When should you contact a traffic offence lawyer?

Article Katrina Beltran 26 August 2022

Let’s face it, we often take the privilege of driving at our convenience for granted, and being charged with a traffic offence can be very stressful and inconvenient. But not all traffic offences are equal, or have such a deleterious effect on our lifestyles.

Offences involving parking, traffic light, seatbelts, pedestrian crossings, Give Way practices, signalling and horns, mobile phone use while driving, wearing a motorcycle helmet, conduct as a pedestrian, wheeled devices and toys, vehicle security, lanes and merging, overtaking and obstruction are generally seen as ‘minor’ offences. These may have a penalty (fine) notice issued, and may have one or two demerit points attached to them. If you have an otherwise perfect (or close to it) driving record and the demerit points don’t stop your ability to drive, you can expediently pay the fine and drive safely into the future, rather than experience the processes and expense of going to Court. Magistrates don’t take too kindly to wasting the Court’s time with trivial matters, and the legal and time costs of taking a matter to court may exceed the actual penalty itself.

If you have been given penalty notice for an offence, and you believe a mistake has been made or there were special circumstances that led to the offending, you can request a review of the penalty notice. This may result in the penalty remaining, or withdrawn with a caution, or being cancelled.

Sometimes a minor or major traffic offence can have the effect of disrupting your life such that it prevents you from driving for a long period of time, from working, or from accessing opportunities which would otherwise be available to you. The punitive effects of the offence may far outweigh the actual penalty awarded. For example, you may need to drive as a major part of your work – if you don’t drive you lose your job. You may be a carer for a vulnerable person who needs access to a vehicle and driver for health and medical reasons – if you can’t drive, that person will suffer. You may be in a situation where a conviction to the offence has the flow on effect of you losing other licences, qualifications or opportunities. In these circumstances, it would be wise to engage a lawyer to help you navigate the situation you face.

A serious driving offence is one when a person drives a vehicle in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, death or serious injury. These offences carry severe penalties, including prison sentences, fines and vehicle sanctions. These types of offences may be multiple or subsequent offending of an offence;  driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; driving whilst disqualified or unlicenced; speeding; furious, negligent or reckless driving; predatory or menacing driving; police pursuits, failing to stop and assist, or where the vehicle is used as a weapon. If you are charged with a serious driving offence you will have to attend court, and you should engage a traffic offence lawyer.

Being charged with a serious driving offence can be very stressful in both event and consequences, however seeking advice from a lawyer in how to move forward may help alleviate some of that stress. If you find yourself in a position where you need a traffic offence lawyer, CDQ can help.  Contact our experienced team of lawyers today on Ph: 02 8556 2400 for advice regarding your particular situation, and professional representation when required.