Disqualifications are mandatory with excess breath/blood alcohol, dangerous/reckless driving or driving while disqualified charges.
Does this mean you cannot drive? In Central Otago with limited public transport this can be a major issue.
If you exceed 100 demerit points in two years you will be suspended from driving for 3 months. There are a number of applications under the Land Transport Act 1998 which could be used to help you get back on the road faster if you meet particular criteria.
1.Limited licence (work licence): does losing your licence mean that your employment will be in jeopardy or are you a business owner and without the ability to drive you cannot operate? In this instance a limited licence may be an option to consider. There are some exclusions under this type of application, for example if you have two qualifying offences within five years you may be excluded from applying. If granted a limited licence it will allow you to drive to specified places or within a particular geographical area for certain hours to enable you to maintain your employment. A work licence is not the only option.
2. Section 94 application: If you are ineligible for a work licence or in a constant cycle of being disqualified or suspended from driving, you may be eligible to apply for this application. Under a section 94 application the Court has the power to impose a community-based sentence (community work, community detention, supervision) instead of being disqualified. This type of application is aimed at those who are recidivist offenders and need assistance to break the cycle of being disqualified.
3. Section 81 application: were you charged with a driving offence that has a mandatory disqualification but believe you had to drive because of an emergency or unique factual circumstance? Where there are special circumstances to the offending it may give grounds to argue that the disqualification period should not be imposed. This type of application has a high threshold but is available in the right circumstances.
Recent cases: we have recently been successful in appealing decisions to the High Court where section 94 applications have not been advanced at sentencing despite instructions to do so or in the circumstances where advice on the application was not given prior to sentencing notwithstanding the factual circumstances supporting the applications.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with a member of the criminal defence team who are able to assist with any criminal related matter.