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PO Box 57138, Mana, 5247
Wellington, New Zealand
STEPHEN IORNS
Phone: +64 4 974 9121
Email: stephen@iornslegal.co.nz
RODERICK MULGAN
Phone: +64 4 974 9089
Email: mulgan@iornslegal.co.nz
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Disqualification - when your drivers licence is in jeopardy

August 26, 2014

Whether you’re looking at losing your licence due to demerit points, or as a result of the Court imposing a sentence, there are a number of things you might be able to do to ensure your time off the road is kept to a minimum. 

 

 

Limited / Work Licence

 

If you have already been disqualified or suspended, your quickest way to get back on the road is a limited licence, which is commonly referred to as a “work licence”. The thing with limited licences is that they’re not only available for work. If you need to be able to get to medical appointments, or need to transport someone else and there is no other option, you may be eligible for a limited licence. A limited licence is designed to alleviate extreme hardship to the disqualified person, or undue hardship to any other person. Now, the reason these are so commonly known as work licences is because that is the primary reason for getting one. If you will lose your job if you can not drive, you will likely qualify, if it is your primary source of income. Even if it is not, if your boss will be seriously put out by losing you, you will likely qualify under the “undue hardship to another” provision. There are a number of things that mean some people simply can not get limited licences. We can usually tell you this over the phone or email, without incurring any cost. If you think you might qualify for a limited licence but are not sure, please contact Roderick for a no obligation free chat.

 

Special Reasons

 

If you have been charged with one of the offences that carry a mandatory period of disqualification, and have no defence, then you still have options to stay on the road. Section 81 of the Land Transport Act 1998 provides “the court must order that the person be disqualified accordingly unless for special reasons relating to the offence it thinks fit to order otherwise”. This allows the Court to not disqualify you, if there is something extraordinary about your case. In drink drive cases, we have avoided disqualification for clients on the basis of a very small distance being driven, and the alcohol being consumed by accident, for example. In careless driving causing injury cases, we have established “special reasons” for clients whose sole error was an extraordinary one (for example, wearing jandals and having them lodge under a gas pedal). In driving whilst disqualified cases, we have established special reasons in cases where the driver was operating under a sense of urgency, or assisting in a medical emergency. The list of circumstances we see that could constitute special reasons is endless. As a starting point, it needs to be something truly out of the ordinary, relating to the offence (not the offender) that would not in law amount to a defence.  If you want to discuss your particular case, we are always happy to have a chat about specific cases.

 

Treadmill provisions

 

While it does not apply to many, for those that have been subject to disqualification in the past, there may be the ability to seek community service, or some other community based sentence, instead of disqualification. The power for this is found in Section 91 of the Land Transport Act. The basis for these provisions is to get people off the treadmill of disqualifications. It can be used a bit wider than this, though.

 

A Robust Defence

 

We have represented countless drivers that thought they were going to lose their licence, and perhaps liberty, when they were charged. From drink drivers, to professionals, to every day folk. Our land transport practice has obtained acquittals for those charged with driving with excess breath and blood alcohol, boy racing offences, and careless driving with or without injury. Stephen once successfully defended a taxi driver charged with hitting a woman on a mobility scooter as she traversed a pedestrian crossing! Roderick has successfully defended countless defendants charged with drink driving, despite initially being presented with what appears to be clear readings showing the client was over the limit.

 

At the end of the day, we get that keeping you on the road at all costs is sometimes your only option. If you are facing enforced time off the road, contact us to see if there’s any way it can be avoided.

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