Our client, who had a pre-existing alcohol problem, was driving home from work after having consumed several beers, several valium tablets and while drinking a bottle of wine. A police vehicle driving in front of him slowed to make a right turn, but our client failed to see this and collided with the vehicle.
Although our client was prepared to participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, was remorseful for his actions and had been making an effort to undergo rehabilitation for his alcohol abuse, the circumstances of the offending meant that our client faced a custodial penalty.
The factors which were relevant to the potentially aggravating nature of the offence included:
- Our client’s high blood alcohol reading.
- The nature of the crash.
- Our client’s previous convictions for drunk driving.
- The fact that one of the police officers suffered a serious back injury as a result of the collision.
Nonetheless, we argued that our client was remorseful for his actions, was attempting to rehabilitate himself (and had good prospects of successfully doing so) and generally had a good character.
Pleasingly, the magistrate agreed with us – ordering that instead of a term of imprisonment our client should be based on a good behaviour bond. This was conditional on him receiving ongoing counselling for his alcohol abuse.
An excellent outcome
Despite several features of our client’s offending which meant that the circumstances were aggravated, we were able to argue for leniency and avoid a custodial sentence.
We were also able to ensure that our client continued to receive the necessary alcohol counselling and rehabilitation.
Even if you think that your circumstances mean you will not be shown any leniency, if you obtain legal advice immediately after you have been charged with an offence, you maximise your chances of reducing any penalty or even defending the charge.