Traffic Charges & Licence Appeals
Traffic offences are common causes for people to end up on the wrong side of the legal system. They affect almost everyone, and in some cases the effects can be serious, giving rise to convictions, fines or licence disqualifications.
Queensland’s road rules apply under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 and the Road Rules Regulations made under that Act. Penalties vary markedly depending on the offence involved. Minor offences, like a simple speeding offence, carry a small fine while others, like driving while disqualified, can carry substantial penalties including fines, possible periods of imprisonment and lengthy periods of disqualification from holding a driving licence.
While most people are broadly acquainted with the system of traffic penalties, the rules in this area of law are constantly changing. Osborne Butler’s traffic lawyers deal with the traffic laws every day and we know how to get the best results for our clients, with the minimum of cost and embarrassment.
Whether minor or serious, most traffic offences accrue demerit points determined under the Driver Licensing Regulations. You are allowed to accrue a specified number of points for your type of licence during the period specified in the Act.
If you exceed this limit you are required to choose between accepting a licence suspension for the relevant specified period or agreeing to be “of good behaviour” for a year. “Good behaviour” means that you must drive for a year without accruing more than one demerit point. The catch is that if you accrue 2 or more demerits during the year, your licence is suspended for double the specified period.
Clients often come to us seeking representation for traffic offences in two situations. Either they have been charged with a serious traffic offence that holds a substantial penalty in its own right, or they are facing a licence suspension.
One alternative is to challenge whether the offence has occurred. The chances of a successful challenge depend on the offence involved. Often it can be difficult to challenge police evidence of the offence because it is obtained using technical devices such as speed cameras which are operated and tested in accordance with detailed procedures. If you want to make such a challenge, you will need to provide evidence to support your case. It is important that you seek legal advice urgently to ensure that all the necessary evidence is collected while it is still fresh.
The other alternative is to accept the charge and to apply to the Court for a ‘special hardship order’ to allow you to continue to drive your vehicle at the times and for the reasons specified in the order.
The Court will only grant such an order if you can prove that you are a fit and proper person to continue to drive, having regard to your driving record. You will also need to prove that the order is required to avoid extreme hardship to you or your family because without it you will not be able to earn a living or for some other good reason. You may need ot provide supporting evidence from third parties such as your employer.
In either case, you need a lawyer who is familiar with this area of law in order to have the best chance of getting a positive outcome. If you are facing a serious traffic offence or a licence disqualification, Osborne Butler’s traffic law team can quickly advise you of the options that are best suited to your circumstances. Please contact us on 07 4041 3301 to arrange a consultation.