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 or non-conviction Conditional Release 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 or non-conviction Conditional Release Order.
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 or a non-conviction Conditional Release Order is not appropriate, our heavy vehicle offence experts can help reduce minimising any fines you may face and help 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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Very Helpful, Very Organized approach in defending you in court, Fourtree Lawyers are the company to chose if you want all the confusion and stress to be explained to you and for you in regard to facing court, these people are the Answer.
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,...
Section 10(1)(a) - Not comply mass requirements - severe risk - Kurri Kurri Local Court
Our client owns an interstate heavy haulage business based in Queensland. His business was charged with not comply with mass requirements - severe risk which carries a base penalty of $10,790 plus an additional $540 for every % point over the limit. His vehicle was moving a dump truck from a quarry in Queensland to a quarry in NSW. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions that the method of calculating mass requirements was flawed and the 40% overload alleged was, in fact, less than 3% when everything was taken into consideration. After consideration of the technical case put forward along with submissions as to our client’s previous good character and repute, the Magistrate decided that the matter should be dismissed pursuant to Section 10(1)(a) with no conviction recorded against our client or his business. Professional costs of $254 were agreed to by our client.
Section 10(1)(a) - Severity Appeal - Gosford District Court
Our client was a 32-year-old male. He has a heavy vehicle licence and drives semi-trailers for a living to support his young family. He was charged with exceeding the speed limit for doing 100 in an 80 zone. Roadworks were under construction on the Pacific Highway at the time with both 80km and 100km signs. in the local court, he was fined $300 and lost six demerit points. As a result, he lost his heavy vehicle licence and his job. Kevin Vierboom appealed the decision to the District Court on the basis of severity and the appeal was upheld. Our client is now able to resume his employment and provide for his family again. He was extremely relieved at the outcome.
Heavy Vehicle Offence - 2 x Not Comply Mass Requirements | Severe Risk - Gosford Local Court
Our client was a medium size trucking business located in Victoria. One of his trucks was weighed at Mount White checking station and found to be 86% overloaded. One mass overload charge carried a 19K+ fine and the second charge carried a 31K+ fine. In total, the maximum fines faced for the two offences $46,970.00. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom pleaded guilty to the two offences on behalf of the owner and highlighted the anomalies and issues faced by similar businesses in complying with the regulations. The Magistrate was sympathetic to the arguments raised and imposed a fine of $1,000 for the first offence and $2,000 for the second offence. When we called the owner in Victoria with the result, he couldn't believe the outcome. He was very relieved, to say the least.
Section 10(1)(b) – Class B m/v exceed speed > 30km/h – Lidar – Gosford District Court
Our client, a 29-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast, was charged with Class B m/v exceed speed > 30 km/h – Lidar. The maximum penalty for this offence is a 3-month licence disqualification period and a fine of $2,200.00. Our client is a bus driver by trade. Therefore, his livelihood depends on maintaining his licence. He is extremely valued by his supervisor and his work colleagues for being a hardworking and reliable employee. Initially, our client was convicted and charged with an $800.00 fine as well as a 3-month licence disqualification period. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom represented our client in an Appeal to the District Court on the basis that the penalty was too severe. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom tendered subjective evidence to the Court and made extensive submissions with regard to our client’s subjective circumstances including his good character. The Magistrate accepted the evidence and ordered an 8-month Good Behaviour Bond in accordance with section 10(1)(b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). Our client was extremely relieved with this outcome. Our client can now continue working and maintain his livelihood.
Section 10(1)(a) - Solo driver work more than BFM maximum time - severe risk – Gosford Local Court
Our client is employed as a driver by a national distribution company. He is married with 2 small children. He had previously been retained an advisor to the local council on heavy vehicle safety concerning several issues relating to heavy vehicle movements in the local government area. Our client was charged with a log book offence in relation to time recording and fatigue management. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions as to issues related to the accurate completion of logbook entries, our client’s previously clean record, his outstanding references and his contribution to safety in the community. After consideration of the case put forward along with submissions as to our client’s previous good character and repute, the Magistrate decided that the matter should be dismissed pursuant to Section 10(1)(a) with no conviction recorded against our client or his employer.
Matter Dismissed - Make false or misleading entry in work record - Kurri Kurri Local Court
Our client is an interstate truck driver based in Sydney. Our client was charged with make false or misleading entry in work record. This offence carries a maximum penalty of $10.000. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of our client and set the matter down for a defended hearing. After consideration of the case put forward by our solicitor and the lack of evidence provided by the prosecution, the Magistrate dismissed the charges with no conviction recorded against our client or his employer.
No Conviction | $2,000 donation to the Children's Hospital - Failure to Comply with Improvement Notice – Latrobe Valley Magistrate's Court
Our client is a large road freight company based in Victoria. The business has been operating for over 50 years and has a reputable standing across Victoria and New South Wales. The company sought our help when charged with regulatory offences under the Victorian Heavy Vehicle National Law. The company’s director also faced charges under the same law.
The maximum penalties for this offence are $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a company.
Solicitor Kevin Vierboom attended the Latrobe Local Magistrate’s Court in Victoria to represent our client. Kevin’s submissions centred on the company’s unblemished record to date, the steps taken by the company to rectify the breach and the substantial contribution the business makes to the local community.
The Magistrate noted the improvements made by the company and accounted for the company’s good standing. As a result, the Magistrate ordered that no conviction be recorded and $2,000 be donated to the Children’s Hospital. The client was relieved and very happy with this result.
12 Month CRO – no conviction | Breach of Heavy Vehicle National Law (solo driver work more than standard maximum time: critical risk) | Gosford Local Court | 15/3/2019
Our client is a 47-year-old male who lives in the Newcastle area with his wife. He has been working as a heavy vehicle truck driver for around 9 months.
Our client was found in breach of the work/rest ratio prescribed by the Heavy Vehicle National Law. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $16,510 and 4 demerit points.
Our client had not been confident that he understood the guidelines and had made several unsuccessful attempts to ascertain the right information regarding logbook entries.
Principal Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions in mitigation of the possible penalty, focusing on our client’s positive traffic record – 2 offences in 16 years of driving – as well as our client’s responsible character, the Magistrate saw fit to impose a 12-month Conditional Release Order with no conviction.
Our client was ordered to pay $100 Professional Costs to the Roads & Maritime Service. Considering the maximum fine of $16.510, this was a great result.
Our client is a 64-year-old male who has six children.
Our client was stopped for a random check of his driver's license and national heavy vehicle diary by officers from the Traffic Task Force.
Our client is the main income earner in his household and the retention of his demerit points is paramount given that he drives trucks in the course of his employment. The imposition of a fine would also have been very burdensome for our client.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $16,510 and 3 demerit points.
Senior Solicitor Denise McCarthy attended Gosford Local Court and made strenuous submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Matters raised in her submissions included our client’s accreditation and sound driving record. Denise managed to convince the Magistrate to impose a Section 10(1)(a) dismissal with no conviction recorded.
The avoidance of a fine or loss of demerit points for our client was a huge relief.
Class B M/V Exceed Speed | Conditional Release Order without Conviction | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 49 year old male who is a truck driver by profession.
Our client was detected by a speed camera travelling a 55km/h in a signposted 40km/h zone. As he is a truck driver it is crucial for him to retain his license in order to carry out his work.
Our client attended our office and conveyed the stress that this pending Court matter had placed on him, and the importance of him retaining his license.
The maximum penalty for this offence in the Local Court is a fine of $2,200 and loss of six demerit points.
Senior solicitor Denise McCarthy attended Gosford Local Court and made strenuous submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Our client’s circumstances were put before the Court to reduce the penalty imposed. Our client was sentenced to a Conditional Release Order for 12 months without proceeding to conviction. No pecuniary penalty was imposed.
Our client was relieved that Denise was able to achieve such a favourable outcome for him. The problems he was facing in the event of losing his license were all consuming and the relief was immediate for him.
Section 10(1)(a) Dismissal | Solo driver work more than Standard maximum time - Critical risk | Goulburn Local Court
An employed heavy vehicle driver from Newcastle contacted us to get advice on a Court Attendance notice he had been issued in NSW. An application was made to move the matter to Gosford Court.
Our client had been charged with Solo Driver rest less than BFM minimum time - critical risk - Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW) Section 254(1)(b). This offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $16,830.00 and the loss of 4 demerit points.
Our client is in the process of obtaining Australian citizenship and has paid out over $18,000 in application and filing fees. He was very concerned that a conviction could jeopardise his application for citizenship and see him lose his employment.
Our client is said to have failed to observe the required 7 hours of unbroken rest over the 24 hours between 3.30am on 24 January 2019 and 3.30am on 25 January 2019. After reviewing the schedule of work and rest during the time in which the offence occurred our client was working less than 38% of the time and well within the requirements for avoiding fatigue within that period.
Our solicitor set about explaining to the Magistrate all the circumstances leading up to the offence. After considering our submissions, the Magistrate found the offence proven, however, the charge was dismissed under section 10(1)(a).
Our client was very relieved at the outcome.