It’s not something that you want to happen
but it can. Whether it’s due to a person not quite keeping track of what they drank, or they weren’t sure about the strength of what the drinks or they thought they were fine to drive the next day, people get pulled over and charged with drink driving at an unfortunately regular rate.
So, what if it happens to you? What can you expect when it happens?
If you fail a drink driving test then you will be charged.
What happens from here all depends on how far over the legal alcohol limit you are. This is something that is determined using the Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA). Offences are determined to be Low, Medium or High PCA depending on what your blood alcohol level is. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 to less than 0.08 is considered a low-range PCA, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15 is a mid-range PCA, while a high-range PCA is a blood alcohol concentration over 0.15. It is important to note that drivers who refuse a test will be charged with a high-range PCA.
Immediate license suspension is a possibility.
It isn’t a certainty though. If you are charge with a low-range PCA offense you will likely keep your license until you have to appear in court. If, however, you are charged with a mid-range or high-range PCA offence you will have your license suspended immediately.
Court, Fines, Jail?
Regardless of the severity of the PCA offence you will have to go to court. There the magistrate will decide on your penalty. You will face a loss of license and you will have to pay a fine. In NSW you will not be allowed a restricted or work license if charged with a drink driving offence. Depending on what range PCA offence was and whether it is a first or subsequent offence the magistrate will determine, within a set range, what your penalties will be.
First-time low-range PCA offenders
will have a licence suspended for 3-6 months and pay a fine of up to $1100. Subsequent offenders will face a 6-month minimum suspension and fines up to $2200.
Mid-range first offenders
as well as having an immediate suspension from the time of the offence, will receive a minimum 6-month suspension, and up to $2200 fine. A maximum 9-month jail term is also a possibility. Repeat mid-range offenders will have their licence suspended for at least 12 months and fined a maximum of $3300. The maximum jail term increases to 12 months.
For a first high-range PCA offence,
the suspension is a minimum of 12 months, fines a maximum of $3300 and jail terms potentially up to 18 months. For subsequent high-range offences the suspension increases to a minimum of 2 years, imposed fines can be as high as $5500 and jail terms can reach 2 years.
As a drink driving charge is a criminal offence you are permitted to have a Criminal Law Attorney present when facing the magistrate. Offenders can even attempt to obtain a Section 10 from the magistrate, dismissing the charges and criminal records. An attorney would be vital in obtaining a Section 10, as would a low-range first offence. Attorneys can provide advice, help present your best case and assist with character references to help you get the best outcome.
Have you been a drink driving offender?
The solicitors at CM lawyers can help. We aim to expedite the best outcome for you while ensuring you understand every step of the process. To find out how we can help, contact us through our website.