110kmh freeway. Over the years it has been much harder to delineate between changes in speed zones. One can be traveling along a road that should be a 110 but turns out to be 80. This means that if you were traveling at 115kmh you could lose your licence for 3 months. Going out today for a fun ride or drive results in more time being spent trying to absorb a significant amount of information from multitudes of signs than concentrating on the roads.
If all that is not bad enough the various pieces of legislation that govern driving offences are numerous and can be confusing with gaps in the legislation in some instances which can be to the detriment of an offending driver. For instance we have in New South Wales the following legislation that may govern your driving and motor vehicles:
Road Transport (General) Act and Regulations,
Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act and Regulations,
Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act and Regulations,
Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Act and Regulations,
Often one has to consider more than one act where overlaps may exist that may impact on the driver.
The purpose of the articles that will follow is to share some of the information that I have developed in almost 30 years of practice as a solicitor and to give some examples of the methods by which one can get caught and the things to consider in investigating an allegation for a range of traffic and criminal offences.
Kalpage and Co Solicitors
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE, IS PROVIDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND NOT LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD SEEK LEGAL ADVICE FOR YOUR ACTUAL SITUATION
This entry was posted in Driving & Law on May 22, 2013.