Category: Criminal & Traffic

New Changes to the Australian Workplace: Family and Domestic Violence

As a Law Firm we believe we have a responsibility to notify you whenever there is a change in the legal world, particularly if we think it could affect you.

As of the 1st August 2018, the Fair Work Commission has made a new change to Australian Workplaces. There will be a new clause providing five days of unpaid leave each year, to all employees covered by an award, experiencing family and domestic violence. This new clause applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.

So what is classified as family and domestic violence? The Fair Work Commission has defined Family and Domestic violence as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • Seeks to coerce or control the employee;
  • Causes them harm or fear.”

Additionally, a family member includes: an employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, an employee’s current or former spouse or de factor partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

Ultimately, this clause is to ensure employers display goodwill in accepting the leave necessary for employees to face their family and domestic violence issues. The Commission explained that “retaining employment is an important pathway out of violent relationships. Conversely, a lack of financial security has an adverse impact on the ability to recover from family and domestic violence.”[1]

If you believe this new leave option affects you then we are more than happy to have a private and confidential discussion, please contact us on (08) 7001 6135.

[1] https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwcfb3936.htm


New Intervention Order Laws

It was announced last week that South Australia is seeking to further crack down on domestic violence, as reported by InDaily’s Stephanie Richards.1 The State’s Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, announced that legislative changes will be made to:

  • include taking personal photos of a person without their consent as an act of domestic violence;
  • include blocking a person’s entry from their own home as an act of domestic violence;
  • include a definition of ‘forced marriage’ as an act of domestic violence, to protect victims from being sent overseas for forced marriage or being forced into marriage within Australia.
  • double the penalties for repeatedly breaching intervention orders;
  • create a new offence for ‘non-fatal strangulation’; and
  • allow videos from police cameras worn by officers to be used as evidence in trials of domestic violence crimes.

Ms Chapman said that the State Government has been working with both victims of domestic violence, and organisations that support them, in order to deter and punish potential offenders.

Ms Chapman described the changes as “arming the judiciary with the capacity” to prosecute offenders, particularly repeat offenders, more severely.

Under current legislation, attempted or non-fatal strangulation is prosecuted as attempted murder. Ms Chapman hopes that creating a new offence under Domestic Violence legislation, will lead to more successful prosecutions and ultimately, better protection for victims. The Advertiser reports2 that similar legislation in Queensland has led to over 800 charges of the offence, since 2016.

These proposed changes are supported by South Australian Police and the Chief Magistrate. The Attorney-General is looking to have a draft Bill before Parliament by the end of the month, for consideration by the Members over their winter break. If successfully passed, the new laws may be enforceable before the end of the year.

This means that Domestic Violence will constitute a wider range of acts, and penalties for breaching Court Orders relating to these acts will be doubled. This deterrence will hopefully lead to a decrease in such behaviour, and more incentive to adhere to the terms of Intervention Orders.

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence or require an Intervention Order, call the Police on 000, or 131 444 for assistance.

Stanley & Co Lawyers are experts in all areas of Intervention Orders and Criminal Law. If you, or someone you know, needs help through this difficult process, please contact us on (08) 7001 6135. 

 

 

 

1. https://indaily.com.au/news/2018/07/09/sa-govt-announces-suite-measures-crack-dv/ 

2. https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/attorneygeneral-vickie-chapman-promises-tougher-penalties-for-abusers-who-breach-court-orders/news-story/d9964d3da4416c2031a93f603878f74b 


Checklist: What to bring to your appointment for your Intervention Order?

Intervention Orders offer protection to victims of abuse, which is why it is important you seek legal advice if you are suffering. Occasionally we have clients who come to meetings feeling unprepared or unsure of the process of applying for an Intervention Order. Therefore, we believe outlining the process can mitigate these feelings and leave you more prepared.  

After your preliminary meeting or phone conversation with our lawyer, Rich Stanley, we will send you a Retainer Agreement containing several documents that you need to read. Once the applicable documents have been filled out, a meeting will be organised to begin the process which is where preparation is crucial. We have gathered 4 easy check points you can follow:  

  • Write a list of specific questions you have. 
  • Bring a pen and paper to write down any advice our lawyer will give you. 
  • Start a chronology or diary of the incidents that have occurred.  
  • Bring any evidence such as electronic correspondence such as text messages, emails or videos.  

Preparing for this meeting means your time spent with our lawyer will be effective and efficient so please bring as many documents with you as possible.  

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from abuse and needs assistance with an Intervention Order, then it is important legal advice is received as soon as possible. Stanley & Co. Lawyers offer free initial consultations where our understanding and well experienced lawyers will be able to guide you through the process.  


Is your Intervention Order recognised Inter-State?

Intervention Orders (“IOs”) offer protection to victims of abuse. They are particularly important in domestic relationships for partners or children who experience physical, emotional or psychological harm or threats from other members of the family. You may also know them as ‘restraining orders’, ‘apprehended violence orders’ or ‘domestic violence orders’ in different parts of the country or the world. 

Previously, IOs made in South Australia did not apply in any other State or Territory unless they were re-registered through that State or Territory’s Court. This could often cause great fear to those protected by an IO when leaving South Australia, due to the uncertainty of being followed outside of the State. 

 New Laws 

As of 25 of November 2017, all Intervention Orders for domestic relationships will be recognised in every State and Territory, nationwide. For this to take effect, it must prohibit abuse between people in a ‘relationship’, as defined by the legislation. This means married couples or those in another form of domestic or intimate personal relationship, direct family members, carers or those related through Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules. 

However, this only automatically applies to IOs issued after 25 November 2017. So, what if you have an IO for a domestic relationship that was issued before this date? 

 Declaring your Intervention Order under the new laws 

The Courts have made the process as easy as possible for protected person. You may apply at any Magistrates or Local Court in Australia, in any State, to have your IO ‘declared’ to be nationally recognised. There is no requirement that this application be made at the same Court or even the same State as your IO was issued. In South Australia, you will need to use a ‘Form 46A’ with any Magistrates Court in the State.  

Finally, these changes will not affect how local Police enforce IOs in the State they were initially issued. These changes only act to expand the protection offered to victims, not diminish them. 

 If you, or someone you know, is suffering from Domestic Violence and needs assistance with an Intervention Order, do not hesitate to contact the compassionate and experienced lawyers at Stanley & Co. 

 Follow the link below to read the Attorney-General’s brochure regarding the changes. 

https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Families/FamilyViolence/Documents/NDVOS/English-NDVOS-brochure.PDF  


I know I’ve accumulated some demerits points, but how many is too many?

Majority of us would have accrued some demerits points in our lifetime, but how many demerit points is too many? What happens when we commit a traffic offence and we have demerit points attached to our name?

If you have been caught committing a traffic offence, either in South Australia or interstate, there is the very real possibility of incurring demerit points on your driver’s licence. The rules surrounding Learner’s and Provisional Licences, and Full Licences differ, and it is important to know the facts.

Learner and Provisional Drivers

For those on their Learner’s Permit or Provisional (1) or (2) licence, accruing four or more demerit points will mean a disqualification from driving for 6 months.

Full Licensed Drivers

For Full Licensed drivers, 12 or more demerit points means that they will receive a disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence or permit.

  • 12 to 15 points means losing the right to drive for three months
  • 16 to 20 points means losing the right to drive for four months
  • More than 20 points means losing the right to drive for five months

A ‘Demerits Warning Notice’ will be served once accruing 6 or more demerit points, and will outline:

  • Offence details
  • The date of each committed offence
  • The number of demerit points for each offence
  • That a disqualification from driving is not far away

Demerit points and their coordinating offences remain on your licence record for three years from the date of the offence. This period is calculated based on that dates each offence was committed.

Common offences leading to incurring demerits points are:

OFFENCE DEMERIT POINTS INCURRED
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h 2
Exceeding speed limit by 10km/h but less than 20 km/h 3
Driving recklessly at speed or in manner dangerous to public 6
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drug 6
Failing to give way at a pedestrian crossing 3
Turning at an intersection with “no turn” sign 2
Failing to move out of the way to police or emergency vehicle 3

A full list of offences can be found in the Road Traffic Act 1961, and it is important to recognise these rules and the demerit point system so as to keep out of trouble.

If you are in need of legal assistance in the areas of traffic offences or criminal charges, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to seek advice from our experienced Adelaide lawyers.


What is ‘bail’, and how can a lawyer help me when bail becomes complex?

Even the most law abiding citizens may find themselves in Court. In the event that you need to attend court, there are two possibilities:

  • If the police or the court has placed you on a bail agreement, then you MUST attend court.
  • If you are not on bail the lawyers can attend court on your behalf.

Upon being charged with an offence, the police may or may not decide to arrest you. If they do place you under arrest, a visit to the police station is necessary for charging. Being released on ‘bail’ is when the police decide to release you from the station, and you can remain free in relation to the charged offence. There are a few requirements of bail, and attending court on the given date is a primary requirement.

If the police do not want to release you, nor release you on bail, here presents the need to go before a court where you seek bail from the court. Once the matter is in court, only a Magistrate or Judge can grant bail.

Bail variation applications are possible if you need to travel interstate whilst on bail not to leave the state. Before your first court date, you will probably be on police bail, which means that we will negotiate directly with the police to vary the bail agreement.

If the police will not vary your bail, then we can apply to the court to vary the bail, either on or after the date of your first court hearing. Once in court, only a Magistrate or Judge can vary your bail.

If the prosecution opposes the bail variation, the application can become more complex. We will put forward the strongest possible case for your bail variation. Call our experienced Adelaide lawyers today on 08 7132 5636 to discuss your options regarding bail.


What do Adelaide’s cycling laws mean for both cyclists and drivers?

Adelaide is home to cyclists galore, and bike lanes are being incorporated into the majority of the roads around the entire city. Due to such an increase in the public riding their bikes to work or university, or just for a leisure activity, there is an increase in the potential for road accidents.

As of October 2015, all cyclists can ride on the footpath, but this increases the risk to pedestrians. Riding on roads forces an increase in health risks by being so close to cars, trucks and other motor vehicles.

Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) defines ‘bicycle’ as a vehicle, and so cyclists must obey road rules like other cars, such as stopping at stop lights and indicating when turning. This also means that cyclists can be charged with ‘drink riding’ or riding under the influence of drugs and can incur an on the spot fine or disqualification if convicted. Cyclists must also wear a safety helmet, and will receive an on the spot fine if they are not wearing one while riding on the road or footpath.

October 2015 also saw the introduction of another important law regarding the on-road relationship between cars and bikes. It is now an offence to fail to keep a sufficient distance when overtaking a cyclist. If you are driving your car 60km/h or less, at least 1 metre must be between you and the bike. If you are driving at more than 60km/h, the distance between you and the bike must be at least 1.5 metres.

Be mindful of cyclists when reversing out of driveways and driving on the roads at any time of day. If you are either a driver or a cyclist and find yourself requiring legal advice, call our experienced Adelaide lawyers on 08 7132 5646 for a no-obligation chat to discuss your options.


How can a lawyer help me in Criminal Law?

Being represented by an experienced criminal lawyer is strongly recommended, as it can make a positive difference to the outcome of your matter.

A lawyer can help to: have the charges withdrawn or reduced to a lesser offence, speak on your behalf, prepare your case for trial, reduce any fines or costs imposed on you, and apply for recovery of your costs when you are acquitted.

Lawyers can assist in a variety of ways, and are there to support you in a time of need. Speaking to police can be daunting, and so lawyers can be present in the interview and assist if need be. They can apply to bail, and will analyse the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to bring a case against you. They will advise you of your options and the best course of action to take, as well as negotiating with the police and prosecution to reduce, amend or withdraw the charge against you.

Lawyers will attend court on your behalf, and speak for you. If you choose to enter a guilty plea, or take the matter to trial, they achieve the best outcome possible in your case.

Contact us today on 08 7132 5636 to speak with an experienced Adelaide criminal lawyer.