Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to a person who has been charged with a traffic offence under the to be heard in the Magistrates’ Court if the person has a serious mental health issue or intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury and the person’s conviction is either:
- a suspended term of imprisonment.
For the purposes of this guideline the penalty threshold applies whether the proposed plea is 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.
Serious mental health issue or intellectual disability
For the purposes of a grant under this guideline, a person with a serious mental health issue or intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury means a person who has a serious mental health issue and is receiving services from a designated mental health service under the or is an eligible person registered under the .
The State's special circumstances guideline does not apply to traffic matters.
Relevance of prior convictions
If a person applying for a grant has any prior convictions, VLA will take them into account when considering the likely result of the conviction on a guilty plea.
If a person has no prior convictions, VLA is more likely to make a grant of legal assistance if either:
- the current offence is extremely serious
- there are many charges.
Lawyers seeking a grant of legal assistance under this guideline should submit an application via , only after ensuring that the following documents are retained on file unless they are requested by VLA for assessment:
- a reference to guideline 2
- copies of the charge or charges
- full details of the person’s prior convictions (if any)
- the lawyer’s assessment of the likely penalty having regard to any prior relevant convictions (if any)
- relevant .
Reviewed 19 April 2023