Our Services / Heavy Vehicle
Work Diary Breach
If you’ve been charged with a work diary offence, it can feel like the odds are stacked against you. But, with the right approach you can successfully fight the charge or reduce the penalties.
Our team is uniquely placed to help you. Heavy Vehicle law is a niche area, with few lawyers focussing on it as their main area of expertise. But we do!
With over a decade working in the field, and an ex-RMS prosecutor on the team, we not only know the law back to front, we know the industry.
We understand that what the law requires doesn’t always match the realities of the job. We know the common mistakes that drivers and the RMS make, and importantly we can explain them in a way that magistrates understand.
Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your driver fatigue charges.
What's at stake?
When you’ve been charged with a work diary breach the main concerns are:
- Fines – the maximum penalty the magistrate can impose depends on the seriousness of the charge. For the most serious category (critical risk), the fines can be up to $16,830 for each breach.
- Demerit points – work diary breaches incur up to 4 demerit points each depending on the category of breach.
- RMS legal fees – the RMS can ask the magistrate to make you pay their legal fees. We always run your matter in a way to avoid unnecessary costs orders, because the last thing you want is to pay the RMS more. Read more
Will I lose my licence?
The Court won’t make any order to directly disqualify your drivers licence for fatigue offences. However, you will usually incur demerit points for more serious offences.
These demerit points could lead to a licence suspension. Talk to us about the flow on effect of your matter for your licence and employment.
What if I'm not guilty?
It is possible to defend driver fatigue charges.
The RMS and police regularly make mistakes when reading and interpreting work diaries.
There are also several defences contained in the legislation (e.g. split breaks defence for BMF drivers, the short break defence for standard hour drivers).
It is a good idea to seek legal advice before entering your plea of not guilty. You could be liable for the RMS’ legal costs if you are unsuccessful.
Call us to discuss the available defences in your case.
What if I didn't mean to breach the rules?
With such complicated laws, even the best and most experienced drivers make mistakes. This can be a powerful factor in convincing a magistrate to reduce, or even waive, the penalty.
The trick is being able to identify why the mistake happened, how to fix it and then explain everything in a way the magistrate can understand. That’s where our years of working with the industry come in to play.
Contact us to discuss what you can do to win your case.
Can I change the court location?
Yes, you can change the court location if you are pleading guilty.
Your case will start in the Local Court closest to where the offence happened. Often this is a long way from your home. If you plead guilty the magistrate will often agree to move the case to a closer court.
What if I don't want to go to court?
If you are pleading guilty you can submit a ‘written notice of pleading’.
If you do this the magistrate will decide the penalty in your absence. This can save you the time and money of attending court.
However, it usually results in a worse outcome than if you’d attended because you are not there to plead your case, answer questions and show that you are taking the matter seriously.
If minimising the fines and demerit points is important to you, then it’s best to attend court in person.
Contact us for an honest assessment of whether you would be better to attend court or not.
Driver Fatigue Legislation
Chapter 6, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
Work and rest offences:
- Standard Hours – solo driver: Section 250, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
- Standard Hours – two-up: Section 251, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
- BFM – solo driver: Section 254, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
- BFM – Two-up: Section 256, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
- AFM: Section 258, Heavy Vehicle National Law (NSW)
Level 1, 299 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Suite 19, 103 George Street
Parramatta NSW 2150