What is Low-Range Drink Driving in NSW?

 

It is reported that a Victorian policewoman has been caught allegedly drink driving in Melbourne.

On Saturday 20 July, at about midnight, a leading senior constable of the specialist crime command unit was stopped for the purposes of an RBT.

Police conducted an RBT on the woman in Frankston situated about 55km south-east of Melbourne city centre. The area is also known as “the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula”.

Following the test, the police officer ended up returning a low-range reading with a BAC of 0.059.

As a consequence, her licence was taken with a 3-month driver licence disqualification period imposed in addition to a $496 fine.

In Victoria, the penalties for drink driving with a BAC of at least 0.05, but less than 0.07 depends on the age of the driver.

If the driver is under the age of 26, he/she will face a fine, minimum 6-months disqualification with the requirement to install and maintain an interlock device for a minimum of 6-months.

If the driver is over 26-years, he/she will also face a fine and 10 demerit points resulting in 3-months loss of licence.

Meanwhile, in NSW, a NSW police officer on 3 March at about 8pm was stopped for an RBT in Emu Plains, NSW.

She submitted to a roadside breath test, which returned a positive reading.

When subsequently taken to the Penrith Police Station, she was subjected to a breath analysis which allegedly returned a low-range reading of 0.067. She was charged for low-range drink driving and was required to appear at the Penrith Local Court.

It is reported that this represents the senior constable’s 2nd drink driving offence.

What is Low-Range Drink Driving in NSW?

In NSW, it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle on a road with a BAC reading of at least 0.05g and less than 0.08g in every 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood. (section 110(3) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW)).

The penalties that a low range drink driver faces depends largely on whether it is a first offence or second or subsequent offence.

Where a first time low-range drink driver has his/her case heard in court, he/she will face a maximum fine of $2,200, an automatic driver licence disqualification period of 6-months or discretionary minimum of 3-months.

Where it is considered a second or subsequent drink driving offence, he/she will face a maximum fine of $3,300 and will also be subject to the mandatory interlock program.

The mandatory interlock program for a second or subsequent low-range drink driving offender required him/her to be disqualified for a minimum of 1-month or maximum of 3-months, with a minimum interlock period of 1-years.

The minimum 1-year interlock program will require the installation of an interlock device to be fitted into the vehicle. It will then only allow the vehicle to start if the device returns a zero-alcohol reading after blowing into it.

If the mandatory interlock program doesn’t apply to a second or subsequent low range drink driving offender, he/she will receive an automatic 1-years disqualification or minimum of 6-months.

If you’ve previously been convicted by a court of a drink driving or major offence within 5-years of the day the court convicts you for your current low-range drink driving offence, you will be considered a second or subsequent offender.

Otherwise, you will be considered a first-time offender.

On-the-Spot Fine & Immediate Licence Suspension for Low Range Drink Drivers in NSW

Since May 2019, low-range drink drivers in NSW will be handed a $561 fine on the spot with an immediate police licence suspension of 3-months from police.

Upon being issued with a fine and immediate suspension, the recipient of this can pay the penalty notice or court-elect it.

Upon paying the fine, there will be no criminal conviction recorded against your name and the case will conclude to finality without the need to attend court for it.

Upon court-electing the infringement notice (and where you don’t pay the fine), you will be required to appear in court before a Local Court Magistrate to enter either a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charge.

If your found ‘not guilty’ after having entered a plea of ‘not guilty in court, your charge will be dismissed, and you will be acquitted without a criminal conviction or loss of licence or fine. The police suspension will come to an end upon this determination in court.

If you plead guilty in court, you will be allowed to continue driving, without a fine and no criminal conviction against your name if the Magistrate imposes a non-conviction type of penalty for the offence in court. This includes, either a Conditional Release Order without conviction or section 10 dismissal. The police suspension will also come to an end upon this kind of court determination.

A criminal conviction, driver licence disqualification period and/or fine will follow if the Magistrate imposes a conviction as a penalty in court for this offence. Once the court imposes a disqualification of licence, the police suspension that was issued comes to an end.

If you happened to pay the fine, but wish to avoid the police suspension, you may lodge a police suspension appeal in the Local Court. There is a 28-days window of opportunity to lodge this appeal from the time the suspension is issued by police.

Here the court will only lift the police suspension period if you’re able to show to the court ‘exceptional circumstances’ justifying that the suspension be lifted.

It’s highly recommended to get the advice from an experienced drink driving lawyer if you wish to lodge a police licence appeal.

Call our drink driving lawyers from our Sydney city office or 7 other office locations conveniently located across NSW.

We offer a free first appointment with fixed fees for drink driving cases.

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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