Criminal and Traffic Law
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What is the difference between Criminal and Traffic Law?
Criminal law and traffic law, whilst two distinct areas of the law, are very similar in practice and procedure.
In both areas of the law, the “onus of proof” lies with the Prosecution in proving the elements of the offence “beyond reasonable doubt”. In other words, the Defence is not required to prove anything, from beginning to end. There are certain offences where the onus of proof “shifts to the defence”, however this is very rare.
Is a Traffic Offence considered as a Criminal Record?
Most traffic offences are not considered as Criminal Offences, however some of the more serious “Traffic Offences” are considered as Criminal Offences, and can carry heavy penalties including terms of full time imprisonment. One example is the offence of “Dangerous Driving Occasioning Death”. This offence, whilst an offence that is committed in a motor vehicle, has “criminal” elements and carries an almost inevitable jail sentence. The maximum penalty for this offence is 11 years imprisonment. These offences are in a category of traffic offences called “major offences”.
However, other relatively minor traffic offences such as speeding, negligent driving and driving with an expired licence are NOT considered as criminal, and will generally not come up on your criminal record. You will ordinarily not be required to disclose these offences as “criminal convictions” when asked to.
If I commit a Traffic Offence will I have breached my Good Behaviour Bond?
This is a question that we are often asked by our clients who are serving a period under a Good Behaviour Bond.
Generally, a traffic offence offence committed by an offender who is currently on a good behaviour bond will not be a breach of a good behaviour bond for a criminal offence. However, if the traffic offence is a “major traffic offence” it is likely that you will face breach proceedings for the bond that was imposed in your criminal matter.
If you have a Criminal or Traffic Law case, and have to attend court, call one of our Criminal and Traffic Law Lawyers for a no obligation conference on 1300 595 299.