If you have been charged with a traffic offence in Queensland, you may be able to negotiate your charges with the prosecutor or the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions. Here is everything you need to know about negotiating a traffic offence with a prosecutor.
Negotiations are usually left up to lawyers, you can choose to represent yourself although, you should know that you probably won’t get a result you are happy with if you don’t have strong negotiating skills and you go to court unprepared.
What is negotiating?
Negotiating is often called case conferencing and lawyers will commence negotiations with the courts on behalf of their client to reduce charges, minimise sentences and avoid time-consuming court hearings. This is normally done in person, over the phone or in writing to the prosecutor.
Different forms of negotiation
- Convincing the prosecutor to dismiss all charges.
- If it is a single offence, attempting to receive a lesser charge for pleading guilty.
- If there are multiple charges, negotiating to plead guilty to one or some to withdraw others.
- Persuading the prosecutor to have the matter dealt with in Local Court rather than District Court.
- Pleading guilty based on an agreed set of facts.
Why do negotiations occur?
There are two reasons why negotiations take place. The first is for the benefit of the community to ensure that reasonable punishments are served for criminal offences, the other is to keep costs down in the criminal justice system.
Is it worth negotiating?
Many choose to deal with their traffic offence by accepting the fine and punishment rather than trying to negotiate. This is usually because it’s easier and people want to put it behind them rather than dragging out the process, even if they believe they aren’t in the wrong or there is a valid excuse as to why the event occurred. This may be quicker but, it can have a huge impact on your ability to maintain employment if your licence is disqualified. An experienced traffic lawyer will be able to offer you sound advice on whether it’s worthwhile pursuing that option or if it will be better for you to accept a guilty plea.
Instances that you may consider pleading not guilty
In some unique instances, it may be in your best interests to fight the charges, some include:
- There isn’t enough evidence to prove that you committed the offence.
- You believe you were wrongfully charged.
- You were driving for emergency reasons and you have a valid defence for doing so.
Your lawyer can help you navigate your way through the negotiation process to bring you the best result, it’s highly recommended that you seek legal advice if you haven’t already.
Factors that may affect your chances of successful negotiation
Some factors may affect your chances of reducing or changing your charge, such as:
- If you have a criminal history or not.
- The seriousness of the offence.
- Your age.
- The impacts your charge will place on your livelihood or ability to care for others.
- Whether you have written a letter of apology to the court and obtained character references.
- Relevant case law for situations similar to yours.
- Hiring a traffic lawyer vs going at it alone.
How does it work?
Negotiating usually begins with the police prosecutors brief which is given to your lawyer. This is known as the QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9 or police court brief). It is a document prepared by the DPP and it outlines your charges and information about what the Police are alleging you did. It will also contain your criminal and traffic history if any. From this information, your lawyer will work out a strategy to increase your chances of receiving an outcome you are satisfied with.
Even if you are pleading guilty to your charges, you will still have the opportunity to say something in your defence. Explaining why you have found yourself in the predicament you are in may help to lessen your punishment. Making excuses won’t help, but expressing genuine regret, having everything in order ready for court and taking the necessary steps to put your best foot forward before the court can help. If you hire a lawyer, they can speak for you on your behalf, so you don’t have to if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Why you need a lawyer
Some traffic offences carry a mandatory disqualification period with no possibility of applying for a work licence, so it is crucial that you have legal representation to negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to lessen your charge or to persuade them to allow you to apply for a work licence. Going at it alone can see you miss out on this opportunity.
Pleading down a charge
Negotiations are often carried out when you have been charged with more than one offence. Your lawyer can negotiate on the condition of you pleading guilty, that one of your charges should be dropped or changed to a lesser charge.
Have you been charged with a traffic offence? Make sure you protect your rights and seek legal advice as soon as you can. Our team here at Drink Driving Lawyer are expert traffic lawyers and can help you negotiate to bring the absolute best result given your circumstances. Get in contact today for more information.
Drink Driver Lawyer proudly commences all work by giving you no obligation, free advice on your case. This means there is no risk and no pressure on you. You are able to explore your options and gain a greater understanding of your matter without an upfront cost. Our team are friendly and compassionate, we understand mistakes happen to people from all walks of life. Many firms offer criminal representation, few specialise in criminal and traffic matters. We have been protecting our clients’ rights with a combined over 100 years of experience in the exact issues you are facing. The certainty of a fixed fee. In most cases, you will know the costs of your matter so you can plan your finances. Call us for a quote today. We care about every one of our clients and we will support you through what can be the most stressful experience of your life.