Overview

Criminal law offences in Australia are categorised as either a summary or an indictable offence. For example, summary offences are traffic violations, malicious damage to property, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Offences which are more serious are indictable offences and these may be either minor or major indictable offences.
Generally, minor indictable offences include stalking, indecency, occasioning grievous bodily harm, criminal trespass and indecent assault. Major indictable offences include homicide, fraud and sexual offences.
The Traffic Law in NSW is a broad system of rules and regulations that governs road safety, imposes obligations to drivers and imposes penalties to individuals who commit traffic offences.
The aspect to be covered in this article is drink driving or driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”), speeding offences, unlicensed driving offences and other driving offences and how we can help you if you have been charged with a traffic offence.

Drink Driving

Driving a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content greater than the specified legal limit brings you under the purview of the offence of ‘driving with prescribed concentrations of alcohol’.
Blood alcohol content is the concentration of alcohol in blood usually measured as mass per volume. For example Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) of 0.02% means 0.02 grams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of individual’s blood.
If you hold a learner or a probationary licence, then you must have a zero BAC while driving. Whereas if you are holding a full licence, the prescribed BAC limit should be 0.05. Therefore, if you are found to be operating a motor vehicle in excess of the prescribed BAC, you will be liable for penalties which may range from suspension to cancellation of licence, fine and even imprisonment depending upon the severity of the drink driving offence committed by you.
Your BAC level can be measured by a simple breath test procedure and your refusal to undergo a Random Breath Test (“RBT”) for drink driving as requested by any member of the police force will be considered to be a serious offence.
The Traffic Law in NSW identifies five categories of Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (“PCA”) offences, which are:
(a) Novice range PCA: This applies to drivers with a BAC level over zero for novice drivers;
(b) Special range PCA: This applies to drivers with a BAC level over zero for novice drivers;
(c) Low range PCA: This applies to drivers with a BAC level of 0.05 to less than 0.08 g/100 mL;
(d) Mid-range PCA: This applies to drivers with a BAC level of 0.08 to less than 0.15 g/100 mL; and
(e) High range PCA: This applies to drivers with a BAC level of 0.15 g/100 mL or above.

Speeding Offences

A speeding offence commonly refers to an offence where a motor vehicle travels faster than the sign-posted speed limit designated for a given area.
Speeding offence is the most common contributing factor to road fatalities in NSW.
If your motor vehicle is detected by a fixed or mobile speed camera or by a Police Officer and if a penalty notice is issued to you, then you will incur a fine and licence demerit points.
Learner and P1 licence holders will have their licence suspended for at least 3 months for any speeding offence.
There are licence suspension periods, similar to the minimum disqualification periods applied by a Court. For exceeding the speed limit by more than:
(a) 30 km/h (3 months)’, and
(b) 45 km/h (6 months).
If a Police Officer catches you speeding by more than 45km/h over the limit you may have your licence immediately suspended and confiscated for 6 months.

Unlicensed Driving Offences

Unlicensed driving offences are:
(a) driving whilst disqualified, cancelled, suspended or refused;
(b) driving whilst cancelled or suspended under the Fines Act 1996;
(c) never licensed;
(d) not appropriate licence class – class of motor vehicle driven falling in class C, R, LR or MR;
(e) not appropriate licence class – class of motor vehicle driven falling in class HR, HC, or MC;
(f) driver held licence in other State or Territory but lived in NSW for 3 months;
(g) driver held a licence that had expired less than 2 years before
(h) driver held a licence that had expired 2 years or more before; and
(i) holder of a provisional rider licence drives a motorcycle with engine capacity greater than 660 cc or a power to weight ratio greater than 150 kw per tonne.

Other Driving Offences

Other driving offences include:
(a) negligent driving;
(b) negligent driving where death is occasioned;
(c) negligent driving where grievous bodily harm is occasioned;
(d) furious driving; reckless driving; driving in a manner or at a dangerous speed;
(e) fail to stop and give assistance in an accident involving death or injury; and
(f) other major offences mentioned in section 205 of the Road Transport Act 2013.

How Can We Help

Being charged with a criminal or traffic offence can be overwhelming.
It may happen that you are facing the Court for the first time and this can be a daunting task.
If you have been arrested or charged with any criminal matters for drink driving, traffic matters, and other minor offences, Owen Hodge Lawyers can help you deal with the situation and obtain the best possible outcome.
Feel free to contact our team of criminal lawyers at Sydney’s Owen Hodge Lawyers on 1800 770 780 to provide you assistance in this matter.

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