For too long now, many drivers in New South Wales have had to suffer the loss of their licence incurring enormous hardship for themselves, their families and often their careers because of a minor infraction of the traffic laws.
On Wednesday 1st December, 2010, the NSW State Government, apparently with strong demands by the NSW Coalition, have finally seen the light and agreed to changes in the legislation, such that if a court, although finding an offence proved, dismisses such offence pursuant to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, no Demerit Points will be entered by the RTA onto the persons traffic record.
Peter Proctor, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist from Proctor & Associates at Parramatta, says, "This is a major reform in favour of the motorists of New South Wales."
Mr Proctor continues, "I have constantly received calls from desperate motorists, looking at a bleak future owing to a minor infraction of the traffic laws whilst on a good behaviour licence, incurring two points or more and looking at a suspension of their licence for six months or more."
Mr Proctor stated that it was only two days ago, that a woman rang him in desperation wanting advice because she had received a ticket for looking at an urgent sms on her mobile phone while stationary at a set of lights and received a ticket from a Policeman. She was on a good behaviour licence and this offence carrying three points, would result in her being suspended for six months. She was a single Mother, and her job required a licence. She, like most of us, had a mortgage and other responsibilities and a loss of her job would result in her going bankrupt - all because she read an sms on her mobile phone whilst stationary at a set of lights.
"This is only one of many stories I have received from desperate motorists", said Mr Proctor. "The way the law stands at present, nothing can be done for this lady. These proposed changes will possibly give these people that one chance to survive financially by taking their matter to Court and putting their case before a magistrate."
Section 14 of the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 requires that the Authority must record in the demerit points register, against a person the number of demerit points if the person is "convicted, or found guilty" of an offence which carries points. By simply deleting the words "or found guilty" from the section, will mean that those defendants who are found "guilty" but not convicted (s.10), will not have demerit points registered against them.
Of course those who pay the fine or, by delaying payment, allow the penalty notice to go through to enforcement, will incur the demerit points in any event.
"This is one reform I have been lobbying for, for a long time," says Mr Proctor.
When a court dismisses a charge under Section 10, the court is saying you are not to be penalised. In contradiction of the spirit of such disimissal however, the legislation says, you are to be penalised and promptly registers demerit points against your traffic record.
"I congratulate the Government on this concession and the Opposition for their initiative in giving the motorists of New South Wales a big break," says Mr Proctor.
"It is to be hoped that the legislation comes into effect as quickly as possible."
Proctor and Associates
As the principal of Proctor and Associates, Peter C. Proctor has progressed through the ranks from Police officer to Police Prosecutor, Barrister and now Practicing Solicitor.
Holding an Accreditation as a Specialist in Criminal Law, Peter has a vast knowledge of all facets of Criminal Law which enables him to give you the best advice available.
As a police prosecutor for a number of years, Peter gained substantial experience on a daily basis which involved almost all areas of the Criminal Law and Traffic Law.
P: 02 9687 3777
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