What is the Traffic Offenders Program?
The Traffic Offender Intervention Program is a local court based program targeting offenders who have pleaded guilty to, or been found guilty of, a traffic offence, or who are seeking to appeal the suspension of their licence or quash a Habitual Offender Declaration.
The goal of the program is to provide offenders with the information and skills necessary to develop positive attitudes towards driving and develop safer driving behaviours.
Why should I complete the Traffic Offenders Program?
Beyond the fact it will make you a better driver, the Traffic Offenders Program is a critical tool that our criminal and traffic lawyers use to obtain the best possible result for our clients.
The completion of the Traffic Offenders Program is almost always a matter that Magistrates and Judges consider in determining whether or not to deal with a matter pursuant to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
What is a section 10?
Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 allows a court to sentence an offender without proceeding to a conviction, meaning there is no other penalty, your licence is not disqualified and you will have no criminal record. Section 10 orders can require you to enter into a good behaviour bond or the offence may be dismissed outright. To read more about section 10 and how to obtain one, click here.
How am I referred to the Traffic Offenders Program?
On application by the defendant, the defendant’s legal representative, or the courts own motion, magistrates can make a referral to an approved traffic course provider. The case will be adjourned for sentencing, allowing sufficient time for the nominated course to be completed. Following the completion of the course, the Traffic Offenders Program organizer sends a report to the court outlining the defendant’s participation.
How do I sign up to the Traffic Offenders Program?
Defendants are required to contact Traffic Offender Program providers. A link of all registered program providers can be found here.
Courses run between one day and weekly for 6-8 weeks.
One day course providers include:
Weekly course providers include:
The cost of Traffic Offenders Programs is generally $150 plus GST.
Blacktown Workers Club sponsor a free Traffic Offenders Program held at The Hills Sports High School of which details can be found here.
What happens at the Traffic Offenders Program?
The Traffic Offenders Program, through driver education, reduces the likelihood of people committing further alcohol or safety related traffic offences.
Traffic Offender Programs consist of a number of education sessions that are designed to increase people’s understanding of their legal and social obligations as a road user, the seriousness with which the Courts treat certain offences and the punishments applicable, the impact that traffic offences can have on the community, the effects of drugs and alcohol on driving ability, and the steps that people can take to avoid re-offending.
What does the law say about the Traffic Offenders Program?
The Guideline Judgement discussed the benefits of the Traffic Offender Programs (in the context of drink driving charges) as follows:
There is evidence that suggests that attendance at such a program lessens the likelihood of reconviction for drink driving. This may be not only because of the educative value in causing the offender to appreciate the consequences of such conduct but also because of the humiliation experienced by an offender in being required to attend such a program.
The guideline judgement goes on to say in relation to High Range PCA offences, attendance at the Traffic Offender Intervention Program may reduce the fine and period of disqualification or suspension.
For some cases (although very rarely High Range PCA) it may lead the Court to not impose any punishment at all and dismiss the charge pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act in which case you will not be disqualified from driving and will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.
What else needs be done to prepare my case?
The Traffic Offender is not the be all or end all of preparing a traffic case.
In deciding how to deal with your matter, the court will consider, amongst other factors:
- Your character (employment, family, charity)
- Your criminal record (if any)
- Your traffic record
- The circumstances of you consuming alcohol
- The circumstances of your driving
- The deliberateness of your offending
- Your need for a licence in particular for employment, family or medical reasons, or where you live in a remote area
In order to obtain the best outcome, traffic cases should be tailored to address the above factors and matters unique to your own case. In order to give you the best chance of keeping your licence, it is recommended that you work closely with one of our solicitors to prepare your case. Your criminal lawyer will request you obtain references. A detailed guide to reference writing can be viewed here.
Why choose AC Law Group?
Our solicitors are experts in traffic matters. We will use our experience and expertise to lead you through the Court process and take full advantage of your completion of the Traffic Offender Program.
For traffic offences, we typically offer fixed fees with no hidden extras. To read more about AC Law Group, click here.
To discuss how completing the Traffic Offenders Program can benefit you, call us at Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern or make a website inquiry today.