#191 Roma Drug Driving

25 Oct 2021  •  29 Views  •  4 Likes

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Join Wiseman Lawyers Traffic Lawyer Andrew Wiseman at Roma Magistrates Court as he represents a client charged with Drug Driving. Watch Andrew explain what happened in the courtroom, along with the outcome which he achieved and how he achieved it.

All right. Today, I’m at Roma Magistrates Court. Client was charged with his fourth drug-driving offence in five years. There’re two types of drug-driving, more serious is under the influence of a drug, meaning you were high on drugs. The lesser charge is relevant drug present, meaning you’ve consumed it at some point, the effects have worn off, but the trace is still present.

He was in a prime mover when intercepted. Being his fourth in five, in itself, putting him at risk of some form of imprisonment. But my client was on parole, District Court parole and Supreme Court suspended imprisonment for supply and possession of drugs. So, it was a breach of parole. Fortunately, due to negotiations with the parole board, they decided not to breach him. So with parole, if you get caught or if you get charged with something in breach of parole, the parole board have got the option of revoking parole and having you resentenced for those more serious offences. But if you’ve otherwise been doing the right thing, they’ve got the discretion to take no further steps. And that was the case.

Fortunately, he wasn’t being breached for the breach of parole, but not withstanding, the magistrate still had the fact that he was on parole in front of him, along with the fact that it was his fourth drug-driving offence in five years, but there was lengthy drug history. As I said, Supreme and District court offending, on parole for those offences, and as I said, fourth drug-driving in five years. So, jail was extremely high risk. I mean, actual custody.

So my job was primarily one of avoiding jail, but as well as that, getting disqualification down as low as possible. So worst case, as I said, is actual custody. Disqualification-wise, the maximum’s a lifetime loss of licence, so there’s no maximum. The magistrate, if they wanted to, could have given what’s called an absolute disqualification, meaning lifetime. Mandatory minimum, when you’ve got this many in five years, is 12 months.

So my job, again, was one of trying to get the disqualification down as low as possible, and one of trying to avoid actual custody. With regard to imprisonment, the magistrate’s got a number of options. If they’re convinced that they must hand down imprisonment, obviously going to jail is the most extreme form of imprisonment. Actual jail. Immediate parole is the one step short in the severity of options, which I’ve said, he’s already on Supreme and District Court parole.

The magistrate could have given him parole today, immediate parole, meaning he doesn’t go to jail, but technically he has gone to jail today, his release date, and he’s on parole for a period. He could’ve given him, what’s called an intensive correction order, meaning basically, you’re on a regimented, probation period where there’s reporting and all sorts of stuff. And one behind that is wholly suspended imprisonment, meaning a term of imprisonment is hanging over your head for a period.

So for example, if you got three months imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years, if you go two years without doing anything wrong, that three months evaporates. So, that’s the end of it but if you get charged again, the three months can drop down and you can serve it. I’ve had people in that situation of, again, of all imprisonment, but that’s not a discussion for now.

I got my client to do a number of things, get the treatment he needs for his drug dependency issues, got him to do a reformatory course, we get all of our clients to do. Got him to get some references. I prepared written submissions in case law in advance, in the event that there was a battle in keeping him out, which there was. So I referred to those written submissions while I was speaking on my feet.

Long and short of it is I was able to avoid actual imprisonment. Magistrate handed down, as I’ve indicated earlier, or alluded to, three months imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years. So, he’s not going to jail. And a 12 month disqualification, which is the minimum. So he’s off the road for 12 months. For as long as he doesn’t do anything wrong in the next two years, the three months imprisonment will evaporate.

I’m Andrew Wiseman at Roma Magistrates Court. Thanks for watching.