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WA Chronic Anxiety and Depression - Defence for Mandatory Sentencing?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by jpm85, 11 July 2015.

  1. jpm85

    jpm85 Active Member

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    I'm trying to find out whether I can use my having chronic anxiety and depression, as well as a recent addiction to methamphetamine that I have overcome, as a defence against mandatory minimum sentencing for the following traffic law charges? I have yet to see a lawyer, I'm saving up now.

    Has anyone heard of such cases? Any lenience? Counselling or increase of other penalties to offset the 6 month mandatory sentencing? Also does that mean a minimum of 6 months inside?

    I have a relatively clean criminal record, barring a loss of drivers licence 10 years ago for drag racing, reckless driving, dangerous driving in the public or any person (to escape pursuit by police), being a driver of a vehicle failed to comply with a direction to stop (circumstance of aggression), no authority to drive (incorrect class), and stealing ( theft) a motor vehicle ( was unaware bike was stolen, was not mine).

    Any help would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    If the sentence is mandated by legislation, this is the minimum sentencing the court must give. There is no lenience on this. You will not get less than the statutory mandate.

    Are we talking about a minimum suspension period? What were you charged with?

    The court may, however, order a heavier sentence than the minimum depending on the circumstances of your offence. In this case, the court will consider all the factors against you, come to a sentence, then consider all the factors to mitigate your situation (such as depression and drug addiction) and possibly decrease your sentence if it accepts the case for mitigation. This is when a good lawyer will help to argue for the court's sympathy and understanding.
     
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  3. jpm85

    jpm85 Active Member

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    Hi tracy, thanks for your response. The charges are as follows, I was hoping to use my having cronic depression and anxiety as defence / reason for my initially evading police , perhaps having the mandatory minimum suspended, although the law does state the sentance can not be suspended.
    I only have about $5k at my disposal for a lawyer at present, court is on the 31st, I will try and have a remand to prepare and get cash.


    ^^reckless driving, dangerous driving in the public or any person (to escape pursuit by police), ^^being a driver of a vehicle failed to comply with a direction to stop (circumstance of aggression), ^^No authority to drive (incorrect class), and ^^Stealing a motor vehicle ( was unaware bike was stolen,was not mine).
     
  4. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I cannot provide information about the sentencing. However in regards to your legal representation, have you contacted Legal Aid in WA?
    Also, you should be able to get an adjournment of your hearing if you can't secure legal representation in time.
     
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  5. jpm85

    jpm85 Active Member

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    Thanks Ivy,
    I will call them shortly and see if I am eligible, and/or seek further advice.
     
  6. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi jpm85,

    The charges you're up against are serious. There's also a number of charges, which make things slightly more complicated. It would help if you had representation so a lawyer can make sense of them all and tell your side of the story in a way that mitigates your circumstances. Your symptoms will unlikely get you off the offences, but might make a Magistrate sympathetic to your state of mind at the time. Key word here is: might. Trials and sentencing can be unpredictable and how you present your situation affects sentencing.

    Take Ivy's advice and contact the WA Legal Aid as soon as possible.
     
  7. jpm85

    jpm85 Active Member

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    Thank you for that, and sorry about the late reply.

    I went to court and got a 1 month adjournment 2 days ago for legal representation.

    Another legal question - What does mandatory minimum sentence 6 months actually mean? 6 months minimum served? Or 6 months issued, but can get out earlier?

    Thanks again
     
  8. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi jpm85,

    Mandatory minimum sentence does not mean minimum non-parole period. These two concepts are still different.

    The judge must impose a sentence higher than the mandatory minimum sentence. However, the judge may also impose a minimum non-parole period within this sentence.
     
  9. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Although, in reality, a judge will unlikely do this, because this would defeat the purpose of the legislation and the government's intentions in imposing the mandatory sentence in the first place.
     
  10. jpm85

    jpm85 Active Member

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    Ah ok , thanks Tracy much appreciated
     

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