Skye’s law, also known as ‘police pursuit,’ was an amendment to the Crimes Act after 19 month old Skye Sassine was tragically killed during a police chase on New Years’ Eve 2009, when two alleged robbers crashed into the car that she was travelling in.
Since then, courts have treated police pursuit allegations very seriously.
However, you can give yourself the best possible defence against the charges by getting our exceptional criminal lawyers on your side.
With a proven track record of achieving great outcomes in ‘Skye’s law’ cases, we will use our knowledge and experience to ensure that you can get on with your life with the least possible disruption.
If you wish to plead guilty, our lawyers will fight to ensure that you obtain the most lenient penalty possible.
In fact, we are the only law firm to achieve a section 10 dismissal in a police pursuit case – which is when you plead guilty but there is no criminal conviction or licence disqualification.
We may even have the charges downgraded to ‘negligent driving’ or ‘speed by over 45kp/h’, which are far less-serious.
Read on to find out how our experienced lawyers can help.
Your Options in Court
Pleading Not Guilty
If you believe that you are innocent, our lawyers can help you can fight to have the charges dropped or thrown out of court.
One way to do this is to show that the prosecution is unable to prove one or more of the ‘essential elements’ of the offence – before you can be found guilty of any offence, there are certain things that the prosecution must prove.
For police pursuit cases, the prosecution has to prove four things:
- That you drove a vehicle
- That you knew or reasonably should have known that you were being pursued by the police
- That you did not stop after you realised that the police were in pursuit
- That you then drove recklessly or at a speed or in a manner that is dangerous to others
If the prosecution is unable to prove each and every one of these four elements, you will be found ‘not guilty’ by the court.
This means that if you are able to raise evidence to prove that you did not know that you were being pursued by the police, or that you did not drive in a dangerous manner or at a dangerous speed, you will be found ‘not guilty.’
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® specialises in traffic law. Our experienced lawyers consistently achieve outstanding results in these types of cases.
Our skilled lawyers can assist you in obtaining this evidence and engaging expert witnesses to give evidence in court that supports your case.
We can also help you identify any defences that can be raised to explain or justify your actions. For example, you may argue that:
- You were coerced or threatened into evading a police pursuit (duress)
- You evaded the police pursuit to prevent serious injury or danger – for example, if there was a medical emergency and you were driving someone to hospital (necessity)
- That you were reasonably mistaken as to whether you were being pursued by the police – for example, where you are being chased by an undercover police car and you were unsure whether it was a police car (reasonable mistake of fact)
If you’ve been charged with police pursuit, you should get in touch with an experienced traffic lawyer as soon as possible, as they will be able to advise you of your options when pleading ‘not guilty.’
If you don’t want to fight the charges, you can plead ‘guilty’ from the start. You will then be sentenced by the magistrate or judge, who will determine the appropriate penalty after considering all the facts and circumstances of your case.
Pleading guilty at an early stage may even be beneficial in some cases, as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.
Often, this will compel the court to give you a lighter sentence than you would have received if you were found guilty by the court following a defended hearing or trial.
However, before making a choice to plead guilty, you should speak to an experienced traffic lawyer, as there may be a way in which you can fight the charges and be found ‘not guilty.’
If you’re considering pleading guilty, you may also be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face.
Under the law, the maximum penalty for police pursuit matters depends on whether it’s your first or subsequent offence.
If it’s your first offence, the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment.
You will also face an automatic disqualification period of three years, however, our highly respected traffic lawyers can help you convince the magistrate or judge to reduce the disqualification period to 12 months where you have good reasons for requiring your licence – for example, if you need your licence for work or to transport a sick family member. Our lawyers have even achieved non conviction orders for Skye’s law cases, which means no criminal record or licence disqualification.
If it’s your second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty increases to five years imprisonment, and an automatic disqualification period of three years which can be reduced to a minimum of 12 months.
The types of penalties that the court can impose are:
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.