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Traffic & Criminal Law

The outcome when facing criminal charges or a serious traffic offence can be life changing and the criminal justice system is complex, confusing and often intimidating. To give yourself the best chance of answering to a criminal or traffic charge, it is important to choose an experienced professional who will defend your rights, give you common-sense advice, and guide you through the court process.

Our lawyers are skilled advocates with a sound knowledge of criminal law and the justice system. We can represent you for a range of criminal law matters including:

  • Drink driving – low, medium and high-range PCA offences
  • Dangerous/negligent driving/driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Traffic offences – speeding, driving unlicensed or while disqualified/suspended
  • Theft – from retail premises, receiving or handling proceeds of crime
  • Drug offences – possession, cultivation or dealing in illicit drugs
  • Public order offences – disorderly conduct, offensive language or behaviour
  • Fraud – obtaining benefit by deception, forgery of documents, dishonest conversion
  • Property damage – graffiti, fire, and explosion
  • Prohibited weapon offences
  • Assaults – common assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Apprehended violence orders (AVOs)

Driving and traffic offences

Most drivers have infringed more than one driving or traffic rule, whether it is inadvertently breaking the speed limit or running a red light. This usually results in a fine and a loss of demerit points and repeat offenders might lose their licence. While a loss of licence can be a serious inconvenience, the courts are often sympathetic to the difficulties that this can create and can be coerced to consider varying a decision to suspend your license.

But some traffic and driving offences are very serious, with correspondingly more serious penalties. This is particularly the case with dangerous driving offences, especially if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if someone was hurt. In that case, you can expect the offences to appear on your criminal record, and you may face large fines, loss of licence and/or a period of imprisonment.

If you have been charged with a serious traffic offence, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible, and preferably, before you have made any statement to the police.

Drug offences in New South Wales

In NSW, the penalty for drug offences depends on the type and amount of drug. The penalty also varies based on whether the drug was for personal use or was being cultivated or trafficked.

If you are caught smoking cannabis, you will face a less serious penalty than if you are found using the most dangerous classes of drugs (including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin). The most serious penalties are reserved for cultivating and trafficking the most dangerous drugs in the highest quantities. Trafficking of large commercial quantities of drugs can lead to life imprisonment and very large fines.

If you have been charged with a drug offence, speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.

Apprehended Violence Orders

If you have an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you, you must follow the rules contained in the AVO.

An AVO is a civil matter and does not result in a criminal record. However, breaching one of these orders is a criminal offence. If you breach the terms of an AVO, the police may arrest you and charge you with an offence. If you are convicted, you may be imprisoned, fined, or put on a good behaviour bond. You may also end up with a criminal record.

You can be convicted of breaching the AVO if you knowingly do something that the AVO prohibits you from doing. However, you will not be convicted if you can prove that you were not served with the AVO and you were not in court when the order was made. You will also not be convicted if the reason you breached the AVO was because you were following an order of the court by attending mediation with the person named in the AVO or a Property Recovery Order.

Going to Court

Criminal law is different to other areas of law because the stakes of being found guilty of an offence are so high. Penalties for serious crimes can be grave and you can lose your liberty for life if found guilty of certain offences.

In Australia, the law recognises the significance of the potential consequences to those charged with a criminal offence, and there are certain protections which your lawyer can help you to access. Someone accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent, and the legal system places the onus on the prosecution to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing criminal proceedings, our lawyers will work with you to decide which elements (if any) of a crime you might admit to and which you will deny. Because the prosecution must prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt, you only need to break the case at one point. It is critical that you do not admit or deny elements to the police prior to speaking to a solicitor.

If you need help, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 6642 3411 for expert legal advice.