The Offence of High-Range Drink Driving in NSW

 

It is reported that TV personality and radio host Jodie Oddy has been charged for drink driving in December of last year.

The 43-year-old South Australian is a co-host to the radio station Mix 102.3 breakfast show.

It’s reported that, while driving intoxicated in Middleton, on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, Oddy collided into a tree with her SUV after it had allegedly driven off the road at about 5pm on the Sunday, 9th December.

The Court was told that her four-wheel-drive had first turned onto the path of an oncoming vehicle-which suddenly braked- before the collision into the tree.

Police attended the scene after the crash before charging Oddy for drink driving and aggravated driving as a result, allegedly giving a BAC reading of 0.256. She was quickly transported for medical examination at the nearby hospital.

It is reported that Mix 102.3’s Australian Radio Network (ARN) acknowledge that the incident is serious.

ARN said, “While we don’t comment on our employees’ private matters, what we can say is that this incident is unquestionably serious. ARN strongly condemns drinking and driving, which poses a risk to others and goes against our company culture.”

“We fully support Jodie for her remorse and for taking full responsibility for her actions, and echo the sentiment of her statement.

“Jodie is a valued member of ARN who has been with the company for more than 11 years and is highly regarded within the industry. She is someone who loves her work and takes her role as a broadcaster to a family audience seriously. This is reflected in her Breakfast show content on air each morning, and the community work that she and the show are tirelessly committed to.”

 

The Court Outcome

Oddy took full responsibility for the accident and pleaded guilty in court and received a sentence with a 12-month disqualification period and fine of $1500.

She has reportedly said, “This accident happened after drinking. There is no excuse, because I did it. And I own it.”

“I am embarrassed, disappointed and so angry at myself for this stupid and dangerous mistake.”

“I am so thankful that no one else was hurt and I am acutely aware of the “What if’s” in this scenario because I have relived them every day for the last seven months.”

“I obviously offer a heartfelt and unreserved apology to my family, my colleagues, and to the broader community.”

“I appreciate the support I have received over the last seven months from friends and family, who are aware of the deeply personal circumstances surrounding these events.”

The Offence of High-Range Drink Driving in NSW

While in South Australia the drink driving laws are different, the categories of BAC is similar or the same in NSW.

In NSW it is prohibited to drive a motor vehicle while you have 0.15g or more of alcohol concentration in every 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood under section 110(5) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

The max penalty for a first-time high-range drink driving offence is 18-months jail and/or $3,300 fine.

The max penalty for a second or subsequent time high-range drink driving offence is two-years jail and/or $5,500 fine.

If this is your ‘second or subsequent’ offence, it means that in the last 5-years from when you’re convicted in court for this offence you have also been convicted of a ‘major offence’ (including drink driving).

A conviction for drink driving is avoided if the court orders a sentence under section 10(1)(a) dismissal or Conditional Release Order without conviction. These are referred to as non-conviction penalties. This results in no criminal record/conviction, no licence disqualification and no fine.

A conviction for high-range drink driving will result in a requirement to participate in an interlock program for a minimum interlock time. This will mean that you must install an interlock device onto the vehicle you drive (at your installation and maintenance expense), which will start if the device returns a zero-alcohol reading after blowing into it.

The compulsory disqualification period for a first-time high-range drink driver is a minimum of 6-months and maximum of 9 months, with a minimum interlock period of 2-years (under the interlock program). If the interlock program does not apply, then the automatic disqualification period is 3-years with a minimum of 1-year.

The compulsory disqualification period for a ‘second or subsequent’ time high-range drink driver is a minimum of 9-months and maximum of 1-year, with a minimum interlock period of 4-years (under the interlock program). If the interlock program does not apply, then the automatic disqualification period is 5-years automatic or minimum 2-years.

It’s critical to also be aware of the high-range drink driving guideline judgement relevant for sentencing in court. It provides a guide for what kind of sentence ought to ordinarily be imposed for certain types of high-range drink driving offences.

If any of the following apply to you, your high-range drink driving charge will get dismissed early or in court by a Magistrate:

  1. If a RBT or analysis was conducted on you 2-hours after you last drove.
  2. If an RBT was conducted on you on your private property, such as driveway.
  3. If you honestly and reasonable believed that you were not intoxicated at the time of driving.
  4. If your vehicle was not in motion at the time.
  5. Pharmacologist report outlining you were not over the threshold BAC limit at the time of driving.

You will also be found not guilty if the prosecution fails to prove each of the following elements of this crime beyond reasonable doubt in court:

  1. You drove or tried to drive a motor vehicle while occupying the driving seat; and
  2. You had the high-range BAC at this time (0.15g or more).

Contact our specialist drink driving lawyers to arrange a free first appointment. We provide fixed fees and our team is available 24/7 on (02) 8606 2218.

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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