It is reported that a 41-year-old woman is due to appear at the Tweed Heads Local Court on 2 March 2020 after being charged for high-range drink driving.
The 41-year-old woman was allegedly driving a vehicle with a 3-year-old girl in the back seat of the car before crashing in north of NSW.
It’s reported that the woman, on Sunday night, was allegedly driving the car on Kingscliff St in Kingscliff when the Mazda 2 she was driving collided into a parked vehicle.
Police attended the scene where they conducted a breath test on the 41-year-old woman who allegedly returned a positive indication of alcohol.
Following the positive reading, she was arrested and escorted to the police station where she was subject to a breath analysis, which allegedly returned a reading of 0.324, being 6 times the legal limit.
Police also issued her with an immediate licence suspension effective immediately.
The legal limit where a full-licence holder in NSW can drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol is up to 0.05g concentration of alcohol in every 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.
Driving with a BAC level of 0.05g or above in NSW is considered a crime, carrying heavy penalties, criminal conviction, disqualifications and fine.
Where the BAC level is 0.08g or more, the penalties also include imprisonment.
There are heavy maximum penalties in NSW for either driving or trying to put a motor vehicle in motion with a BAC reading of 0.15g or more.
These penalties are prescribed in section 110(5) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).
What are all the penalties you could face for a high-range drink driving offence in court?
There are various penalties for high-range drink driving, depending on whether or not it’s a ‘first offence’ or ‘second offence’.
These penalties include a maximum fine, driver licence disqualification period, imprisonment, and criminal conviction.
A person guilty of high-range drink driving can still avoid all of these penalties if he/she ends up receiving a section 10 or CRO non-conviction sentence in court.
A section 10 or CRO (Conditional Release Order) non-conviction is a type of sentence or penalty by a court, which results in no disqualification period, no fine, no imprisonment, and no criminal conviction.
For high-range drink driving, the maximum penalties for a first-time offender are:
- 18-months imprisonment or $3,300 fine, or both.
- Disqualification of driver licence for a period between 6 – 9 months, with a 2-year mandatory interlock device period thereafter. Where th0e mandatory interlock device program doesn’t apply (i.e. where an offender is exempt), there is an automatic disqualification of 3-years or minimum 1-year at the court’s discretion).
For high-range drink driving, the maximum penalties for a second or subsequent offender are:
- 24-months imprisonment or $5,500, or both.
- Disqualification of driver licence for a period between 9 – 12 months, with a 4-year mandatory interlock device period thereafter. Where the mandatory interlock device program doesn’t apply (i.e. where an offender is exempt), there is an automatic disqualification of 4-years or minimum 2-year at the court’s discretion).
Click here for an outline on the exemptions that can apply for an interlock device program order and the high-range guideline judgement.
What are the Defences to High-range Drink Driving?
There are five general types of defences that can be made for high-range drink driving in NSW Courts. These include the following:
- Where police subjected you to a breath test on your private property.
- Where police subjected you to a breath test or analysis 2-hour or more after you last drove.
- Where you’re able to obtain an expert report, referred to as a pharmacologist report outlining that you were below the threshold BAC level at the time of driving.
- Where you did not drive with the BAC level, and you didn’t attempt to put the vehicle in motion.
- Where you believed, honestly and on reasonable grounds, that you weren’t intoxicated (very hard to prove this for a high-range drink driving charge).
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