March 9, 2017


We love our long weekends. It would be un-Australian not to. Packing up and heading for the river or the beach is a well-worn path for many long weekend holiday makers. And for those who can’t get away, there’s usually a long list of social engagements ready to be put into action.

But long weekends are also a time when the police are out in full force and many people are charged with traffic offences, for example speeding, drink driving and drug driving.

It’s a time when all drivers should be extra cautious, but just in case, here’s what you need to know.


If you have been caught speeding, you are usually issued with an “on the spot” fine (expiation notice).

These fines attract demerit points. If you hold a full (unconditional) driver’s licence and you accumulate 12 or more demerit points in a three year period, you will lose your licence. Demerit points stay on your record for three years from the date of the offence.

Simply paying the fine is often the quickest and simplest way to resolve the situation. But if you pay the fine, you will incur the demerit points for the offence.

Frequently, clients contact us once they have paid their fine and their licences have been disqualified for exceeding demerit points, only to find out that their options are limited due to payment of the expiation notice and, in some circumstances, that nothing that can be done to save their licence. But if they had sought legal advice prior to paying the fine, they may have been able to take steps to avoid disqualification.

It’s important to understand that you must seek legal advice before the fine is due to be paid, otherwise nothing can be done to help you avoid incurring the points.

Websters Lawyers have excellent experience in challenging speeding charges. For further information about speeding charges, read our article on Operation Safe Speed.

Drink and Drug Driving

Here are our top tips for avoiding getting caught for drink or drug driving this long weekend:

  • Just don’t do it. If you’ve had a few drinks or taken any recreational or prescribed drugs that may affect your driving ability, use alternative transport.
  • If your driving is impaired because of drugs in your system, you may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), which carries more severe penalties than drink driving offences.
  • Eating food may change how intoxicated you feel but it doesn’t necessarily protect you from being over the limit.
  • Everyone metabolises and eliminates alcohol differently, so you may be more affected than you think, even if you’ve only had one drink.
  • Be aware of standard drink sizes and don’t allow anyone to top-up your drink.
  • You may still be over the limit or under the influence the day after drinking heavily or taking drugs.

Penalties for drink driving or DUI can include licence disqualification, fines and even imprisonment. If you caused an accident or injury to someone else, the penalties will be more severe.

Instant Loss of Licence

If you return a breathalyser result that is over the legal limit, police can issue you with a Notice of Instant Loss of Licence (ILOL) which takes effect immediately. You can also be issued with an ILOL for excessive speeding (45 kilometres per hour or more above the speed limit).

This means that you lose your licence on the spot. If this happens, you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer as soon as possible to get advice about your rights and whether you can get the ILOL set aside.

A traffic lawyer will understand all of the relevant laws and the technical aspects of testing systems. If necessary, they will also be able to present evidence to the Court about how the penalties will affect you, their impact on your family and employment, as well as evidence of your good character. This is an essential step in trying to reduce the penalty.

Enjoy your long weekend, but remember to take care on the roads, not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of your passengers and other road users. It’s a sad but true fact that one mistake can change your life for the worse, so our best advice is to make sure that you’re driving within the law at all times.

But if something does happen and you find yourself charged with a traffic offence, rest assured that we are here to help. Websters Lawyershas an outstanding team of criminal and traffic lawyers who have vast experience in dealing with traffic cases. Contact us today for a free first consultation.