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An LRL Drug and Drunk Driving Lawyer Appeal Case Study

Underage Drink & Drug Driving Offences as a 17-Year-Old

Lumme Rynderman Legal, Maroochydore criminal law firm Managing Partner, Chris Lumme, won an appeal, “MK v Director of Public Prosecutions Qld (2022) QChC 9”, against a sentence imposed in 2022 by a Childrens Court Magistrate. Read on for insight into this drunk driving appeal and two other drug driving appeals.

The Youth Justice Act applies to any person charged with an offence that is under 18 years of age. This Act includes its own sentencing regime, rather than the adult sentencing regime contained in the Penalties and Sentences Act.

The differences in sentencing a young person were recently discussed by Her Honour, Judge Richards, who is the President of the Childrens Court of Queensland, in three decisions:

  1. MK v Director of Public Prosecutions Qld (2022) QChC 9;
  2. WEB v Director of Public Prosecutions Queensland (2022) QChC 7;
  3. NIGHT v Director of Public Prosecutions Queensland (2022) QChC 6.

In NIGHT and WEB, the Court was concerned with a charge of driving with a relevant drug being present in the defendant’s saliva. In MK, the Court was dealing with a charge of driving whilst over the “no alcohol” limit. Each of the defendant’s held a provisional licence.

If each defendant were an adult, a mandatory disqualification period must be imposed. In each case, that would have been three months. This mandatory disqualification would also apply if the sentencing Magistrate imposed a sentencing order under Part 7 of the Youth Justice Act.

As is demonstrated in each of these DUI cases though, Magistrates have a wider discretion when sentencing young offenders. The Youth Justice Act has provided for an option not available to adult offenders – a dismissal of the DUI charge without proceeding to sentence.

As was recognised by Her Honour,

“The sentencing regime in relation to children is very different from that which an adult may face. The scheme of the Act acknowledges that children do not have the same maturity as adults and that they are more likely to benefit from sentences that assist them to properly understand the wider effects on the community of their actions, develop alternative ways to act and to empathise with the possible victims of their crimes.”

DUI lawyer, Mr Lumme, managing partner of our criminal law firm, represented MK at the sentence hearing and on the appeal which was successful for reasons published here in the official case document.

There were good reasons for why it was not appropriate for MK to be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver licence, including:

  • MK was remorseful;
  • Entered a plea of guilty at the first opportunity;
  • Had completed the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program prior to sentence;
  • Had no criminal or traffic history;
  • Had a reading of 0.049%;
  • Required a driver licence for work but was otherwise unable to apply for a Work Licence;
  • Was not driving in a dangerous manner.

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a DUI (drink driving or drug driving) offence as a 17 year old, please contact our DUI lawyers to find out whether you, or they, may avoid being disqualified. Our drink driving lawyers and drug driving lawyers have a wealth of experience and knowledge in these types of cases and are happy to help in any way we can.

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