Business & Investment

Legal opinion: distance disadvantage

NS: Sarah Marinovich *

What if the court location is too far away?

Distance to court is an issue for remote drivers

A common problem faced by truck drivers in defense of the National Heavy Vehicles Act (HVNL) accusation is the practicality of proceeding with proceedings in courts far from home.

The problem arises because you are assigned to the court closest to the place where the alleged crime was committed. Because truck drivers travel long distances, they are often sent from home for hours or to a court in another state.

This adds an additional hurdle for truck drivers who want to spend the day in court. In many cases, going to court means missing a few days of work and paying for transportation and accommodation. It’s not uncommon for all these costs to be higher than the fines you may be facing.

The problem has been exacerbated since COVID. During the outbreak, there is often uncertainty about whether people can travel long distances for court and whether they are allowed to enter the complex when they arrive.

So what are your options if you receive a court notice to attend a distant courthouse? It depends on what your plan is in that case.

Unfortunately, if you claim “not guilty”, the case usually has to stay in the original court.

However, in New South Wales, if you’re guilty but need the opportunity to explain your side of the story and demand generosity, you have several options.

Move the case

If the person is found guilty, it is usually possible to move the case closer. One caveat is that you cannot move the case to the interstate highway.

This is because each state has its own court system and cannot take over proceedings from other states. For interstate highways, consider asking them to move to an easily accessible location, such as near the border or major airports.

To request a transfer of location, you must send a phone call or email to the court register explaining why you are requesting the transfer.

Written plea

You can send a letter to the court showing your guilty plea and explaining what you want the security judge to know about your case. This is an easy way to deal with the problem, but it is not always the best option. Justice of the peace may have questions about your case. Without you, you can’t solve the problem.

So while this is a good option for very simple cases, it’s usually better to be present if you’re facing heavy fines and disadvantages.

Send a lawyer

In many cases, the judge will allow your lawyer to present your proceedings on your behalf if you have a valid reason for not being able to attend. This can be a useful midpoint. You have a representative to raise your case and resolve the issue. Justice of the peace can see you taking the case seriously and you don’t have to miss a job.

Use technology

Since COVID was launched last year, courts have improved facilities for remote court appearances. Many district courts in New South Wales have video links that allow people to attend courts from home. If you wish to consider this option, you must send it to the court register by phone or email long before the proceedings (at least a week in advance). Unfortunately, resources are still limited, so it’s important to check availability in advance.

My main advice is to take action as soon as I receive a court notice. That way, you won’t run out of time to make arrangements.

If you have a proceeding in court and need guidance, the Ainsley Law team will always be happy to chat with OwnerDriver readers.

* SARAH MARINOVIC Ainsley method – A company that specializes in traffic law and heavy vehicle law. She has focused on this expertise for over a decade, has launched RMS prosecution, and has used that experience as a defense lawyer to assist professional drivers and truck owners. Send an email to Sarah for more information. Or call 0416224601.

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Legal opinion: distance disadvantage Legal opinion: distance disadvantage

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