Clients charged with ‘drink driving’ frequently ask: ‘If I plead guilty, can I still get a licence to drive for work purposes only?’.
Unfortunately the answer is ‘No’.
The law currently requires that any person guilty of ‘drink driving’ must be disqualified for at least the ‘minimum disqualification period’ and cannot drive at all, unless the Court grants a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order‘ which means no conviction, no disqualification and no fine.
This can present Magistrates with a dilemma: Do I let this defendant off with a ‘non conviction order’ which is too lenient, or do I give them the ‘minimum disqualification period’ which is too harsh as they may lose their job and their livelihood!
To correct this situation, on 12th March 2012 the NSW Sentencing Council prepared a report recommending the introduction of ‘Good Behaviour Licences’.
A ‘Good Behaviour Licence’ is where the Magistrate gives a driver the equivalent of a ‘non conviction order’ BUT imposes a condition that there must not be any ‘moving traffic violations’ (eg speeding, using mobile phone while driving, running a red light camera etc) for a specific period of time eg 12 months.
The Attorney General Greg Smith endorsed the recommendation which is currently being assessed by Transport NSW.
Such licences are a positive mover towards correcting the injustice of drivers getting vastly different sentences for similar ‘drink driving’ offences.