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Disqualified Driving

Potts Lawyers > Our Results  > Traffic Offences > Disqualified Driving

Offences: Disqualified Driving Queensland

Charges: Driving whilst disqualified by a court order & breach of suspended sentence

Court: Southport Magistrates Court

Lawyer: Erin Mitchell

Sentence:

Disqualified driving: 2 months imprisonment with immediate release on parole

Breach of suspended sentence: 3 months imprisonment, with immediate release on parole, cumulative

Outcome:

Our client came to us with a history of disqualified driving. This offence was his 6th disqualified driving offence within just over 5 years. An aggravating feature of this case was that it was also committed whilst he was subject to a suspended sentence which meant that he had to be dealt with for the breach of that order as well as penalised for this offending.

We spoke with our client at the beginning of his matter about how serious this matter was and the high likelihood he would be required to serve a sentence of actual jail time. We provided him with advice on the steps he could take immediately to assist in reducing the changes of going to jail.

Where the matter originated in Maryborough, we were able to request the file be transferred to Southport to minimise his legal costs and in circumstances where he didn’t have a licence and it was therefore very costly to get back to Maryborough for court.

Our client took steps to undertake counselling and gain an understanding of his behaviour and address the root causes to ensure that he didn’t continue to find himself back before the Courts. We also asked him to gather character references from friends and family discussing the impact a sentence of actual imprisonment would have on his business.

In our submissions, we addressed the concerning aspects of his matter but also highlighted for the court the mitigating features present in the case. We address his previous convictions and the lessons he had learnt since this offence.

As a result of being charged with disqualified driving, our client was facing a disqualification of between 2 and 5 years. Where it was his 6th offence, we had explained the likelihood of the disqualification being at the higher end of that scale.

Where our client had been sentenced to 3 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months just weeks prior to this further offence, the starting position is that he should be required to serve the entire 3 months imprisonment. We were able to convince the Court that the 3 months’ imprisonment should be served by way of immediate parole – which meant that our client didn’t go to jail but rather is under the supervision of the parole office.

In relation to the new offence, the Court imposed a cumulative sentence (that is a penalty that is in addition to the penalty for the breach of suspended sentence). Our client was sentenced to 2 months’ imprisonment and again, was released on immediate parole. Avoiding a sentence of actual imprisonment. He was also disqualified for a further 2 years, on top of his existing disqualifications. This means that he is currently disqualified for another 4 years.

Our client was very relieved to have one final chance and to avoid a sentence of actual imprisonment.

Offence: Disqualified Driving

Court: Ipswich Magistrates Court

Date: March 2018

Overview:

Our client was disqualified from driving in October 2016 as a result of a low-range drink-drive offence.  In an eight month period our client was charged five times for driving whilst disqualified.  In October 2017 our client was convicted of driving whilst disqualified by Court order and a suspended sentence was invoked.  Our client was sentenced to four months imprisonment, released on parole on the day of sentence.  One month after our client was convicted and whilst on parole, our client was again charged with driving under the influence and driving whilst disqualified by Court order.

Our client entered a plea of guilty after obtaining legal advice.  Character references were tendered on his behalf.  Our client’s good character and longstanding involvement in the community was well documented by his character references.  In addition, submissions were made on our client’s exemplary work history in showing the court that absent our client’s traffic history he was an otherwise contributing member of society.  A pre-sentence psychological report and alcohol rehabilitation attendances were tendered.  Submissions were made that with adequate supervision and counselling our client’s risk of further re-offending could be minimised.

Submissions to prosecutions resulted in amendments to the circumstances of the driving under the influence offence, without which the penalty our client received would likely have been significantly greater.

In relation to the summary offences our client was convicted and fined $500.00.  This amount was referred to the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry.

As a result of committing a further offence whilst on parole, our client’s parole was automatically cancelled with our client being ordered to serve the remaining three months of his previous sentence.  In relation to our client’s sixth disqualified drive offence, he was sentenced to a period of imprisonment of four months, with a concurrent term of one month for driving under the influence.  In effect this meant our client was sentenced to a period of seven months imprisonment.  Whilst our client ultimately received a custodial sentence, as a result of our submissions the Court ordered that he be eligible to apply for parole on the day of sentence.  In the circumstances this was an excellent result and allowed our client to immediately apply to the parole board for release.

A disappointing feature of this matter was that our client had appeared unrepresented on his first offence, unaware that he was potentially eligible for a work licence.  Five of our client’s disqualified driving offences occurred in transit to and from work, something that could have been avoided with appropriate legal advice and a valid work licence. This highlights the necessity of obtaining legal advice prior to taking action in court.

It is a serious offence against the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act to drive a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol.  The maximum penalty under s 79 of the Act is 28 penalty units or nine months imprisonment.  This penalty increases to 60 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment for repeat offenders.  The maximum penalty for driving whilst disqualified by Court Order is 60 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for contravening a direction is 110 penalty units or one years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for fare evasion is 40 penalty units or six months imprisonment.

Offence: Disqualified Driving

Solicitor: Danielle Warren

Court: Holland Park Magistrates Court

Date: June 2017

Overview:

Our client’s car was intercepted in relation to another matter. Upon police doing checks on our client’s driver licence, the police database verified that our client’s licence was currently disqualified.

Our client had a very lengthy traffic history which included three previous drink driving offences and a conviction for dangerous driving. This was also his fifth unlicensed/disqualified driving charge within six years.  He had previously spent actual time in custody for traffic offending.  At the time of the offence, he was on parole for drink driving and disqualified driving.

Being on a bridging Visa with an application underway for permanent residency in Australia, it was extremely important that our client was not sentenced to imprisonment for longer than 12 months. This would activate a section in the Migration Act mandating his deportation from Australia (If you are not an Australian citizen, see the effects that convictions can have on your Australian Visa here).

Our client pleaded guilty to the charge of disqualified driving and a psychological report along with a number of character references were tendered on his behalf. We submitted to the court that, despite his lengthy traffic record, he was someone who was of otherwise good character and was gainfully employed.

At the sentence, a number of comparative cases were distinguished and in all of the circumstances our client received 10 months imprisonment to be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

By liaising with his parole office and providing our client with careful advice, we were able to ensure that his previous parole order was not suspended or cancelled and he therefore did not have to serve any actual time in prison.

Section 78 (Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act) Driving of motor vehicle without a driver licence

In this case, our client’s driver licence had been disqualified by a court order, so the maximum penalty was 60 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment, and the court had to disqualify his licence for a period of at least 2 years but no more than 5 years.

WARNING:

This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.

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