Being charged with a heavy vehicle offence is a devastating blow to both the driver involved and the company they work for. Since a driver’s livelihood may depend on a clean driving record and certainly depends on remaining licenced to drive getting legal advice from an experienced heavy vehicle lawyer is essential.
The penalties imposed for trucking violations include fines of over $10,000 for critical breaches and reflect the seriousness of some heavy vehicle charges due to the potential danger to other road users from heavy vehicle accidents.
Demerit point penalties are also imposed for a number of heavy vehicle offences and are an indication of how seriously trucking offences are taken.
Do I need to tell the boss?
Yes, you do. The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) applies not only to the drivers, but to all parties involved in the road transport supply chain.
This is known as the chain of responsibility or COR. Each person in the chain is responsible for preventing breaches of the HVNL. Owners, managers, corporations and directors can all be held accountable for the actions of people who work for them.
Different people in the COR have different obligations. They also have different defences. If a person was not in a position to prevent a breach or they took all reasonable steps to prevent it, they generally have a defence.
Can you get off a heavy vehicle charge?
It is possible to avoid a conviction for a heavy vehicle offence. If you can convince the Court to dismiss the charge under a Section 10 order, you will avoid a conviction and a criminal record and you will be allowed to keep your licence.
Whether this is possible depends on a lot of factors. Any aggravating factors like having an accident or putting the safety of the public at risk are all taken into consideration by the Court.
The Magistrate will consider a wide range of other factors when deciding on the appropriate penalty, including your age, driving history, your personal circumstances and what happened at the time of the offence.
Section 10’s are not given out readily by the Court, so it is essential that your defence is rock solid to have any hope of getting a Section 10 dismissal.
Do I need a lawyer for a trucking violation?
Some heavy vehicle offences are dealt with by way of a penalty notice. These traffic infringement notices give you the option of paying a set penalty or taking the matter to court. If the offence is serious enough you will have to attend Court.
It is your decision whether to engage a lawyer when going to Court. However, facing Court unrepresented on a trucking breach can be a daunting experience, as there is so much at stake.
Instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf will enable you to be aware of all your options and will ensure you get the best outcome possible for your particular case.
An experienced heavy vehicle lawyer may be able to persuade the Courts not to record a conviction against you. If this is possible, you will not be penalised, you will not incur demerit points on your licence, and you get to keep your driver's licence.
In NSW the maximum speed a heavy vehicle may travel at is 100 km/h. If a lower speed limit is posted truck drivers must obey this limit. Even if a higher speed limit is posted heavy vehicle drivers must not drive faster than 100 km/h.
What is the chain of responsibility?
The law deems that a driver’s employer or contractor to be guilty of a speeding violation for which the driver is found guilty.
What are the penalties for speeding violations?
Fines and demerit points which apply to drivers of heavy vehicles are generally a lot higher than those that apply to other drivers. There are ways that speeding offences can be defended in court as the prosecution bears the onus of proof.
To find out if there are any defences which apply to your case call us on 1300 529 444 and speak with our experienced Heavy Vehicle Lawyers to get your case assessed.
Certain heavy vehicles that operate in New South Wales must be equipped with a device that limits their speed to 100 km/h. It is an offence to tamper with a speed limiter or to drive a vehicle without a functioning speed limiter. A violation of the speed limiter law is established by proving the vehicle was driven in excess of 115 km/h.
What is the chain of responsibility?
The owner of the truck and the driver’s employer or contractor can also be held responsible for a speed limiter violation for which.
What are the penalties for a speed limiter violation?
The vehicle’s registration can be suspended if the vehicle is driven faster than 105 km/h although the Roads and Maritime Authority must first issue a modification notice that directs the heavy vehicle owner to equip the vehicle with a functioning speed limiter.
Drivers of heavy vehicles must comply with strict regulations that govern the maximum number of hours that can be spent driving and the minimum number of hours that are spent resting. Drivers of fatigue related heavy vehicles commit on offence by driving a vehicle while impaired by fatigue.
What is the chain of responsibility?
A violation of these regulations subjects the driver as well as others in the chain of responsibility to financial penalties and individuals in the chain of responsibility can be charged with an offence if they fail to prevent a driver from driving while fatigued.
What are the penalties for driver fatigue?
Serious offences carry demerit points as well as fines.
Dimension, mass and loading violations
The Heavy Vehicle National Law imposes limits on the size of heavy vehicles, including mass and dimensions, and on the size of the load a heavy vehicle can carry. The regulations can be confusing but drivers, heavy vehicle owners, loaders and others in the transportation industry are expected to understand them.
What are the penalties for overload offences?
Breaches of mass limits are penalised according to the severity of the breach. Breaches are categorised as either severe risk, substantial risk or minor risk. Fines of up to $15,000 apply.
A person charged with an overload offence can defend against the charge if they had a lack of knowledge that the vehicle was overloaded and can show that they took reasonable steps to prevent the overload or that they were not in a position to take steps to prevent the overload.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients in New South Wales facing heavy vehicle charges in Court.
Your heavy vehicle offence lawyer will explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
If a section 10 is not appropriate, our heavy vehicle offence experts can help reduce minimising any fines you may face and helping you avoid or minimise any jail term.
Contact our Central Coast Heavy Vehicle Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building a strong case, the higher your chance of getting the best outcome.
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I’d like to thank Kevin and Jane for meeting me on the weekend and saving me a trip to the central coast (without a licence). I’d also like to thank Paul Popescu for doing a fantastic job representing me on a serious driving charge, he gave me clear instructions on what I needed to do and he was spot on, I received the best possible sentence. I would highly recommend Fourtree Lawyers, they travel all over NSW.
We found Fourtree Lawyers on Google after hours. I called on a Sunday and got some good advice. So went in to meet Kevin on the Monday. The outcome was a section 10(1)(b). We were so pleased and relieved. Thank so much to Kevin and Jane!! Would definitely recommend Fourtree Lawyers! Worth every cent! – JM Terrigal
I was recommend to Fourtree Lawyers from a friend whom also experienced a serious driving infringement. My situation was slightly more serious, being charged with drive while suspended, shared with a reasonably extensive driving record, meant my chances of driving home were minimal. Kevin’s realistic and knowledgeable approach not only prepared & educated me upon all possible verdicts, but also supported me with all possible optimistic outcomes. Kevin’s extensive knowledge of the legal system, combined with the understanding of the Judges expectations, and vast life experience resulted with an outstanding result,...
I am very appreciative of the exceptional legal representation that Fourtree Lawyers provided us. Their help, support, and hard work given, gave us a wonderful outcome. If anyone was in a situation requiring legal help, Fourtree Lawyers would be my one and only recommendation, as I know from experience they will not give up till they achieve the very best results for you. I can not thank the team Fourtree Lawyers enough. Kerry