Youth Charged With Drug Possession and Driving Offences

This is a case study on a youth charged with drug possession and driving offences.

Driving suspension periods were increased in May 2018 to reflect the seriousness with which the state government treats drink driving offences. Magistrates do not have discretion to reduce the suspension period, however they do have discretion to increase the suspension period. This was a realistic prospect and a fear for our client because his drink driving offence was exacerbated by the fact that he drove down the highway with a damaged wheel causing sparks.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with possessing prescription medication without a prescription and several driving offences. The police noticed him driving down a highway while intoxicated with sparks emanating from the front wheel because he collided into a gutter. As this was the client’s first drink driving offence, he was facing a mandatory 6-month license suspension and a fine of around $3,000.

The police also had to call an ambulance while interviewing the client because he was experiencing the adverse affect of combining alcohol with prescription medication.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court. The exact charges were:

Although our client was a youth charged with drug possession and driving offences, he is also a young man who just recently qualified as a mechanic and relies on his driver’s license to travel to job sites. It was important in preparing for the plea hearing that we speak with the client’s employer to request a character reference, and also to his TAFE (Technical and Further Education) to request confirmation that the client completed his apprenticeship. We also rallied other people who are close to the client, such as his family and friends, to write character references which speak positively of him.

During the plea submission, we tendered all of the material gathered and spoke about the client’s employment. He focussed on the details of the work that the client does, how he acquired the job, his reason for becoming a mechanic, and his embarrassment when he disclosed his offending to his employer.

During the plea, we successfully convinced the magistrate to:

  1. only suspend the client’s driver’s license for the mandatory minimum of 6 months
  2. not record a conviction; and
  3. not impose a fine.
In cases where young people are charged with driving offences, it is our practice to gather as much material as possible which can be used to satisfy the magistrate that (but for the offence) the client is a responsible person. Unfortunately, magistrates are overwhelmed by the number of young people who are charged with driving offences and we placed importance on separating our clients from other young people charged with similar offences. Also, magistrates are interested to know that young people are either gainfully employed or are studying.

What was the result?
The client was placed on a 5-month good behaviour bond with a condition that he participate in the P.A.R.T.Y program (Prevent Alcohol & Risk-Related Trauma in Youth). His driver’s license was suspended but only for the mandatory minimum of 6 months. He will not be required to attend court for the matter as long as he completes the P.A.R.T.Y program. This was a good outcome for a case that involves a youth charged with drug possession and driving offences.

Elements of Exceed PCA – 49(1)(B):
  • The accused was driving or was in charge of a vehicle.
  • The vehicle was a motor vehicle.
  • There is a prescribed concentration of alcohol or more than the prescribed concentration of alcohol present in the blood or breath of the accused.
Related case studies
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 28/02/2019