McKenzie McLoughlin First (1st) in NSW – Stay of Police Suspension Low Range Drink Driving & Drive with Illicit drug present in blood
First in N.S.W
This week McKenzie McLoughlin Law successfully had a Police Suspension for Low Range Drink Driving Stayed for one month by the Local Court. It’s likely this was the first decision in the N.S.W staying a police suspension for Low Range PCA.
Our client this week had significantly been impacted in a number of ways by recent changes to legislation, after receiving an immediate Police Suspension of their driver’s licence and Penalty Notice for Low Range PCA.
Changes to Road Transport Legislation
On 20 May 2019 changes to the Road Transport legislation came into effect, empowering NSW Police to issue a Penalty Notice (instead of a criminal charge) for the following offences:
- Drive with Novice, Special or Low Range PCA (first offence)
- Drive with Illicit drug present in blood (first offence)
Offences commonly known as DUI, Low Range Drink Driving, Drug Driving.
In addition to a Penalty Notice, NSW Police will also issue a driver with an on the spot Notice of Suspension of Driver Licence for a period of 3 months.
These changes will impact heavily on many drivers who have mistakenly committed offences that have traditionally been considered less serious, drivers won’t have to face court unless they choose to, but will find themselves suspended from driving for 3 months.
A driver who is detected driving whilst suspended will be criminally charged & face jail time and large fines https://mmlaw.co/practice/drive-whilst-suspended/
Previously first-time offenders detected driving either with a Low Range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol or an Illicit drug present in their blood, were criminally charged and had to face the Local Court, but were not suspended and had a chance to obtain a non-conviction penalty at court, no disqualification and no time off the road.
Now, first-time offenders detected will be issued with a Penalty Notice & an on the spot 3-month suspension of their driver’s licence. Offenders avoid going to court and the risk of a criminal conviction but spend 3 months off the road from the time of detection.
Your Options under the new Penalty Notice Regime
- Apply to the Local Court to set aside the police suspension
- Court elect the Penalty Notice.
Neither option stays the suspension (you remain suspended) & will not be heard by a court for at least a month.
- Apply to the Local Court to both set aside & immediately stay the police suspension (you drive straight away).
The test to either set aside or stay a police suspension is “Exceptional Circumstances”. Establishing Exceptional Circumstances is a very difficult test, particularly without experienced legal advice.
What our case this week clearly demonstrates is that although the NSW Government’s clear intent is to ensure offenders spend a period of time immediately off the road, they have also preserved everyone’s right of appeal to a court. Although the test to set aside or stay a suspension is a difficult one, a properly presented case, can get you back on the road sooner. This is what McKenzie McLoughlin Law does for its clients.
Before exercising any of your court options obtain legal advice from one of our experienced lawyers, as you need to consider several things including; court electing a Penalty Notice may result in a 3 month or longer disqualification of your licence; possibly a higher fine; an admission of guilt; and possibly a criminal conviction.
With our legal advice, we can help you decide what to do if you find yourself facing a Police Suspension of your Driver Licence for 3 months. This legislation is new, don’t just speak to anyone, contact us for honest and experienced legal advice on this new regime.