Ho Ho – Oh No! Charges Over The Holidays?
Stay on the right side of the law this Christmas
As soon as the jolly red face of Santa starts to appear and colourful lights sparkle on balmy summer evenings, the anticipation rises – it means family and friends are starting to get together, and there are celebrations with good food and drinking.
After almost two years of separation thanks to COVID, this holiday season looks like being the one that is going to bring us all together again.
But after such a long time, emotions are running high, and there’s a chance we’ll make decisions that are not always well-thought-out.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the risks you might face during the holiday season, and set out some of the ways we can help you.
Risk 1: Driving badly can mean double trouble
During public holidays, especially at the end of the year, there are a lot more of us on the road. We travel to visit our loved ones or go on vacation, whether that’s within metro Sydney or further afield to other parts of the state or country.
If it’s by car, then it’s vital to know that the NSW Government is again running its double demerits campaign.
This is a standard holiday season campaign and is designed to encourage safe driving. Double demerits means double the penalty, and this applies to speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt, or riding without a helmet.
These campaigns also meant more police on the road – so if you’re going to do something against the law, chances are high you’ll be caught out.
How the double demerit campaign works
If you haven’t had any driving offences and are an unrestricted driver, you should have 13 points. Provisional P2 licence holders get 7 points, and P1 drivers have 4 points.
During double demerit campaigns, driving over the speed limit by 10km or more means you’ll lose 6 points and a fine of $285. Using a mobile phone will cost you 10 points (and $349).
Driving without a seatbelt is six points – almost half of your total – although this increases if you have other unrestrained passengers in the car.
Committing a combination of offences will incur a hefty fine – and you can wave a sad but hopefully temporary goodbye to your licence.
Risk 2: Driving under the influence
June 2021 saw the introduction of new laws that impose harsher penalties on drivers who are over the limit or with illicit drugs, such as cannabis, speed/ice, cocaine etc, in their system.
Both alcohol and drugs affect your ability to drive safely. They put you, your passengers, other road users, and the general public at risk.
Penalties include fines, disqualification periods, alcohol interlock* periods, and vehicle sanctions (where your car might be removed from the road or licence plates confiscated).
As an example, the penalty for a first offence mid-range breath test combined with the presence of illicit drugs can range from 3-6 months disqualification and 12 months interlock – as well as fines.
* An interlock is an electronic breath testing device that’s connected to the ignition system of cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles.
Risk 3: Relationship issues
This season is often a time of high emotion, there’s a lot of pressure on everyone to create a ‘perfect’ Christmas environment, and it can be hard to cope when that doesn’t happen. Combine that with the past two, extremely difficult years, and things can get very intense, very quickly.
Some of the most common charges during this time can be apprehended violence orders (AVO), breaches of AVO, common assault, damage to property, as well as stalk and intimidate.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law and get caught up in these charges, CM Law can help you. They have specialists who can support and guide you as you navigate the complex system.
On behalf of everyone at CM Law, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we hope you get the chance to spend it with the people who mean the most to you. Most of all, stay safe!