What is Heavy Vehicle Drink Driving?
Unsurprisingly, drivers of heavy vehicles are required to have a lower blood alcohol content than ordinary non-commercial car drivers. As such, this is a sub category of special range drink driving.
The limit is under 0.02 for those driving:
- A heavy motor vehicle (classified as having a gross vehicle mass of greater than 13.9 tonnes), such as a truck.
- A coach.
- A public vehicle such as a taxi or bus.
- Certain vehicles which are carrying dangerous substances.
When determining a sentence for heavy vehicle drink driving in NSW, the court will consider how much your blood alcohol content exceeded the permissible limit, and whether you have committed any other traffic infringements in the previous five years.
What are the penalties for Heavy Vehicle Drink Driving?
If you are facing a charge of heavy vehicle drink driving, there are a number of penalties that may be imposed, including a fine.
If you are charged with a second offence in a five-year period, you will be required to participate in the Interlock program.
|First major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification||3 months|
|Automatic disqualification (in the absence of specific court order)||6 months|
|Second major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification under Interlock||1 month|
|Maximum disqualification under Interlock||3 months|
|Interlock period||12 months|
If you are granted an exemption from Interlock, longer disqualification periods will be applied. However, the courts grant very few exemptions.
How severe is the charge against you?
A driver who is in a position of public responsibility (either because they are driving a large vehicle or are carrying public passengers) is required to have a very low blood alcohol content in order to help avoid the risk of serious injury or death to other road users.
However, as this offence falls within the lower range category of drink driving, you may be able to pursue an argument under section 10 that no conviction should be recorded against you.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program (TOP or TOIP)
If you have participated in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, the court may take this into account when determining your sentence for heavy vehicle drink driving.
If you have been found guilty of heavy vehicle drink driving for the second time in the past five years, you will be required to participate in the Interlock program. A device will be fitted to your vehicle and you will not be able to turn over the engine unless you provide a breath sample.
How can a drink driving lawyer help me?
If you have been charged with heavy vehicle drink driving, it is likely that you are reliant upon your vehicle for your work. Although there are some fairly hefty penalties which may be imposed on you if you are found guilty of this charge, your prospects of retaining your driver’s licence for work purposes are drastically improved if you seek swift legal advice. Our specialist traffic lawyers can help.
We provide urgent criminal legal advice 24/7 for all drink driving offences. Our drink driving lawyers and accredited specialist solicitor are available now for your call.
Some of our drink driving solicitors in Sydney and Parramatta are lecturers at the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, and all of our driving offence lawyers practice exclusively in criminal law.
We will advise you of the potential penalties, as well as give you a realistic opinion as to the likely result when you go to court. Your first conference is free, and we will discuss with you the costs of legal representation.
Not only will our criminal lawyers do everything possible to get you the best result, to avoid disqualification if possible, and minimise the fines or sentence, we might even be able to assist you in avoiding a conviction with a Section 10!