Court: Southport Magistrates Court
Solicitor: Erin Mitchell
Date: January 2019
Our client was charged with driving over the middle alcohol limit but not over the high alcohol with a reading of 0.12%.
Our client sought our advice prior to the first mention of his matter. At that time we advised him to undertake the QTOP program in circumstances where he had a number of previous convictions for like offending. We also recommended he seek assistance or a referral from his GP to address any mental health issues or alcohol issues prior to his sentence and provided him with a character reference guide so he could obtain a few references from family and friends.
We appeared with him at the first mention of the matter and adjourned the proceedings to enable him to undertake these preparations. In circumstances where he had engaged a lawyer, that first court appearance was very swift and he did not have to sit at court for a length period, missing out on work.
Prior to his sentence we met with him again and discussed the allegations against him and the circumstances surrounding the offending. We also sought his instructions in relation to his lengthy traffic history which included a total of six previous drink driving offences across Queensland and New South Wales, many of which were mid to high range drink driving offences. Fortunately, most of those offences occurred decades ago and as such we could make submissions to the court that little weight should be placed on them.
However, our client also had a more recent high range drink-driving conviction from 2013, which was just outside the relevant five year period. As such, he avoided the increase in both penalty and minimum disqualification.
If his previous conviction had been within 5 years, he would have faced a minimum 9 month disqualification commencing the day of his sentence. Accordingly, the relevant disqualification was between 3 to 12 months.
Our client was technically eligible for a work license but realised that his personal circumstances – being self-employed and able to find some work – combined with his concerning traffic history, meant that his prospects were extremely low.
At sentence, we addressed the court on all of the relevant mitigating features and ultimately secured an outcome of a $500 fine and the minimum three month disqualification. Our client was so relieved that he would have his licence back sooner than expected and be able to resume driving to work in just a few months.
This matter illustrates the benefits of obtaining early advice from a lawyer experienced in traffic law who could apply the law properly to the client’s personal circumstances. An optimal outcome was obtained because of careful preparation and a strategic approach to assessing options.
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.