Drinking and driving is a dangerous gamble – it leads to impaired judgement, slowed reflexes and potentially disastrous outcomes. It’s no surprise that Australian law limits the amount of alcohol allowed in your blood when driving.
Today we’re going to explore drink driving in NSW, explaining how the process works as well as some lesser known facts about what you can and can’t do when facing a drink driving charge.
Facing a Drink Driving Charge
If you are pulled over and charged with drink-driving, you will need to go to court. Depending on your case, it may be advisable to consider pleading guilty.
Naturally, it is best to seek legal advice from our team before considering the best course of action.
When attending court, you must bring your licence with you (unless the police have already taken it). You should not drive to court in case you lose your licence and are unable to drive back.
In court, the judge will decide on an appropriate penalty by considering statements from the police and yourself. Factors to consider may include:
- Whether you believed you were over the limit when you drove;
- Any reason why you chose to drive despite the risk of being over the limit;
- Whether you were pulled over for dangerous driving;
- If anyone was put at risk by your driving (passengers, pedestrians, etc.)
- If any collision or accident occurred;
- How a licence disqualification will impact your employment or people who rely on you (children, etc.);
- Your overall traffic record and the likelihood of reoffending.
Myths and Frequently Asked Questions
Drink Driving Is a Criminal Charge
Some people believe that drink driving is a civil matter, separating it from crimes such as acts of assault. While these two offences clearly differ, they’re not necessarily classified that way under the law.
Drink driving – even for a first offender – may result in a criminal conviction, a fine and licence disqualification.
A Breath Test Alone Is Not Enough
A side of the road breath test can be prone to error. Because of this, police must perform an additional test using proper PCA equipment (in the station or the booze and drug bus). The breath test alone is not enough to charge you with an offence.
Can Alcohol Levels Go Up after Being Pulled over?
If your breath test shows a high reading, police will take you back to the station or a booze bus to perform a full, accurate breath analysis. It is possible – and not unusual – for blood alcohol levels to fluctuate during this time.
While your BAC may decrease, it can also rise. As such, it is possible to be over the limit at the time of a full breath analysis but under the limit when you were pulled over.
The 2 Hour Rule
The police cannot rely on a breath test if it was taken more than 2 hours since you last drove a car. This situation usually occurs when police have to attend the scene of an accident and are delayed.
The “Home Safe” Rule
The “home safe” rule states that police cannot force you to take a breath test in your own home. As with the two-hour rule, if police test you in your home, it should not be admissible as evidence in court.
Refusing a Breath Test
Refusing to take a breath test is not an effective way to avoid high-level drink-driving charges. In fact, refusing a test will earn you a fine and you’ll automatically be charged in a high-range penalty bracket.
Fighting Drink Driving Charges
It’s difficult to fight a drink driving charge, but it is not impossible. Talk to our traffic lawyers for advice and to assess your options before you go to court.
DGB Lawyers has local traffic lawyers in the Wollongong region. We understand the seriousness of traffic offences and the difficulty in fighting them.
Our lawyers can manage the entire legal process, including legal representation for matters such as DUI, drink driving, drug driving, speeding offences, and license suspensions.
Alternatively, you can always call or visit our Sydney office:
56 Central Avenue, NSW 2529
Ph. 02 4243 8930
96 Kembla Street, NSW 2500
Ph. (02) 4229 5699