Josh Smith Legal are experts in all areas of traffic law. In Victoria, traffic law and driving charges can often result in severe penalties, such as long driver’s license suspensions, heavy fines and in some cases imprisonment.
Josh Smith Legal understand that all traffic charges are stressful and we pride ourselves on treating every case individually and with compassion. We never stop fighting to achieve the best possible result for all of our clients, regardless of what type of traffic law case they are dealing with.
We also have a proven success rate in beating different traffic cases in court.
1. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING OFFENCES:
- Drink driving and Section 85 Notices of immediate suspension
- Drug driving (DUI)
- Excessive speeding
- Refuse to provide breath test or oral fluid
- Drive whilst suspended or disqualified
- Careless driving and Dangerous driving
- VicRoads demerit points
A drink driving offence occurs when someone drives a motor vehicle with more than the prescribed legal amount of alcohol in their breath.
The legal limit of blood alcohol content (‘BAC’) for most fully licensed drivers in Victoria is 0.05%, meaning that one can legally drive with a BAC of less than 0.05%.
For drivers on probationary license and learners permits, the BAC limit is zero.
The good news is that there are defences to drink driving charges.
A lot of people, including lawyers, wrongly assume that drink driving charges cannot be beaten in court. This can lead to some people pleading guilty to drink driving charges and facing a penalty despite them having had a potential defence.
Fortunately, at Josh Smith Legal we have firsthand experience in successfully defending drink driving charges in court, proving that it can be done.
The key is to ensure that you have a lawyer who is experienced in defending drink driving charges (as opposed to simply pleading guilty to them) and is prepared to do the hard yards to study the evidence and the legislation and to fight on every conceivable issue to give you the best chance possible of beating the charge in court.
Section 85 Notice of Immediate Suspension:
In certain drink driving Police can issue a Section 85 Notice of Immediate Suspension. The effect of this is that someone’s driver’s license is immediately suspended, even before the matter reaches court.
Section 85 suspensions are often imposed in ‘high-range’ drink driving cases, such as when someone has a blood alcohol reading of .10 or higher. They can also be imposed in drug driving cases and certain excessive speeding cases.
This can be devastating, as you can literally be driving one minute and then the next minute, your driver’s license is suspended.
Fortunately, it is possible to appeal Section 85 suspensions and have your driver’s license reinstated whilst the charge is yet to be dealt with by a court.
Josh Smith Legal has a wealth of experience in appealing Section 85 suspensions and getting people back on the road, often enabling them to return to their jobs, look after their families and attend to various other critical aspects of life for which we rely on a valid driver’s license.
Drug driving can occur in 2 broad ways, namely:
- When someone is caught driving with an illicit drug in their system, such as methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine etc; or
- When someone is caught driving with a prescription drug in their system, such as Xanax, but who has not been prescribed that drug.
Police can detect drugs in one’s system in a variety of ways, but the main way in which they do so is by random saliva testing.
Penalties for drug driving:
One of the harshest aspects of drug driving penalties is that they involve mandatory driver’s license disqualification.
In the case of a first time offender, the minimum driver’s license disqualification period is 6 months; and in the case of a second or subsequent offence, the minimum disqualification period is 12 months.
These disqualification periods are mandatory, meaning that as soon as a court finds you guilty of drug driving, your driver’s license has to be automatically disqualified for at least the minimum period.
Excessive speeding cases:
Excessive speeding cases are exactly that – cases where drivers exceed the legal speed limit. Victoria has some of the harshest penalties in Australia for excessive speeding, often resulting in lengthy and mandatory driver’s license suspensions.
Penalties – mandatory driver’s license suspensions:
Excessive speeding is divided into 4 categories of speed which attract different mandatory periods of suspension, and they are:
- Speeds between 25kmh and 34.9kmh over the speed limit – 3 months minimum suspension.
- Speeds between 35kmh and 44.9kmh over the speed limit – 6 months minimum suspension.
- Speeds 45kmh or more over the speed limit – 12 months minimum suspension.
- Any speed of 130kmh or more but which does not fall into one the above 3 categories (such as speeding at 133kmh in a 110kmh speed limit) – 3 months minimum suspension.
The above periods of suspension are mandatory minimums, meaning that your driver’s license has to be suspended for at least the minimum prescribed period.
Excessive speeding is yet another area of traffic law where many people and lawyers mistakenly claim that it is impossible to beat speeding cases. This is not the case.
Josh Smith Legal always look for any possible defence to a speeding case to maximise our chances of beating the charge. We work backwards to search for any issue, big or small, which we might be able to use lawfully to our client’s advantage rather than assuming that there is no defence.
Josh Smith Legal not only knows what legal issues to look for when defending a speeding case, we also know and have worked with some of the most renowned experts and traffic law barristers in this state who can help to identify defences and legal issues on behalf of our clients.
If you have recently received an excessive speeding charge or infringement notice, please don’t be disheartened when you inevitably hear from lots of people that you have no hope of defending the case in court and just have to suffer a driver’s license suspension. Instead, call Josh Smith Legal immediately so that we can get to work and try to put together a plan of attack to beat the charge in court!
Refuse to provide breath test or oral fluid sample:
The charge of Refuse to provide a breath test or oral fluid sample (put simply, ‘Refuse’) can broadly occur in two ways:
- Breath tests: When a driver refuses to undergo a preliminary breath test (‘PBT’) or an evidentiary breath test (‘EBT’) when requested to do so by Victoria Police in order to determine their blood alcohol content.
- Oral fluid samples: When a driver refuses to provide a sample of their oral fluid (ie saliva) upon request by Victoria Police in order to determine whether the driver has drugs in their system.
Drive whilst suspended or disqualified:
Driving whilst suspended or disqualified is a pretty simple offence – if your driver’s license has been suspended or disqualified, then you are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle, and if you do you have committed an offence.
The penalties for drive whilst suspended or disqualified can include:
- A term of imprisonment up to 2 years.
- A substantial fine.
- A further period of driver’s license suspension or disqualification.
Dangerous driving and careless driving:
Dangerous driving and careless driving are two separate offences.
Dangerous driving involves someone driving a motor vehicle in a manner or at a speed which is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
The test of whether someone’s driving was ‘dangerous’ will come down to an assessment of the manner, speed and circumstances in which someone has driven.
Careless driving: Careless driving generally involves a driver who has failed to exercise the degree of care and attention to their driving which is expected of a reasonable driver.
VicRoads demerit points:
Drivers with a Victorian driver’s license have a maximum number of demerit points they are allowed to incur before their license is suspended. For fully licensed drivers, the maximum number of demerit points is 12. For a P plater, the maximum number is 5 points.
If a driver exceeds their maximum number of demerit points in a given period of time, their license may be suspended.
If your driver’s license is at risk of being suspended, do not hesitate to contact Josh Smith Legal so that we can give you sound legal advice. There are often solutions to these problems which can result in your driver’s license NOT being suspended, but often people don’t realise this when they don’t get proper and experienced legal advice.