Traffic & Criminal Law

We provide expert advice for a range of traffic and criminal law matters. We can help whether you have been charged with an offence or the police have attempted to question you or someone you know. We are committed to achieving great results for our clients through strong representation and by helping them navigate Australia’s complex criminal justice system. Principal, Warwick McCarthy, has years of experience in representing clients in the Local and District Courts in Dubbo and surrounding areas. We deal with a range of criminal law matters, including:

  • Traffic and driving offences
  • Drink driving and driving under the influence of drugs
  • Illicit drug offences
  • Assault and other violent offences
  • Theft and larceny offences
  • Public order offences – disorderly conduct, criminal intent, riot, and affray,
  • Apprehended Violence Orders and Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders
  • Summary and indictable matters
  • Bail applications
  • Severity and sentence appeals

Traffic Offences

In New South Wales, certain traffic offences, such as exceeding the speed limit, failing to give way, or running a red light usually attract a fine and the imposition of demerit points. The demerit system acknowledges that occasional mistakes can happen to otherwise good and careful drivers, but if too many traffic laws are broken over a specified period, a driver can lose their licence.

Some serious traffic offences, however, can result in arrest, especially if they involve more serious violations or pose a risk to public safety. Examples include reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving while disqualified. You should seek urgent legal advice in this case.

If you commit a serious traffic offence you will probably be given a Court Attendance Notice (a CAN) and your matter will be dealt with by a Magistrate in the Local Court. You will need to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty). If you plead not guilty, the prosecutor will need to prove the offence beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. As there are sentencing discounts for the early entry of a guilty plea, it is important to get advice on your matter if you are unsure of how to plead or if you are considering entering a not-guilty plea.

Drug Offences

Penalties for drug offences depend on the type and amount of drug in question. Penalties also vary depending on whether the drug was for personal use or being cultivated or trafficked. For example, if you are caught smoking cannabis, you will face a less serious penalty than if you are found using the more dangerous classes of drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.

The most serious penalties for drug offences are reserved for cultivating and trafficking the most dangerous drugs in the highest quantities. Trafficking of large commercial quantities of drugs can lead to life imprisonment and very large fines. If you have been charged with a drug offence, we recommend contacting us as soon as possible.

Apprehended Violence Orders

If you have an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you, you must follow the rules contained in it. An AVO is a civil order, however, breaching an AVO is a criminal offence and can result in a criminal record. If someone breaches an AVO, they can be arrested and charged. If convicted, an offender may be imprisoned, fined, or put on a good behaviour bond.

You can be convicted of breaching the AVO if you knowingly do something that the AVO prohibits you from doing. However, you will not be convicted if you can prove that you were not served with the AVO and you were not in Court when the order was made. You will also not be convicted if the reason you breached the AVO was because you were following an order of the Court by attending mediation with the person named in the AVO or a Property Recovery Order.

Going to Court and Sentencing

If you need to attend Court for a criminal matter, the potential outcome can be greatly improved by obtaining advice and representation from an experienced criminal lawyer. If the alleged offence is a summary offence, it will be heard in the Local Court. If it is a more serious offence, it may be referred to the District Court or the Supreme Court.

At the Court hearing, you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. We will guide you on the best course of action based on the circumstances of your case. If you plead not guilty, a trial will be conducted to determine your guilt or innocence.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the Court will proceed to sentencing, which may involve fines, community service, probation, or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence and other relevant factors. In some circumstances, the Court may also choose to dismiss the matter, despite a guilty verdict, or impose a suspended sentence with a good behaviour bond.

In deciding what is an appropriate sentence, a Court considers ‘aggravating’ and ‘mitigating’ circumstances to guide the judge or magistrate. This usually involves putting a case (submissions) to the Court and providing supporting material such as:

  • details of your character, work history, family circumstances, community involvement, etc.
  • your criminal history
  • any medical issues relevant to the offending behaviour or other plausible reasons for having committed the offence
  • for traffic matters, your reliance on a driver’s licence for work, etc., and the impact the loss of a licence has or will have on your future
  • a character reference from a respected person who is aware of the charges being made and that addresses specific aspects of the matter in light of the circumstances

If you or a friend needs expert criminal law advice, please call our office to arrange a confidential appointment.

If you need assistance, contact [email protected] or call 02 6885 0025 for expert legal advice.