What is Drink Driving ?

No matter who you are, anyone can find themselves charged with alcohol-related motoring offences. We have acted for a wide array of people including but not limited to doctors, teachers, medical professionals, police officers, bankers, business persons, full time drivers and even lawyers in the past.

The following are the different types of Drink Driving charges in NSW.

  • Novice (Zero alcohol reading 0.01-0.019);
  • Special Range (over 0.02);
  • Low Range PCA (0.05 – 0.079 reading);
  • Mid-Range PCA (0.08 – 0.149 reading);
  • High Range PCA (0.15 and above); or
  • Refuse Breath Analysis

Case law/Jurisdiction
On 8 September 2004 the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal delivered a guideline judgment concerning the offence of high range PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol). The case is called Re: Application by Attorney-General (No. 3 of 2002) (2004) 61 NSWLR 305).

Although the Guideline Judgment is in relation to offenders found guilty of high-range PCA, courts often refer to the principles and comments made by the judges in the Guideline Judgment when sentencing offenders charged with low range or mid-range PCA.

In the Judgment the nature and elements of the way sentencing must/should usually occur for the various levels of Drink Driving were set out as follows;

The Supreme Court said that the following factors aggravate the seriousness of the offence:

  • The degree of intoxication;
  • Erratic or aggressive driving;
  • Competitive driving or showing off;
  • Length of the journey at which others are exposed to risk; and
  • The number of persons put at risk by the driving (for example, passengers in the vehicle).

The Supreme Court also made the following observations:

  • Prior good character is of less relevance because persons of otherwise good character often commit these offences;
  • Nature of the driving: Once the vehicle is in motion the offence is more serious because of the risk of death or injury to others is increased;
  • Involvement in a driver education program: This will have little impact on the appropriate sentence to be imposed with high range PCA, except in relation to the length of disqualification or the amount of a fine.

What must the prosecution prove?

The Court said that the offence is “so serious and the criminality…so high” that the participation in a program cannot be seen as an alternative to punishment. It will not warrant the making of a section 10 simply because the offender has participated in such a program.

In terms of the period of disqualification, the automatic period is not the maximum, but merely a default period that operates on conviction unless some other order is made. The disqualification period can be longer. There should be “sufficient and appropriate reasons for reducing the automatic period”.

There will almost invariably be hardship, or at least inconvenience, caused by disqualification for such a lengthy period.

The Supreme Court said an ordinary offender for the offence of high-range PCA is where:

  • the offender drove to avoid personal inconvenience or because the offender did not believe that he or she was sufficiently affected by alcohol;
  • the offender was detected by a random breath test;
  • the offender has prior good character;
  • the offender has nil, or a minor, traffic record;
  • the offender’s licence was suspended on detection;
  • the offender pleaded guilty;
  • there is little or no risk of re-offending; and/or
  • the offender would be significantly inconvenienced by loss of licence

If you are charged with the offence of DRINK DRIVING what are your options?

National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Drink Driving charges and achieved a number of non-convictions for Drink Driving (low range, special range and Mid-range).

NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Drink Driving:

  1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended ;
  2. NCL will Plead Not Guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
  3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing)with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
  4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

Fequently Asked Questions

Why National Criminal Lawyers?

There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

1. Your best chance to get the result you’re after

We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

2. How a Senior Defence Lawyer Can Help You Deal With Criminal Charges

No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

If you have been charged with any driving offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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