Downing Centre Local Court & Sydney District Court

Represented by Traffic and PCA solicitor

Facts: While driving down the street, our client hit the front of a car parked along the kerb. She continued driving a short distance before pulling over. The occupant of the parked car flagged down a passing police vehicle, and our client was subjected to a roadside breath test, which returned a positive result for alcohol. The breath analysis subsequently conducted on her gave a reading of 0.166 grams of alcohol per 210 litres of breath. She was charged with driving with the high range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA), in breach of section 9(4)(a) of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act, and her licence was suspended on the spot.

Our client was 25 years old and worked as a bar manager. On the night of the offence, she went out for drinks with friends after finishing her shift, where she consumed a substantial amount of alcohol before trying to drive herself home. Our client was remorseful for her offending conduct, had a reasonably good traffic record, and a need for a licence. She pleaded guilty to the offence and the matter was adjourned for sentence at Downing Centre Local Court.

Result

The Local Court magistrate imposed a penalty of a $1,500 fine and a 3-year period of disqualification from driving, and ordered that our client enter a bond that she be of good behaviour for 3 years. The 3-year disqualification period was felt to be unreasonably harsh, especially given our client’s age and the fact that the offence was largely borne out of difficult personal circumstances. An appeal against the severity of the disqualification period was therefore lodged.

On appeal to the Sydney District Court, submissions on our client’s subjective circumstances and need for a licence persuaded the judge that a 3-year disqualification period was not appropriate. Consequently, the disqualification period was reduced to the statutory minimum of 12 months. This was backdated to the date of the offence which was 6 months prior to the appeal, meaning, in effect, that our client had only 6 months of disqualification left to serve. Our client was very pleased with this result.