June 24, 2013

Driving Offence Case Studies

Sydney road where our driving offence case studies can occur

Review real driving offence case studies in which O’Brien Solicitors have acted. See the results we have achieved with these traffic offence cases and what our clients have said about us.

GA – Successful sentencing appeal for grandmother

GA was charged with several driving offences after the car she was driving collided with the victim’s motorcycle. At her initial sentencing hearing, the Magistrate ordered a licence suspension and sentenced her to home detention. We assisted GA in appealing her licence suspension on the ground that it was too harsh. During the appeal, the defence submitted that the circumstances surrounding the accident and the mental health of GA meant that the initial sentence was inappropriate. The judge quashed the local court sentence, imposing a suspended sentence instead.

Key terms: dangerous driving – first offence – sentencing hearing – successful appeal

GSH – Strong sentencing submissions for actor

GSH was charged with driving with a high concentration of alcohol in his blood following a collision with a parked car. GSH pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity. We represented GSH in his sentencing hearing where he highlighted the unique circumstances of his situation. The defence submitted that a jail sentence was unreasonably harsh and would affect his application for permanent residency and his opportunity to continue working in his field as an actor after all the hard work he had put in after moving to Australia. GSH was sentenced to a good behaviour bond, a fine and a suspension of his licence.

Key terms: Drive with high range PCA, Section 110(5)(a) Road Transport Act 2013 – first offence – early plea of guilty – good behaviour bond, Section 9 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

MAS – Client given non-conviction order after pleading guilty to driving with low range PCA

MAS was driving along a dark road when he collided with the back of another vehicle. When the police asked MAS to perform a breath test they found a low reading of alcohol. He pleaded guilty to driving with a low range of PCA and cooperated fully with the police. We represented MAS in his sentencing hearing where submissions were made regarding our client’s remorse and the fact that he had successfully undertaken a Traffic Offender Intervention Program. He was given a non-conviction order.

Key terms: Drive with low range PCA (first offence), Section 110(3)(a) Road Transport Act 2013 – non-conviction order conditional on good behaviour bond, Section 10(1)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

NJDClient found not guilty of driving under the influence

NJD was charged with driving under the influence after she veered into several parked cars. The charges were based on a number of witnesses who claimed that our client had appeared to be affected by drugs or alcohol. During the contested hearing, an expert report concluded that the small traces of methylamphetamine found in NJD’s system was insufficient to support the finding that our client’s driving ability was adversely affected. As a result NJD was found not guilty.

Key terms: Drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, Section 12(1)(a) Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 – traces of methylamphetamine – pharmacology report – elements of offence could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt – double jeopardy prevents re-prosecution

GOS – Client pleaded guilty to lesser driving charge

GOS was charged with driving a motor vehicle recklessly which was unsupported by the evidence. GOS pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of driving a motor vehicle negligently and was sentenced to a relatively lenient fine.

Key terms: Drive a motor vehicle furiously, recklessly or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public, Section 42(2) Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 – drive a motor vehicle negligently (not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm), Section 42(1)(c) Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 – plea of guilty

BDA – Sentence downgraded after successful appeal

BDA pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. He was convicted and sentenced to a 12 month good behaviour bond and disqualified from driving for 12 months. The defence appealed the decision on the basis of severity. We assisted BDA in submitting character references that made it clear that the license disqualification would impact on his employment. The appeal was successful and BDA’s sentence was downgraded.

Key terms: Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, Section 117(1)(b) Road Transport Act 2013 – disqualification of licence – good behaviour bond, Section 9 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 – severity appeal – back-date licence disqualification – conditional non-conviction order, Section 10(1)(b) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999

MHX – Defence assists client with pre-sentencing report

Our client was charged with a high range drink driving offence after colliding with a parked car. After pleading guilty, the defence assisted MHX in obtaining a pre-sentence report which supported the defence’s submission that MHX should avoid a custodial sentence. He was sentenced to a good behaviour bond, community service and his licence was disqualified.

Key terms: Drive with high range prescribed concentration of alcohol, Section 110(5)(a) Road Transport Act 2013 – not give particulars to owner of damaged property, Section 287(1) Road Rules 2008 – plea of guilty – representation at sentencing

MVK – Successful appeal of sentence in relation to negligent driving charge

We represented MVK in his appeal hearing against his sentence in relation to a charge of negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. We submitted that the licence disqualification prevented MVK from using both the scooter (which he had been learning to ride and had caused the accident) and his car. It was argued that the disqualification of his car licence was unreasonable and would adversely affect him. The appeal was upheld and the licence disqualification was reduced.

Key terms: Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, Section 117(1)(B) Road Transport Act 2013 – severity appeal – minimum disqualification period imposed

REClient discharged of low-range drink driving charge

RE was pulled over after police saw RE performing illegal U-turns. Her roadside breath test returned a low-range alcohol reading. She was discharged from the charge on the condition that she entered into a good behaviour bond.

Key terms: Drive with low range presence of prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA), Road Transport Act 2013 Section 110(3)(a) – only just over – Oxford Street – conditional discharge and good behaviour bond, Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 Section 10(1)(b)

LCHabitual traffic offender declaration quashed

LC had previously been declared as a habitual traffic offender declaration. She had turned her life around and wanted to return to her former employment, however, she needed a driver’s licence to do so. We assisted LC in getting her habitual traffic offender declaration quashed and as a result LC was able to reapply for her licence.

Key terms: Habitual traffic offender declaration, Road Transport Act 2013 Section 217 – mental illness, substance abuse – appeal – declaration quashed

MS No conviction recorded against budding actor

MS had 4 glasses of wine over a 5.5 hour period at a friend’s house. Believing that she was safely under the alcohol concentration limit, she proceeded to drive. She was pulled over as part of a random breath test and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after her blood alcohol reading was above the legal limit. She pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity. We represented MS in her sentencing hearing where we argued that MS’ licence was crucial to her ability to work in Sydney and that a conviction would affect her career prospects. The sentencing judge ordered that no conviction be recorded against her.

Key terms: Driving under the influence of alcohol, Road Transport Act Section 110(3)(a) – random breath test – no conviction

JG – Driving charges dealt with by way of mental health provisions

JG was involved in an accident after his vehicle ran into the back of a truck. A hospital blood test revealed the presence of amphetamines in his blood stream. We represented JG where we argued that his case should be dealt with by way of the relevant mental health provisions. JG’s case was that he took amphetamines for his ADHD as he was not prescribed with any medication for his condition. A psychological report and psychiatric report supported this argument. The Local Court Magistrate agreed with the defence’s submissions and dismissed the charges under the relevant mental health provisions.

Key terms: Driving under the influence of drugs (amphetamines); s.32  Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990; defendant discharged; dismissal of charges

MB Successful appeal of client’s sentence

MB was charged with and pleaded guilty to negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. She was fined $400 and her licence was disqualified for 12 months in the Local Court. MB appealed the sentence arguing that it was too severe. The defence presented evidence that the licence disqualification would unduly affect her ability to work. The District Court upheld the appeal and dismissed the case and no disqualification was imposed.

Key terms: Negligent driving occasioning bodily harm; District Court appeal; Section 10 dismissal, no conviction recorded; no disqualification

PK Client receives lenient fine after driving without a licence

PK was charged with driving without a licence after driving his wife to the doctors without a licence. PK pleaded guilty. He received a lenient $200 fine and avoided losing his licence.

Key terms: Drive without a licence; plea of guilty

RRR – Client successful appealed conviction and sentence

R was breathalysed by police when he was driving his car following a social event. He returned a breath analysis reading above the legal limit, and was charged with low range PCA. He pleaded guilty to the charge, and was given a penalty of 3 months licence disqualification and a $700 fine. We successfully helped R in appealing the conviction arguing that his sentence was too severe. The District Court upheld the appeal and the initial conviction and sentence was quashed.

Key terms: Low range PCA; appeal in the District Court; Section 10(1)(a) dismissal

IC – Non-conviction ordered for client charged with mid-range PCA   

C was charged with mid-range PCA after she was caught driving over the speed limit. We assisted C in her sentencing case by gathering a number of character references. A positive case was put forward during her sentencing hearing which resulted in a non-conviction on the condition that she enter into a good behaviour bond.

Key terms: Mid range PCA; driving under the influence; section 10 dismissal; no conviction recorded

KPP Finding of not guilty after defence successfully argues that client did not cause collision as alleged by police

KPP was involved in a motor vehicle accident at an intersection and was subsequently charged by police for negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm. The police alleged that KPP had caused the collision by turning into the path of an oncoming vehicle. However, KPP disputed this arguing that it was in fact a car colliding with her from behind that forced her into the path of the oncoming vehicle. The defence successfully argued this case where it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that the collision had been caused by KPP’s negligence. KPP was found not guilty.

Key terms: Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm; s.42(1)(b) Road Transport Act 1999; plea of not guilty; charge dismissed

ALTaxi driver charged with low range PCA avoids losing licence

The police conducted a random breath test to which AL was subsequently charged with low range PCA. He pleaded guilty to the charge. We represented AL in his sentencing hearing where we made submissions that Al needed his licence due to his employment as a taxi driver. The charge was dismissed without conviction on the condition that he enter into a good behaviour bond.

Key terms: Special category driver drive with special range PCA 1st offence; plea of guilty; Section 10(1)(b): 2 year good behaviour bond

IS – Defence submissions for sentencing hearing

Two Rangers were in front of IS’ vehicle when he accelerated causing the bonnet to impact both Rangers. No one was injured. He was charged with several driving offences. The defence negotiated with the police to have the withdrawal of one charge. He pleaded guilty to another with the defence assisting with his sentencing case.

Key terms: Drive vehicle recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous; negligent driving; plea of guilty; fined

VD – No conviction recorded for client charged with driving with low range PCA

VD was charged with driving with low range PCA. After pleading guilty, the court discharged VD on the condition that they enter into a good behaviour bond.

Key terms: Low range PCA; section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999; good behaviour bond

KR – Lenient sentence given to client charged with high range PCA

KR was charged with driving with high range PCA. The defence assisted with the preparation of KR’s sentencing case which included the compiling of positive character references. This resulted in a relatively lenient fine.

Key terms: High range PCA; fine

JECharges dismissed without conviction

Our client was caught deflating the tyre of a police vehicle and so he was charged with destroying or damaging property. After pleading guilty we successfully represented JE in his sentencing hearing where the court made an order for the charge to be dismissed on the condition that he enter into a good behaviour bond.

Key terms: Drive without licence; not guilty; honest and reasonable belief

 If you have been charged with a driving offence and require legal advice, contact us on (02) 9261 4281.