Client Avoids Habitual Offender Declaration

Sutherland Local Court

Represented by solicitor, criminal defence lawyer and traffic law expert

Facts

Our client was drinking at a hotel when he became involved in an argument with his girlfriend. He left the hotel and drove his car towards home. Police detected him speeding, pulled him over and subjected him to a breath test.

The test returned a reading of 0.094. He was immediately charged with Mid Range PCA and suspended from driving.

Reluctant to tell his parents that he had been in trouble with the police, our client went back to collect his car after being released and attempted to drive it home.

On his way, he was seen making an illegal U-turn and was pulled over again.

A breath test returned a mid range reading and he was charged again with Mid Range PCA as well as Driving While Suspended.

Until this point in time, our client had an unblemished record, but as a result of the events of one night, he faced a potentially lengthy period of disqualification as well as a jail term of up to two years.

One night of madness

Our client pleaded guilty and the matter proceeded to sentencing before Sutherland Local Court. One of our criminal defence lawyers attended and argued that as our client had completed the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, had no previous criminal record and was otherwise a law abiding citizen, it would be disproportionate for him to be given a custodial penalty.

While the magistrate agreed with this, our client faced being disqualified from driving for a significant period of time and was in danger of being declared a habitual traffic offender.

Our solicitor submitted that as he had engaged in what was essentially a single night of madness, our client should be given the benefit of the doubt and only be disqualified for the shortest possible period of 12 months.

Result

The magistrate agreed to disqualify our client for a total of 12 months for all three charges and backdated the disqualification period to the date of the offences. This meant our client was able to apply for a new driver’s licence in seven months.

An application was also made for the habitual offender declaration to be quashed and this was successful, ensuring our client avoided an additional five-year period of disqualification.