Doesn't it seem strange that the term "trifling"
can be used in conjunction with drink driving charges?
It is actually a legal option for you to reduce a
disqualification period after being charged with drink driving.
Andersons Senior Associate, David Mullen explains the options
for trifling applications. If you've been charged with drink
driving, this article is a must read:
Drink Driving and "Trifling" Applications
Drink driving offences still figure prominently in our court
lists. This is despite all of the publicity surrounding drink
driving. One of the most often asked questions by clients charged
with drink driving is, "can the court allow me to drive for
work?" The answer is no. Courts have no power to allow
driving in the course of employment. Client's can become
indignant and say they will lose their job and even put forward
examples of knowing someone who was allowed to drive during their
employment hours, even though they were convicted of a drink
That is the sad reality of drink driving convictions; loss of
licence, heavy fines and possible loss of employment which can be
followed by a loss of the family home and much more, at a later
stage. What people may be getting confused about is the
situation where an offence is considered to be "trifling" by the
court; the period of disqualification can be reduced.
Section 47B(3)(b) of theRoad Traffic Actstates the
the disqualification prescribed by paragraph (a) cannot be
reduced or mitigated in any way or be substituted by any other
penalty or sentence unless, in the case of a first offence, the
court is satisfied, by evidence given on oath, the offence is
trifling, in which case it may order a period of disqualification
that is less than the prescribed minimum period but not less than
The courts have not laid down any hard a fast rules as to what
is meant by the term trifling. In this section of theRoad
Traffic Actit is used to mean of slight importance, insignificant
or of little moment. A typical or normal example of drink
driving will not be considered "trifling". A person who is
driving on the borderline is generally a typical offence as the
courts are full of people who miscalculate the number of drinks
For a charge of drink driving to qualify as "trifling", the
person must be a first offender, give evidence on oath of the
circumstances and it is for the court to decide if the matter is
trifling. If the matter is considered trifling, the licence
disqualification can be reduced less than the prescribed minimum
period but not less than 1 month.
David is a Solicitor in our Victor Harbor
For further information, contact Andersons on 1800 653 655.
This information is not intended as legal advice and should
not be substituted for legal advice.
The information contained in this article is current at the
time of publication - October 2010.