Dangerous Driving Causing Death

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

Dangerous Driving Causing Death

What is Dangerous Driving Causing Death?

Under current South Australian law, Section 19A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935, Police can charge a person who drives a vehicle (including vessels and machinery) in a culpably negligent manner, recklessly, or at speed or in a manner dangerous that causes the death of another.

 

What Penalties are attached to this offending?

This offence has significant penalties attached, which is why it is crucial to seek legal assistance. If you enter a guilty plea or are found guilty of this (basic) offence you could face the following by way of penalty:

  • Imprisonment for up to 15 years; and
  • Disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for 10 years or longer.

If your offending is considered ‘aggravated’ by an aggravating feature (you were attempting to escape pursuit by police, you were racing, you were driving whilst disqualified, you had alcohol above 0.08 grams or drugs in your system or you were speeding in excess of 45kmph above the nominated speed limit) you could face the following by way of penalty:

  • Imprisonment for life; and
  • Disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for 10 years or longer.

 

How can Woods & Co Lawyers help me?

Woods & Co Lawyers had extensive experience in dealing with clients charged with Dangerous Driving Causing Death.  We assist you through the court process and finely examine your case for any defences that may be available. We are also experienced in negotiation with the prosecution, which may enable you to have the charges you face downgraded to a less-serious equivalent. We have had success in this area, with some past clients receiving suspended sentences or a sentence of home detention instead of actual imprisonment as an outcome. Please call our office on 8311 3111 for more information.

 

Woods & Co Lawyers experience with Dangerous Driving Causing Death?

If you would like to undertake further research, we encourage you to open the hyperlinks below, which show various media articles related to clients we have assisted for dangerous driving causing death. Note that in some of the examples we successfully had their charges downgraded.

2018http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-26/german-tourist-given-suspended-sentence-over-fatal-crash/10308818

2016https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/mark-darren-burns-jailed-for-five-months-over-inattentive-driving-that-caused-triple-fatal-crash-on-yorke-peninsula/news-story/21b0c2e8442d0ededddc444a8460a71c

2016https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-driver-bo-xi-gets-home-detention-over-fatal-crash-in-adelaide-hills/news-story/a864d66b45e6e0db6418af4ff86fb897

Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

What is Driving with a Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol?

Driving with a Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (‘PCA’) is colloquially known as ‘Drink Driving’. Many clients often confuse a ‘PCA’ charge with the charge of Driving Under the Influence (‘DUI’), which is a completely different charge.

Under current South Australian law, Section 47B of the Road Traffic Act 1961, Police can charge a person who drives a motor vehicle or attempts to put a motor vehicle into motion if their blood alcohol content exceeds the prescribed limit.

How does it all work?

PCA charges are often complicated by nature, which is why we advise seeking professional advice. To briefly summarise, each alcoholic drink (and in some cases food/mouthwash containing alcohol) will increase an individual’s alcohol content within their bloodstream. It is difficult to advise generally how much alcohol will alter your blood concentration as there are a number of external considerations such as the size and alcohol tolerance of the individual, if they’re using any prescribed medication that might influence the way alcohol reacts and if they have had anything to eat.

A Police officer can subject you to a breath analysis test (depicted above) if they believe you are driving or attempting to put a vehicle in motion. The breath analysis machine will measure how much alcohol is in your breath. Blood travels through your lungs as the main method of oxygen supply and this is how police can establish a reading. The more alcohol in your breath and blood will result in an expediential higher reading. South Australian Parliament has prescribed three ‘categories’ (for full licence holders – not provisional, learners or probational licences) which relate to a person’s alcohol content:

Category 1 0.05 – 0.08
Category 2 0.08 – 0.15
Category 3 0.15 <

What Penalties are attached to this offending?

The courts primarily deal with PCA offences by a penalty of a fine, recording a conviction and disqualifying the individual from holding or obtaining a drivers licence for a period of time.

Each category has its own respective penalties related to disqualification and fines. The following table relates to first-time offenders with no prior history of drink or drug driving within the last five (5) years only.

Category 1 (0.05 – 0.08) Disqualification: Not less than 3 months
Fine:
$1,100.00
Category 2 (0.08 – 0.15) Disqualification: Not less than 6 months
Fine:
$900.00 – $1,300.00
Category 3 (0.15 <) Disqualification: Not less than 12 Months
Fine:
$1,100.00 – $1,600.00

Please be aware if you are a repeat offender within the prescribed period penalties by way of fine and disqualification will increase exponentially. Please call our office for further advice on 8311 3111.

 

How can Woods & Co Lawyers help me?

Woods & Co Lawyers deal with this type of charge on a daily basis. We have extensive experience and knowledge related to the police procedure required when undertaking a test, the court process and particular submissions favorable to each and every Magistrate. We are able to examine your case on its own merits for any applicable defence and if you intend to plead guilty we will strive towards receiving the minimum penalties in respect of your matter.

Paedophile Restraining Orders Adelaide

Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006

At Woods & Co Lawyers we have experience in dealing with many clients who have fallen under the very harsh provisions of the National Sex Register.  One only needs to look at the so-called public view to realise that in general the public have little understanding nor patience or tolerance in this area. That might be understandable in some cases but as per usual, the net has been cast wider than you might think.

Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation out there and our Parliament has in our view failed to adequately address many of the issues.

For instance, a 20-year-old male goes out with a girl who is 16 years old and turning 17 years shortly.  They have sexual intercourse by consent. There is no complaint at the time and they continue to date for over 4 years.  Upon breaking up things turn nasty and a complaint is made of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse.  The client is charged and makes admissions.  He is on the Child Sex Register for life.  Is that really what we want in our society?  We have dealt with cases like this and would hate to think a young man would be branded a paedophile for life. 

At Woods & Co we will fight to protect your rights.  While what we do is considered unsavory by some, we are committed to providing clients with forthright and honest advice whatever predicament you have found yourself in.  Please call our team and make an appointment

CHILD SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRATION

Are you a registrable offender? Are you on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR)?

You may well be if:

  • You have been convicted of a child sex offence; or
  • You are the subject of a paedophile restraining order.

If you are a registrable offender, you must begin reporting to the authorities. How long you have to report, and what you need to report, depends upon a number of factors. It can vary from around 8 years to the rest of your life.

Facts that affect how long you have to report:

  • Whether it is a class 1 or class 2 offence;
  • How many offences;
  • Whether you are a registrable or serious registrable offender.

We can assist you if:

  • You are being investigated by police; or
  • Are currently before the Court; or
  • You have already been sentenced for a child sex offence, whether recently or decades ago.

You may need assistance to understand exactly what you are required to report both at the initial report and every year thereafter. For example, questions might include:

  • What exactly constitutes reportable contact with a child?
  • What should you do if unexpected reportable contact occurs?

It is important to understand fully your obligations under the Act.

Offences for failing to comply with your reporting obligations or presenting false or misleading information when reporting can attract penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment.

Some people can apply to the Supreme Court to have their reporting conditions suspended. This is possible where:

  • A person is required to report to the authorities at ANCOR for the rest of their life;
  • 15 years have passed since sentencing or release from custody;
  • It can be shown the person is no longer a risk to children.

On multiple occasions, we have made successful applications for the suspension of our clients’ reporting obligations.

Similarly, we assist our clients to apply for a declaration by the Commissioner of the South Australian Police (SAPOL) to enable them to:

  • Re-engage in child-related work; or
  • Modify their reporting obligations.

Such applications can be made 12 months into the reporting period.

A person can only make an application for such a declaration if their offending involved an indecent assault, an act of gross indecency, or unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 but above the age of 13. There are other restrictions on who can apply and again we must satisfy the Commissioner that our client does not pose a risk to children.

If you are a registrable offender, you must notify a parent or guardian both that you are a registrable offender and what offence led you to become a registrable offender, if you intend to reside with a child or stay overnight at a place where a child is present. The Act still requires you to tell parents and guardians, even after you no longer have to report.

Where a person fails to tell a parent or guardian that they are on the child sex register, they can be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 5 years imprisonment.

We have campaigned for the South Australian Government to have this legislation changed. In our view, this section creates the most onerous and shameful obligation under the Act. Surely if the Court has the power to dispense with the need to report to the ANCOR altogether, Parliament should not require this obligation to remain irrespective.  It cannot be in the public interest to brand people for life in all cases.  Despite our representations to the Attorney General the Act is yet to change.  Not all offenders deserve to be on the Register for life.

Paedophile Restraining Orders Adelaide

Paedophile Restraining Orders

Paedophile Restraining Orders have their place in society.  However, nothing evokes emotion more than a suggestion that an adult is hanging out near children.  There obviously needs to be a fine balance between restricting the rights of adults going about their daily activities and the protection of our children.  At Woods & Co Lawyers we are experienced in all aspect of Paedophile Restraining orders in South Australia.  Once issued the power of the police and the restrictions upon a citizen’s freedom is significant.  Please contact our legal team to assist you through the process.

 

What is a Paedophile Restraining Order?

A Paedophile Restraining Order is an order made by the Court, listing conditions for which a person subject to the order must comply.

The purpose of a Paedophile Restraining Order is to restrain a person from behaving in a way which arouses ‘reasonable’ apprehension or fear in a child or is inappropriate towards a child.

 

When is a Paedophile Restraining Order made?

The Court may make a Paedophile Restraining Order against a person if they have been found to on two or more occasions –

  • Loiter near children or;
  • Found to be using the Internet to communicate with children or a person whom they believed to be a child without good reason or;
  • Is subject to reporting conditions under Part 3 of the Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 (SA) and is found to be loitering near children or using the internet to communicate with children without good reason.

And

  • The Court is satisfied that the making of the order is appropriate in the circumstances.

A person does not need to be charged with a criminal offence in order for police to lay an Information with respect to a Paedophile Restraining Order.

It is important to seek legal advice if you have received a Summons to attend court in relation to any restraining order.

 

What will the Court take into consideration?

When deciding on whether a Paedophile Restraining Order should be confirmed the Court Considers:

  • Whether it is proved that a person has loitered near children or used the internet to communicate with children without good reason on two or more occasions;
  • Whether a person’s behavior aroused ‘reasonable’ apprehension or fear in a child or if the person may act inappropriately towards a child;
  • The person’s criminal record;
  • Evidence of sexual dysfunction;
  • Any apparent connection between the defendant’s behavior and the presence of children;
  • Any apparent pattern in the defendant’s use of the internet (if any) to contact children;
  • Any other factors deemed relevant.

What are the conditions of a Paedophile Restraining Order?

Where you can go 

The conditions of a Paedophile Restraining Order can be broad and can restrain a person from loitering near children in any circumstances.      

Your Internet Use 

Conditions of an order may also restrict use of the internet including owning, possessing or using a computer or other device that is capable of being used to gain access to the internet.

If a restraining order includes conditions relating to use of the internet, police have greater powers to enter and search a person’s premises to determine whether there is any evidence to suggest the person may have contravened the restraining order.

Other Restrictions 

The Court may also impose more specific conditions which may be dependent upon the individual matter and surrounding circumstances.

Whilst there are powers given to police, there are also relevant restrictions on the exercise of those powers. It is important to obtain the right legal advice to protect your rights!

 

What happens if I do NOT comply with a Paedophile Restraining Order?

A person who is subject to a restraining order and contravenes a term of the order may be criminally charged.

The maximum penalty for the offence of contravening or failing to comply with a restraining order is two years imprisonment.

 

GET ADVICE TODAY!

At Woods & Co Lawyers Pty Ltd we work to ensure our client’s rights and freedoms are upheld. The impact of a Paedophile Restraining Order can be significant and can significantly restrict a person’s day to day living.   We are experienced in this field and we invite you to call upon us to assist you.

If you or someone you know needs advice on Paedophile Restraining Orders or any sexual offences, then give us a call today!

laser gun charge in adelaide

MP Fights Laser Gun Charge

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Much has been said about this matter that is at this time of publication still under appeal to the Full Court of the Supreme Court. However, if it were not for the courage and determination of Bob Such, then we would not have had the opportunity to raise the awareness in the public arena of the way in which speeding fines are determined.

We fought hard and long and against the odds and even took it up to the Supreme Court. The system has many advantages for the prosecution. We tried to get the supplier to provide us with a laser gun to test. Not surprisingly, they refused. I suppose when you are selling equipment it is not in the best interest of sales to produce equipment for independent testing.

There were many links to this case on Adelaide Now and you can also view the Supreme Court decision:

News article 1 

News article 2

best murder lawyers in adelaide

Judge Cancels Bail For Murder Suspect

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A WOMAN accused of killing an Adelaide pensioner and disposing of her body parts in a creek bed is a flight risk and shouldn’t be released on bail, a judge has ruled. We were very pleased to be able to fight hard to get our client bail in the first place for a charge such as murder. Nevertheless, the Director of Public Prosecutions sought a review and was successful.

Full news article here.

Are you looking for the best murder lawyers in Adelaide?

Give Woods & Co Lawyers a call we have over 20 years experience and focus on this area of law specifically.

Plea Bargain In Fraud Case

Plea Bargain In Fraud Case

Plea Bargain In Fraud Case – We Can Still Help You

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Even when we can’t win the trial for a client, we assist you in getting a better result. Here we managed to convince the prosecution to accept a plea of guilty to lesser charges.

News article link

best sexual assault lawyers in Adelaide

HIV Man Convicted Of Two Counts Of An Act To Endanger Life

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some of you may have seen constant media profile in respect of this matter. It was a long trial. He was originally charged with 8 counts. We managed to get ‘no case to answer’ on one count and found Not Guilty on 5 others. The team along with two competent barristers worked very hard and long.

“best sexual assault lawyers in Adelaide”

To learn more about this case please visit the link for the news article, or call us to see your options and where you stand.

drivers license appeals and demerit points

Drivers License Demerit Point Glitch

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last week, The Advertiser newspaper reported that 8000 people would lose their driver’s licence due to demerit points or breaches of conditional licence conditions. Sadly this is true and already we have been inundated with calls from people affected by this issue. The problem has been created by a “glitch” in a computer program used by the Courts Administration Authority. Information concerning demerit points and conditional licence breaches has not been relayed to the DTEI as a result of the “glitch”.

This issue has since been rectified and now people who have moved on with their lives are facing dire consequences due the disqualification notices. It should be noted here, that there are a select few people who can elect for a Magistrates Appeal, Safer Driver Agreements or Good Behaviour Options in certain circumstances. Those people are notified of this fact on the notification letters. Others are not so lucky and now face disqualification some years down the track.

At Woods & Co, we believe this to be unfair. Of course, it could be argued that road users who break the rules should punished according to the rules. That would be a reasonable argument if the punishment were meted out expeditiously. The very purpose of expiable offences is to facilitate the efficient disposal of matters involving minor offences. This includes some traffic offences. Efficiency in disposal of these matters punishes the offender quickly and ultimately alleviates the need for the Courts to intervene in the conduct of minor matters. There are, as a matter of necessity some matters that will require Court intervention. For the most part, however, minor traffic offences and are expiated and the consequences (if any) such as demerit points and conditional breaches are then handled by the DTEI.

In a perfect world, there would be no need to comment on a system that appears on the face of it to be a working system. Clearly we do not live in a perfect world and this system is not without its problems.

In a legal sense, the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 makes it clear that when the Registrar of Motor Vehicles becomes aware of demerit or conditional licence infringements, it MUST disqualify the offender from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence. The relevant section of the Act does not give the Registrar any discretion to act otherwise. There is no time limit applicable. There is no allowance for consideration of special circumstances. In essence, the DTEI and Registrar have no alternative but to disqualify the offender. We have spoken with the DTEI and they agree that it is far from an ideal situation. The DTEI are currently powerless but are committed to finding a resolution to the problem.

Where to now?

It’s our view, after carefully considering the relevant legislation, that there are limited options available for an individual legal remedy for any one person affected by this issue. We feel that the best way to attack the problem is to pool the resources of many of those affected and make a formal approach to the Minister and appeal to have some retrospective changes made to the Act. This resolution comes with its own problems, but that is job of Parliament. That being said, this issue will not be solved by finger pointing and laying blame. To do that would be counter productive.

This is a case where Parliament could not possibly have foreseen a situation arising of this magnitude. We say that they can, now, have the foresight to remedy the problem.

There are other ways to solve the problem, but they are individual remedies and come with their own problems.

An application to the Registrar for review is available to an affected person under Section 98Z of the MVA. An appeal to the District Court is available to a person who is dissatisfied with a decision from the Registrar. Whilst a person who is aggrieved by a decision of the Registrar can ask for a review, it would seem somewhat empty if the Registrar has no discretion to act.

Given that most people affected by this are time poor (most disqualification are effective at the end of August 2011) we have doubts as to the capacity of the Registrar to timely deal with these applications. Again, there is the issue of unforeseen circumstances in the drafting of the Act(s). Some of those affected may have financial barriers to such a remedy.

Another remedy is possible by virtue of Section 16 of the Expiation of Offences Act 1996. This section allows for the issuing authority (generally the Police) of the original expiation note to withdraw the notice in certain circumstances. If these circumstances exist, we are faced with already expired time limits (60 days from the date of the notice has expired). The next problem and perhaps the most impractical, as far as the issuing authority is concerned, is the fact that the Act requires that if a notice is withdrawn, the expiation fee must be refunded. Common sense suggests that this will not happen.

We would encourage anyone affected to contact our office immediately and provide your details to us. We will then make a formal approach to the Minister to make the necessary changes. Whilst we cannot guarantee a successful or positive outcome for all, we can say that there is strength in unity. At Woods & Co, we continue to strive to ‘protect your rights’.

Damon C Ind

Solicitor – Woods & Co

drink driving lawyers in Adelaide

Drink Driving Cases In Adelaide

DRINK DRIVING CASES – PROSECUTION ERROR IN PROVING CASE 19 AUG 2011 

Friday, August 19, 2011

DRINK DRIVING CASES – FAILURE TO PROVE THE BREATH ANALYSIS OPERATER WAS AUTHORISED TO OPERATE THE BREATH ANALYSIS INSTRUMENT.

On 16 August 2011 the Supreme Court handed down a decision of Police v Short [2011] SASC 131. The accused pleaded not guilty to exceeding the Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol. Therefore, the prosecution were put to proof. In order to prove the case against the accused the prosecution had to establish that the breath analysing instrument was operated by a person authorised to operate the instrument by the Commissioner of Police. The case was run by a colleague of mine, Mr Ken Gluche from Websters. The media have since created a maelstrom in respect of whether this case may have wider implications.

In Short’s case, the prosecution set about proving the breathalyser operator’s approval by relying on a Government Gazette. The Supreme Court found that the method of proof was deficient and the Gazette did not actually prove what the prosecution had hoped it had. In particular, the Road Traffic Act allowed for approval of a BA operator by the tendering of a certificate signed by the Commissioner of Police. The Government Gazette was not a certificate and was certainly not signed. Secondly, the Gazette ‘approved ‘ an operator to ‘conduct a breath analysis’, whereas the Road Traffic Act required approval that the operator was approved to ‘operate the BA instrument’. The Supreme Court held there was a difference. Lastly, the Supreme Court held the Gazette only purported to prove a person was approved on 7 July 2009 and it did not approve them ‘ as from’ that date. In other words, the approval was not ongoing.

Drink Driving cases are very complex and few lawyers understand the complexity of the legislation. We at Woods & Co undertake these cases daily. We congratulate Ken on the success, but it is likely that it will have little effect for future cases as promoted in the media.

Firstly, if you have already pleaded guilty, then you admit by your guilty plea the elements of the offence and the prosecution do not have to prove the breathalyser operators approval to operate the instrument. Secondly, in this case, the prosecution simply failed to prove that fact. They won’t make the same mistake. It is likely the issue can be fixed up by calling oral evidence of the approval of the operator, or by retrospectively issuing a complying certificate and relying upon that at trial.

We have been inundated with calls about this error and as leaders in our field have tried diligently to respond to all calls about this aspect. We at Woods & Co enjoy drink driving cases and the complex legislation that accompanies it. We look forward to the next move by the prosecution to see how they address this error, which as it presently stands leaves them with a difficulty of proving their case. We will continue to protect your rights and keep you updated as to trends and developments in drink driving law.

Michael Woods LLB (Hons)

Principal