Why you shouldn’t handle a seemingly “small” traffic offence yourself


June 4, 2016


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Although traffic offences are common and affect a larger cross section of the population, they are still viewed as serious by NSW courts. Magistrates have taken an increasingly hard-line approach to sentencing traffic offenders in recent years, resulting in large fines, lengthy licence suspensions, cancellation and even periods of imprisonment.


Notwithstanding this, many road users who are charged with a traffic offence opt to handle their matter without obtaining legal advice or representation. So is a lawyer really worth the expense?


The devastating impacts of traffic offence penalties

Many immediately dismiss the idea of contacting a lawyer assuming their legal fees would outweigh the benefit. However,  such people fail to seriously consider the devastating consequences a court imposed penalty could have on their life. Looking back, will you regret not making the investment in professional assistance when you are facing a serious fine, loss of licence or a prison term?


A period of license suspension or in extreme cases, disqualification for “life” can make it very difficult to earn income and care for household and family responsibilities. It can place limitations on a person’s freedom and social activities which may also negatively impact their self respect. Obviously when an offender is sentenced to a period of imprisonment, their life is drastically affected both for the duration of the term and beyond. A permanent criminal record can impact future employment prospects and a person’s ability to obtain visas and travel overseas.


In fact, no matter what penalty your offence carries, the value of good legal advice cannot be underestimated.


What can a lawyer do for me?

Despite its regulatory nature, a traffic offence is no less complex than a criminal matter.  The court rules regarding procedure and evidence can be complicated and making a mistake could mean that your evidence will not be admitted, or that you are prevented from taking a certain course of action.


Specialist traffic lawyers are not only familiar with the law and court procedure, they are also aware of strategies and loopholes that may be used to either have the charges dismissed, reduce the severity or nature of your penalty, or obtain orders that no conviction be recorded.


A lawyer can:


  • Advise of the potential outcomes of pleading ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’
  • Suggest a beneficial strategy to obtain the best possible result
  • Guide you through court procedure and advise you of what you need to do in court
  • Obtain and prepare appropriate evidence to support your case and tender it to the court in accordance with the court rules
  • Ensure that any evidence submitted against you was legally obtained by the Police under and challenge it where necessary
  • Draft persuasive submissions to the court to present your case in the best possible light
  • Advocate on your behalf to the judge or magistrate and make necessary objections to the prosecutor’s case


What should I do if I have been charged with a traffic offence?


If you have been charged with a traffic offence, talk to a traffic law specialist about your options. Acting quickly on reliable advice may have a significant impact on your future.