Law, Penalties & Defences for Mid-Range Drink Driving Charges in NSW

 

It is reported that a sergeant, Victorian police officer was driving in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne on Christmas day when she was pulled over for a random breath test in Box Hill at around 8pm.

The officer, who is a specialist unit sergeant returned a BAC reading of 0.082.

She was handed a $496 fine with 6 months licence suspension in Victoria.

Meanwhile, in July of last year, a leading senior constable from the Crime Command in Victoria was detected allegedly drink driving in Frankston, south-east Melbourne.

The officer blew a BAC reading of 0.059 and received a $496 fine with a 3 months suspension.

She was amongst many drivers caught drink driving during a police crackdown on drink driving and drug driving across Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula- called Operation Armada.

Drink driving is a major cause of road trauma in the community. Victoria Police have attempted to reduce such incidences by maintaining ongoing enforcement attempts, but all this is undermined when a police officer himself or herself is found to be drink driving. It also impacts on the confidence in which the community has towards the police force to uphold the law.

In Victoria, the Independent Broad based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has investigated and examinedthe drink driving offences committed by Victoria police officers and the disciplinary outcomes for each for period July 2000 to June 2015.

IBAC have found that the typical Victoria police officer who drink drives is on average a male senior constable, having done an average of 15-years of service. Usually they are detected off-duty while driving a non-police vehicle with a reading of between 0.05 and 0.099.

Such officers who are caught drink driving in Victoria end up usually keeping their job, although end up getting some kind of sanction, including fine, good behaviour bond and/or counselling.

The examination by the Commission has also revealed that over a 15-year period, the number of police officers found to have been drink driving has steadily reduced, but the main findings show that:

  • The median alcohol reading of Victoria police officers caught drink driving has steadily increased.
  • The number of such officers found drink driving after a collision has increased; and
  • The extent of such officers who get dismissed for this offence has increased.

Our criminal and traffic lawyers in Sydney specialise in drink driving cases. Contact our friendly team to arrange an appointment- we also offer fixed fees for drink driving cases.

Law, Penalties & Defences for Mid-Range Drink Driving Charges in NSW

It’s a crime in NSW to drive a motor vehicle while you have a BAC reading of 0.08, but less than 0.15g concentration of alcohol in every 210 ltr of breath or 100 ml of blood., known as mid-range drink driving.

Unless a section 10 dismissal or Conditional Release Order non-conviction is imposed as a penalty on sentence by a court, there are heavy penalties involving a criminal conviction, imprisonment and driver licence disqualification period for drink driving.

A first-time mid-range drink driver will face a maximum imprisonment of 9 months and/or $2,200 fine, with a 3-6 months disqualification period before the minimum interlock device period of 1-year commences thereafter.

Otherwise, if the offender is exempt from the interlock device program, the automatic disqualification period is 1-year (or minimum 6 months) for a first-time offender.

A second-time mid-range drink driver will face a maximum imprisonment of 1-year and/or $3,300 fine, with a 6-9 months disqualification period before the minimum interlock device period of 2-years commences thereafter.

Otherwise, if the offender is exempt from the interlock device program, the automatic disqualification period is 3-years (or minimum 1-year) for a second-time mid-range drink driver. This is outlined in section 212 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

What’s considered a second-time mid-range drink driving offence? It is considered a second offence if you have been convicted in court for a major offence (such as drink driving) within the last 5 years from the date the court convicts you of your current mid-range drink driving offence.

A mid-range drink driving offender can be exempt from participating in the interlock device program if:

  • He/she doesn’t have access to a car in order to install the device.
  • He/she is unable to use the device due to a medical condition.
  • If a first-time mid-range drink driver is unable to afford the device due to severe hardship.

As to defences for mid-range drink driving, a person charged with this offence may have the following defences available which would cause the charge to be dismissed:

  • If the breath test was conducted at the person’s home.
  • If the breath test was conducted at least 2-hours after the time of driving.
  • Honest and reasonable mistake of fact defence.

For more information on drink driving laws in NSW, call our 24/7 hotline to arrange a free consultation with one of our drink driving lawyers in Sydney today.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Australia's Leading Criminal Defence Lawyers, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Courts.

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