Alcohol fuelled violence: how the criminal law looks at intoxication

Posted on September 25th, 2015

by Lana Black

Lana Black is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay and is part of our Commercial & Property Law team.

Alcohol fuelled violence has been a repeated topic of conversation over recent years, particularly after significant outcry from communities who have experienced the loss of young men and women as a result of alcohol fuelled violence.

When it comes to alcohol and the criminal law, there are many ways in which alcohol and intoxication are relevant to offences. To name just a few of the instances when the criminal law deals with intoxication; intoxication can be a factor which Police must take into account when interrogating suspected offenders, it can be an element of an offence itself, it can be relevant to whether an offender had the mental capacity to actually commit an offence and it can be relevant to the sentencing of an offender. Read the rest of this entry »

More on the new drink driving penalties

Posted on March 27th, 2015

by Lana Black

Lana Black is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay and practises primarily in  Commercial & Property Law.

Further to our recent article ‘A Must Know – The New Drink Driving Penalties’, the following table provides details of the new disqualification periods and interlock periods imposed for serious and repeat drink driving offences:

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The New Drink Driving Penalties – A Must Know

Posted on January 23rd, 2015

by Lana Black

Lana Black is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay and practises primarily in  Commercial & Property Law.

The current penalty provisions

The most common forms of drink driving offences are found in Section 110 of the Road Transport Act and provide it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle when there is a prescribed concentration of alcohol present in the driver’s breath or blood. For the purpose of this alert we will focus solely on the Section 110 offences.

At present, a person convicted of a drink driving offence faces two classes of penalties. The first is the penalty which is imposed by the Court under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act (such as fines, bonds and imprisonment) and the second is disqualification of the person’s driver licence. Under the current legislation it is optional for some offenders to have some of the disqualification period suspended for participation in an interlock program. Read the rest of this entry »

Criminal Law – Other Sentencing Options: Forum Sentencing

Posted on January 1st, 2014

by Ashleigh John

Ashleigh John is a Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay in Newcastle and an Accredited Specialist in Family Law.

While the maintenance of an effective criminal law system is important to the preservation of an ordered society, it is well accepted that jail is not always the way to deter criminal behaviour.  For this reason the NSW government has looked to other sentencing options to address undesirable behaviour.  One such example, is forum sentencing.

Forum sentencing brings together the offender, the victim/s and other people affected by the crime.  The aim is to try to repair the harm caused to the victim/s and community and provide an opportunity for the offender realise the real impact of their behaviour, and reduce the likelihood of re-offending.

Forum sentencing is only available in relation to certain offences where a plea of guilty has been entered and in certain registries (including Local Court registries in Raymond Terrace, Newcastle, Maitland and others).  There must also be an identifiable victim and agreed facts.

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The Right to Silence – Is this the beginning of the end for a fundamental right?

Posted on September 1st, 2013

by Ashleigh John

Ashleigh John is a Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay in Newcastle and specialises in Family, Relationship and Matrimonial Law

New legislation has recently come into effect in New South Wales which is set to change a fundamental right of all citizens – the right to silence. 

Until recently, a person charged with an offence could choose not to answer questions posed by an investigating officer, and their silence could not be construed as guilt, or any adverse inference drawn by a judge / jury as a result of their silence, because the right to silence is an important part of the presumption of innocence.

The changes, which came into effect on 1 September 2013, allow a jury and/or a judge to make an adverse inference where a defendant who is being tried for a serious offence does not mention a fact to the investigating officer which in the circumstances they could have reasonably been expected to mention at the time of being questioned, and which they then seek to rely on in their defence at trial.

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The New Anti-Phone Driving Law

Posted on February 25th, 2013

by David Gawthorne

David Gawthorne is a Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay in Newcastle and an Accredited Specialist in Family, Relationship and Matrimonial Law

As of 1 November 2012, the NSW Road Rule as to how mobile phones can be used whilst driving has become tougher. Previously, unrestricted licence-holders could only use a phone whilst the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, if it was not held in their hand. Use includes holding the body of the phone to one’s ear (whether or not engaged in a phone call); entering or placing anything into the phone other than by the use of voice, or sending or looking at anything that is in the phone (this includes text messages and on-line content); turning the phone on or off; and operating any other function of the phone. Read the rest of this entry »

New Police Powers – Lose self control & lose the car

Posted on November 30th, 2012

by David Gawthorne

David Gawthorne is a Senior Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay in Newcastle and an Accredited Specialist in Family, Relationship and Matrimonial Law

In July of this year, the powers of NSW Police were increased to make certain sanctions available where drivers commit an expanded class of traffic offences. The offences to which the sanctions now apply include exceeding the speed limit by more than 45 km/h, street racing, performing “burn outs” and causing a pursuit by fleeing police. The new measures are clearly targeted at younger drivers with high-powered vehicles, who may be tempted to find enjoyment at a cost to the community of peace and safety.

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