As from 20 May 2019, Low Range, Special Range and Novice Range drink driving together with drug driving will be dealt with by way of a Penalty Notice and 3 month licence suspension.
In some respect this new procedure will advantage an offender in not having to attend court and perhaps the expense of hiring a lawyer; however there are some real concerns as to the immediate effect a suspension can have on a person’s employment, social and family responsibilities.
Those subject to Novice Range, such as P plate drivers, must be zero. It might be a BAC reading as low as 0.01 or 0.02 – a reading which will have no effect on one’s ability to drive – arising from the night before and whilst on the way to work you are stopped by police and such result obtained. Under these new provisions, your licence will be immediately suspended and you will receive an on the spot fine.
You might be a salesman, tradie or medical person whose need for a licence is paramount and without it your job is lost.
Some will say “well you shouldn’t have been drink driving”. That of course doesn’t resolve the immediate crisis in your life when caught in this dilemma.
What should you do? Call Proctor & Associates immediately and we will assist you as to what you should do.
Bringing the matter to Court
If you want to bring the Penalty Notice to court to either defend it or obtain a “no conviction” result, you will need to go online to elect to take it to court (www.revenue.nsw.gov.au). Once you have lodged it, then you will hear back from Revenue NSW by way of a Court Attendance Notice, some weeks later, which will comprise a listed court date some weeks after that.
This will mean that you will have probably been suspended for at least 6-8 weeks before you get to court. This doesn’t solve your immediate dilemma; you need to have the suspension lifted.
Lifting of Suspension – How do I do it?
The only way that you can have your suspension lifted, is to make a separate application to the court (onlineregistry.lawlink.nsw.gov.au). To do this, you must go online and follow the prompts. Once the application is made, you will receive an email back with a court attendance date which will probably be no sooner than about 3 weeks hence.
You can now see the difficulties that can arise for an offender under this new process.
Under the previous procedures, you were not penalised until you had the opportunity to have your case tested at court by pleading not guilty or alternatively pleading guilty and try for no conviction and no disqualification. But now, that has all changed. You are effectively deemed guilty and subject to an immediate penalty and suspension.
Contact Proctor & Associates today – organize a conference and we will do the online applications for you and try to expedite bringing the application to the court to set aside your suspension.
You must understand however, that a positive result is not an easy one to achieve. You must show the court “exceptional circumstances” justifying the application for the suspension to be lifted. Your need for a job is not generally sufficient to establish exceptional circumstances. There must be more.
If you are in a situation where you might be a candidate for “no conviction” because of the low reading, circumstances of the offence and an exceptionally good record combined with a dire need for a licence, then those factors might persuade a court to grant you your application.
Driving with Illicit Dug
The same sanctions are being introduced for “drug driving”. However, owing to the delay in obtaining a lab result as to whether there is present in your oral fluid, blood or urine an illicit drug, the suspension will come later in the mail with a fine and notice of suspension from the RMS.
You will be able to take the matter to court on-line as discussed above and, unlike the drink driving sanctions, the suspension will be stayed until the matter is decided at court.
Traffic Offender Programs
You should be aware that during the time you serve the three month suspension, you will in all likelihood receive notification from the RMS that before you are eligible to commence driving again, you will be required to undergo a traffic offender program. Your suspension will continue until you have satisfied them of having completed such program.
If you find yourself in having transgressed the drink or drug driving laws, contact Proctor & Associates immediately and we will gladly assist you in resolving the matter.