Recent Cases

Negligent Driving Appeal Upheld


Our client is a 51 year old owner of a security company who lives in South-West Sydney.

He was turning right at an intersection when his car collided with an oncoming car driven by a 20-year old P-plater.

Police attended the scene, determined that our client was at-fault and later issued him with a future court attendance notice for negligent driving not occasioning death or grievous bodily harm.

He self-represented him Bankstown Local Court, where he was found guilty on the basis that he failed to keep a proper lookout for the oncoming vehicle, fined $1,500 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

He then saw us for advice and, after taking detailed instructions, it became evident there was a reasonable possibility the magistrate had made an error by finding him guilty.

We then filed an ‘all grounds appeal’ and obtained the transcript of evidence, which supported a reasonable inference that the oncoming vehicle was speeding and that our client was indeed keeping a lookout but could not have avoided the collision.

The appeal ultimately came before Parramatta District Court where we tendered detailed written submissions outlining the law and the fact that the evidence did not support a finding of guilt, especially given the absence of a prosecution expert and the conflicting evidence.

After making additional submissions, His Honour agreed that the prosecution did not prove its case to the required standard. He therefore upheld the appeal and quashed the conviction, fine and disqualification.

Another Licence Appeal Successful


Our client is a 26 year medical science student, with a part time job dropping-off medical supplies to various locations.

He has a wife and young child.

He was detected by police driving at a speed greater than 45 km/h, being 162km/h in an 80km/h zone (ie 82km/h over the speed limit).

Police pulled him over and issued him with a police suspension notice for s period of 6 months.

Despite having a number of other driving offences on his record, our client was adamant that he wished to appeal the suspension.

We assisted him to prepare a range of materials, including character references and a letter of apology – which outlined his need for a licence for work and family commitments, including taking his elderly parents to medical appointments.

The test to lift or vary an immediate police suspension is onerous, requiring the demonstration of. ‘exceptional circumstances’.

However, after making extensive verbal submissions to the presiding magistrate in Downing Centre Local Court, Her Honour saw fit to reduce the suspension from 6 months to 1 month – which was backdated to the time of the suspension.

This meant he could immediately reapply for his licence and meet his personal and employment obligations.

Not Guilty of High Range Drink Driving and Police Ordered to Pay Costs


Our client is a 35-year old IT professional who had never previously been in trouble with the law.

He made a foolish decision to drive the short distance home after a work celebration, where he had been drinking alcohol.

Police followed him for about 20 seconds before he pulled into the driveway of his home. Police interpreted this as an attempt to evade detection and turned on their lights and sirens.

Police arrested and detained him on his property, then took him out to the front of his home to administer a breath test on a ‘road related area’.

Schedule 3 of the Road Transport Act prohibits police from subjecting a person to a breath test at on a property they own or occupy (this is known as the ‘home safely rule’), which gives rise to the inference that police were trying to circumvent the requirement by taking our client to the area in front of his property.

Our client blew a positive breath test and was conveyed to the police station, where he registered a high range reading for alcohol. He was then charged with high range drink driving.

Our client attended consultations with three criminal defence firms, who each advised him to plead guilty because he was in fact tested on a ‘road related area’ and his car was only partially parked on his own property. This is despite our client showing each of them CCTV footage from outside his home, which made it clear the ‘home safely rule’ had been breached.

Police produced statements to the effect that they ‘stopped’ our client on public land and that his car was not fully on his own property, which was inconsistent with the CCTV footage.

Our advice was that the breath test was clearly in contravention of the Road Transport Act, and was therefore illegal. The certificate in respect of the breath analysis was therefore inadmissible in court, and our client’s arrest and detention were also illegal.

Our client accepted our advice an elected to take the matter to a defended hearing.

At the hearing, both officers were extensively challenged about their statements and made significant concessions when confronted with the CCTV footage. It was made abundantly clear to the court during cross-examination that the officers had lied in their statements.

The court quickly found that the breath test was unlawful and dismissed the case against our client.

We then sought an order that police pay our client’s legal costs, which was granted.

We have advised our client in relation to a civil claim for false arrest and unlawful imprisonment.

In the meantime, our client remains conviction-free and is able to continue driving.

No Criminal Record Despite Pleading Guilty to Skye’s Law


Our client is a dentist in rural NSW.

She is often required to attend several clinics in different areas on any one day.

She was rushing from one clinic to another at 150kp/h when police activated their lights and siren to pull her over. She panicked and accelerated to 216kp/h, leading police on a 3 kilometre pursuit, before pulling over.

She admitted knowing police were behind her and accelerating away, and was charged with ‘police pursuit’, ‘drive recklessly/manner dangerous’ and ‘speed by more than 45kp/h’.

Our defence team had the reckless driving and speeding charges withdrawn, and our client pleaded guilty to a single count of ‘police pursuit’. We also had the police ‘facts’ significantly amended, including the deletion of any reference to her weaving around other cars.

Her matter was then adjourned for a sentencing hearing. In preparation for the sentencing, our lawyers engaged a psychologist to prepare a report which explained the enormous stress our client was under in the weeks preceding the incident, and on the morning very morning it occurred. It also detailed her shame and remorse for having committed the offence, and the fact her actions were impulsive and committed out of panic.

We also assisted her in obtaining references and letters attesting to her invaluable contributions to local rural communities, including work she had undertaken free-of-charge for those who could not afford her services, and the enormous impact that a loss of licence would have on her and the communities she services.

Lengthy submissions were made in court relating to those and other matters, which ultimately convinced the magistrate to order a section 10(1)(b) bond in her favour – which means she has no criminal record and keeps her licence. This is despite a number of speeding and other matters being recorded on her driving history.

The case is the only recorded section 10 for a ‘Skye’s law’ matter in NSW.

Our client is able to remain conviction-free and continue to service regional communities in NSW.

Not Guilty of Negligent Driving Occasioning Death


Our client was charged with Negligent Driving Occasioning Death after being involved in a high-speed, head-on collision with another car on a country highway.

Eyewitnesses made statements to the effect that our client had been driving perfectly in the lead up to the accident, before veering in a straight line onto the wrong side of the road.

An oncoming car was unable to swerve out of the way in time, and the driver tragically sustained critical injuries as a result of the crash.

Our client spent considerable sums of money on other lawyers who each neglected to advise her of any available defence despite the fact that she failed to recollect the period immediately prior to veering onto the wrong side of the road. They each advised her to plead guilty.

To us, it was immediately obvious that she may have fallen asleep – which is a defence to charges of negligent driving, reckless driving and dangerous driving in light of the decision in Jiminez, provided that the defendant had no reason to believe he or she would fall asleep.

We referred her to a sleep clinic, where a specialist indeed diagnosed her with obstructive sleep apnoea. This previously undiagnosed condition meant that she had a higher chance of suddenly and uncontrollably falling asleep without warning. We obtained a report to the effect that there was a possibility she had fallen asleep before the collision, despite not feeling tired.

The matter proceeded to a two-day defended hearing in Young Local Court, where our client was found not guilty.

No Conviction for Drive Whilst Disqualified and State False Name


Our client is a 22-year-old law and psychology student from Bella Vista. He was driving home from the gym when stopped by police for a random breath test. At the time, he was already disqualified due to a previous major traffic offence.

Police asked him to produce his driver licence. Our client said he left it at home because he was just going to the gym.

Police then asked him to provide his name and date of birth, and our client provided false details which did not match any person on the police system.

He was then charged with ‘driving whilst disqualified’ and ‘driver or rider state false name or home address.’ He pleaded guilty to both charges.

Our lawyers assisted him to obtain various documents in preparation for his sentencing proceedings.

We made lengthy submissions in court primarily focusing on the potential effect of a criminal conviction on his intended future career in law.

Despite the fact that our client already had a major traffic offence on his record, we persuaded the Magistrate in Parramatta Local Court to deal with both charges by way of section 10 bonds – which means he has no further criminal record.

No Conviction for Driving While Disqualified


Our client is a 27-year-old stay at home mother from Sydney’s inner west.

She was 8 months pregnant when she drove to a corner shop to buy chocolate to satisfy her cravings, despite being disqualified from driving.

She was pulled over by police and foolishly provided a friend’s licence. Police saw that the licence bore no resemblance, and charged her with a further count of ‘Driving Whilst Disqualified, and also with ‘Unlawfully Possessing Australian Driver Licence’.

She was initially unrepresented and sent a medical certificate to the court requesting an adjournment. However, the Magistrate imposed a conviction in her absence and issued a warrant for her arrest.

She then sought our advice.

Our client’s traffic record showed that over the last 18 months, she received three convictions for similar offences. She was also subject to a Habitual Offender Declaration.

As she had been convicted in her absence, she was also not entitled to a discount for an early plea of guilty.

Despite this, our lawyers made compelling sentencing submissions to the effect that a further disqualification period would significantly impact on her future employment prospects and ability to care for her infant.

The Magistrate was ultimately persuaded to award her a ‘section 10’ for both offences, which means that she avoids further convictions and a further licence disqualification. The Magistrate also quashed the further Habitual Offender Declaration.

Habitual Offender Declaration Quashed Despite 6 Drive Whilst Disqualified Offences


Our client is a 54-year-old cabinet maker from Sydney’s north shore.

He came to us with six ‘Drive While Disqualified’ convictions on his traffic record. He had been the subject of previous Habitual Offender Declarations.

Being unable to drive, he had been demoted to working in a factory. He had previously been able to attend various job sites and earn a substantially greater income, and also drive his three children to various extra-curricular activities.

To his great credit, our client obtained a reference from his employer setting out his need for a licence, and also from his wife about the additional pressure she was under as the sole driver. He also completed a Traffic Offender Program and wrote a letter to the court.

With the case thoroughly prepared, we made compelling sentencing submissions highlighting our client’s circumstances and his need for a licence.

Despite our client’s record, the Magistrate was ultimately persuaded to quash the Habitual Offender Declaration.

No Conviction or Disqualification for High Range Drink Driving


The Magistrate in Parramatta Local Court awarded our 32 year old client a ‘section 10’ for high range p.c.a. which means that he avoids a criminal conviction and gets his licence back.

Our client works as an Information Technology expert in a large Sydney-based company.

He lives with his wife and young daughter in Westmead.

The family attended an event in Parramatta where our client drank a number of alcoholic drinks throughout the course of the evening.

He stopped drinking between 10.30pm and 11pm, and only drank water after that.

He ‘felt fine’, although ‘a little tired’, and commenced driving home shortly after midnight.

He was pulled over for a roadside random breath test just before 12.20am.

He blew a positive reading, and was arrested and taken to the police station where he registered a reading of 0.170.

He was then charged with high range drink driving.

He saw a number of lawyers before seeing us.

He informed us that his job requires him to drive between various branches of his company at short notice to perform IT maintenance duties, and that his position may be reviewed if he has any criminal convictions.

We asked whether his employment contract might confirm this.

He produced the relevant parts of his contract which indeed confirmed both of those matters.

We advised him to undertake a Traffic Offender Program, to gather character references (including one from a work colleague) and to prepare a ‘letter of apology’ to the court describing his remorse and the impact that a conviction would have on his career and family.

We also referred him to see a counsellor.

We provided him and his ‘referees’ with detailed advice about how to prepare references.

We obtained a positive letter from the counsellor.

In court, it took a great deal of effort to finally convince the Magistrate to award our client a ‘section 10’, and to therefore allow him to keep his licence and avoid a conviction.

He was extremely satisfied with the result because he had previously been advised that it would be impossible to achieve a section 10 in his situation.

Section 10 for Third ‘Drink Driving’ Charge


In Parramatta District Court, Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained a ‘Section 10’ ( no criminal record or licence disqualification) for a 38 year old Blacktown man who pleaded guilty to a 3rd drink driving charge was dealt with under ‘Section 10’ (i.e. without conviction, fine or disqualification).

The case was initially in Blacktown Local Court where the Presiding Magistrate had imposed a conviction, 12 months disqualification, an $800 fine and $76 court costs.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® successfully appealed that decision and our client, who needs his licence for employment, can retain his job and continue to support his wife and two young children.