Click on the questions below to reveal the answer.
Can I avoid Speed Cameras / Traffic Light fines?
If you want to defend or appeal against a fine for a traffic offence or to avoid loss of demerit points you MUST NOT PAY THE FINE and you should seek urgent legal advice. Defending a speed camera or traffic light camera fine generally requires you to show that the Police equipment may be inaccurate.
We may still be able to help you avoid demerit points even if you cannot dispute the fine.
Can I reduce Demerit Points?
If you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in any three year period, you will be disqualified from driving (based on the offence date).
If you were not the driver of the vehicle when the offence occurred you should complete the Statutory Declaration provided with the fine notice. The fine and demerit points will then generally be transferred to the actual driver.
Demerit points are allocated to a range of traffic offences against the Road Traffic Act S.A. and the Australian Road Rules.
A ‘good behaviour’ bond option is first available when 12 demerit points are reached, but if you breach this bond your licence will be disqualified for twice the original disqualification period.
In some cases you can apply to have the number of demerit points reduced.
What happens if I am caught Driving whilst Disqualified or Suspended?
The maximum penalty for driving whilst suspended due to loss of demerit points or disqualified pursuant to a Court order, is imprisonment. A first offence can carry with it a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment.
In some circumstances it is possible to submit to a Court that a person should not be imprisoned and that there are good reasons to suspend any term of imprisonment.
What if I am charged with Drink Driving?
If you are found to be driving a motor vehicle with an excessive amount of alcohol in your blood (over .05) you will be charged with an offence.
The law now allows the Police to immediately disqualify you from driving where you are suspected of committing a drink driving offence. (This can also occur if you are charged with a Refuse to Submit to an Alco or Breath Test).
In some circumstances it is possible to make an application to the Court to revoke any immediate disqualification imposed by the Police, pending the resolution of the matter.
If sentenced for these offences, you are likely to incur a fine and licence disqualification. In some circumstances you can also be imprisoned. We can help you to explain to the Court why you were driving in this manner and why you should receive a minimal fine and the shortest possible licence disqualification period.
What will Scammell & Co. achieve for me?
We can provide a fearless and comprehensive defence to any charges laid against you. Where you concede to a charge we will work to persuade the Prosecution and the Court that a low penalty should be imposed. We provide realistic advice.
I have just lost my licence for drink driving. Can I get permission to drive for work purposes only?
If you are disqualified by either the police or a court, there is no option to apply for any conditional licence or exemption to the disqualification for the purposes of driving to and from work, or for any other purpose.
I have received an expiation notice and want to challenge it. What should I do? If I pay the fine, will I lose my licence?
Do not pay the fine until you have discussed your options with one of our solicitors. There is a section on the notice that you can complete entitled ‘Election to be Prosecuted’. Complete that form in a timely fashion and arrange an appointment with one of our solicitors. We can discuss with you whether you have a defence to the charge, and help you make an application for a reduction in demerit points if appropriate.
I have just had my first court appearance and the matter has been adjourned (put off to another date). Am I still on Bail?
The short answer is usually “Yes”, unless the Court formally withdraws your bail agreement. Assuming you have been arrested (not summonsed to court) you may have entered into a police bail agreement. Once you go to court and adjourn the matter, most Magistrates will say that Bail is to continue, which means you are placed on court bail for the duration of your court case.
If you are on bail, it is very important that you follow all of your bail conditions including attending every court hearing in your matter. Breaching your bail conditions is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. If you wish to have anything altered on the bail agreement – for example, you want to move house and change your bail address – you will need a solicitor to make a formal application to the court to vary your bail. We can explain your bail conditions to you.
Mouth swab / DNA tests – should I agree?
You should speak to a solicitor before agreeing to either of these procedures.
I have been charged and asked if I would like to provide a statement. Should I do this?
The safest option is usually not give a statement to police. Providing a statement is unlikely to help your case, even if you think that you can “explain everything”, and even if you believe that you are guilty of the offence and just want to “give a confession”. Do not feel pressured to provide a statement – remaining silent cannot be held against you in court. Sometimes your statement is the strongest evidence that the police have against you. Providing a statement to police may affect our ability to persuade police to drop their charges.
We are able to obtain statements, notes, CCTV footage, forensic test results and other evidence from prosecution in relation to your matter. It is important we review that material prior to obtaining your final instructions.
I have a trial at the Magistrates Court, will there be a jury?
You do not have the option of a jury trial in the Magistrates Court. A Magistrate will hear the trial and decide whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence(s). However, if you are charged with a minor indictable offence such as assault or manufacturing a controlled drug, you can elect to have a trial by jury, in which case your matter will be transferred to the District Court.
My son is 16 years old and has been charged. What are the penalties available for youth offenders?
There are many different penalty options for youth offenders. Often youths in criminal matters are ordered to attend a Family Conference. This will involve the youth’s family, the police and possibly the victim(s) of the offence(s) who meet to discuss what penalty, should be imposed. Officially all that will be recorded on your son’s record would be Family Conference. There are other options such as a formal caution, or “without conviction” that we can discuss with you. In more serious matters an obligation to be of good behaviour or a period of detention is possible – even though your child is under the age of 18 years.
The final decision on penalty is up to the Magistrate. However, if your solicitor has negotiated with Prosecution regarding the desired outcome, any agreement can be helpful in persuading the Magistrate as to what should be imposed as a penalty. Therefore, we suggest that you obtain advice from one of our solicitors at the earliest possible opportunity.
Other Offences where Scammell & Co. can assist with your defence:
- Drug Offences.
- Sexual Assault.
- Social Security / Taxation matters.
- Property Damage.