Pleading guilty to a speeding offence doesn’t always have to mean that you will lose your licence for a period of time or you will end up with a criminal conviction on your record.
You may be able to successfully obtain a Section 10 dismissal, which is a finding of guilt with no criminal conviction.
There are a number of different penalties for speeding, and a Section 10 can help you avoid a large fine or disqualification from driving.
Whether or not you will be able to get a Section 10 depends largely on the individual circumstances of the offence, your driving history and the skill and experience of your lawyer.
What is a Section 10?
A Section 10 order is a sentence handed down by the magistrate or judge after a defendant pleads guilty to an offence.
Section 10 orders can be given for a wide range of different offences.
Although they are more generally given for minor or first offences, it is possible to get a Section 10 even if you have a history of previous offences or if you have committed a more serious crime.
Under a Section 10 you will be found guilty but you won’t have a criminal conviction recorded against you or face any further penalties, except possible court costs under $100.
Getting a Section 10 for speeding means that you won’t be disqualified from driving or be required to pay a fine.
Some Section 10 orders do come with a good behaviour bond however, which means that you will need to be of good behaviour for a specified period of time, which means not commit any criminal offences including major traffic offences such as drink driving or exceeding the speed limit by more than 45km/h.
The magistrate may also place a condition that you do not commit any ‘moving traffic violations’ which means you cannot commit any further speeding offences, or offences like running through a red light or using your mobile phone whilst driving.
How can I get a Section 10 order for speeding?
There are a number of different factors the judge will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to give you a Section 10 order.
Although it is best to seek legal advice to find out whether or not you are likely to be able to get a Section 10 in your particular case, here are some of the considerations that determine whether or not a judge or magistrate will hand down a Section 10 order for a speeding offence.
- The severity of the offence. How far over the speed limit you were driving at the time of the offence and whether or not it was in a school zone will make a difference to your chances of obtaining a Section 10. Although it is possible in certain circumstances to obtain a Section 10 for more serious speeding offences, the more minor the infringement the more likely it is that your application for a Section 10 will be successful.
- Your age, character and record. Your own personal circumstances and criminal history will be evaluated when considering whether or not to give you a Section 10. Providing evidence that you are of good character and good standing in the community can make a positive difference to your chances of getting a Section 10. Your mental condition will also be evaluated, so if there were any underlying issues that could have contributed to the offence, it is worth mentioning them in court.
- Any extenuating circumstances. If there was anything out of the ordinary that led to the offence being committed, it will also be evaluated. Extenuating circumstances can include anything unusual or unexpected that happened just before you committed the offence.
- Anything else that might be considered relevant. If being disqualified from driving would affect your employment prospects, or have a negative impact on your family commitments, it is worth mentioning this in court. Having a criminal conviction can mean that you can’t work in certain occupations, travel, or obtain visas to certain countries. If this is likely to be an issue for you, the judge may grant you a Section 10 order.
If you want to obtain a Section 10 for a speeding offence it is a good idea to speak to an experienced traffic lawyer with a proven track record in successfully getting Section 10 orders for similar matters.
Getting a Section 10 for your speeding offence means that you can get back to normal life and put the court process behind you as soon as possible, and you can avoid the impact that a criminal conviction and disqualification from driving would have on your life.