So You’ve Been Charged With Drink or Drug Driving….
There are a number of drink driving offences, and these vary in severity depending on how much alcohol is detected in your system. If you have been charged with any drink driving or drug driving offence, the most important thing to do is to obtain legal advice as soon as possible, to increase your chances of successfully defending the charge or getting the best sentence.
Likely Drink Driving penalty
If you are charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you will most likely undergo some period of licence disqualification, and be given a fine. If you are charged with a particularly serious offence, such as High Range PCA, or you have committed multiple driving offences within a five-year period, you risk imprisonment.
In some circumstances, you may have to participate in the alcohol Interlock program. Under this program, your car is fitted with a device to prevent you from driving if your blood alcohol content is higher than zero.
Factors that will be taken into account when determining the likely penalties include:
- How much alcohol was in your system, or whether illicit drugs were detected.
- Your traffic record.
- Any special reasons you have for requiring a driver’s licence.
- Whether you have participated in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program.
- Your general good character.
- Any aggravating features of the alleged offence.
Potential Drink Driving defences
The defences available to you depend significantly on your individual circumstances and the situation surrounding the charge being laid.
Drink Driving Section 10
You may be able to argue that you should have no conviction recorded against you at all on the basis of an application under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. In making its decision on a section 10, the court will generally review:
- Your character, age, health, mental condition and other relevant personal circumstances.
- The relative severity of the offence with which you have been charged.
- Any extenuating circumstances (for example, you were over the legal limit but you had to take a friend to hospital and no ambulance service was available).
- Any other relevant matter.
Although those charged with more serious offences are not automatically excluded from making a section 10 application, it is highly unusual to be granted clemency if you have been charged with High Range PCA. This is why it’s important to consult an experienced drink driving lawyer – we have achieved section 10 outcomes for our clients in the past.
Challenging a breath test
In some circumstances, you may be able to challenge the breath analysis in its entirety. This depends partly on when and where the breath test was conducted.
The police need to prove that you were driving the vehicle, and that you were on a public road (as opposed to private property) at the time of the alleged offence.
A further defence may be arguing that the breath analysis, while potentially accurate at the time it was taken, was not that high when you were driving – an essential element of the offence. This may well see the charge against you reduced from High Range PCA to Mid or even Low Range PCA.
A pharmacological report, which provides a scientific assessment of the affect any drugs or alcohol in your system would have had on your driving, may assist you in challenging a charge of driving under the influence.
What to do if you are charged with Drink Driving
As soon as you have been charged with any offence, it is imperative that you immediately obtain legal advice as to any defences which are available to you, how you should deal with the police, and any other factors which may be relevant in your circumstances. We can help you obtain the most favourable outcome possible in your circumstances. The Nyman Gibson Miralis team attends all courts in NSW, and your first conference is free.
What happens next with your drink driving charge?
At Nyman Gibson Miralis, our traffic lawyers can provide you with advice and act on your behalf to maximise your chances of successfully defending a charge of drink driving. 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!
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