Suspended Sentence for Drink Driving and Traffic Charges

Liverpool Local Court

Facts

Our client had a lengthy history of driving offences. Within the preceding 12 months, he had been caught driving with a mid range concentration of alcohol, and was disqualified for a period of two years and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

During the term of that bond, our client was detected driving erratically and at an excessive speed. He was pulled over by the police and was discovered to be a disqualified driver. He was also found to be heavily intoxicated.

Our client failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the police station for a breath analysis. Once there, he feigned a heart attack to avoid undergoing the breath analysis test and was taken to hospital. Eventually, our client confessed to drinking a bottle of vodka and half a bottle of scotch before getting behind the wheel of his car.

He was charged with Driving under the Influence of Alcohol, Driving while Disqualified and Exceeding the Speed Limit by more than 30km/h.

Result

When our client appeared before the Liverpool Local Court for sentencing, there was a very real risk of his being imprisoned. This was because of the serious nature of his offending, committed while he was already on conditional liberty for similar offences.

Against that background, our client was considered to be unsuitable for community service.

We made submissions on his behalf to the effect that our client’s alcohol abuse stemmed from various underlying psychological issues, and tendered a detailed psychological report to support these claims.

We also argued that our client had taken steps to identify the cause of his offending behaviour and was motivated and prepared to undertake continuing rehabilitation and therapy to address those issues. We submitted that our client deserved "one last chance" to attempt to rehabilitate himself.

Given the serious nature of the charges against our client, the magistrate insisted that some restraint of liberty had to be imposed.

However, in reliance on our submissions, the magistrate accepted that our client was prepared to take responsibility for his actions and ordered that our client serve weekend detention only.

On our client’s instructions, we appealed this sentence to the district court, where the sentences were suspended in accordance with section 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.

One final chance

Even though our client thought he had run out of chances, we were able to show that he was genuinely remorseful for his actions and was taking steps to improve himself and his driving record. He was therefore able to avoid any imprisonment despite the serious nature of the charges against him.