Drink Driving Lawyers for High Range Drink Driving charges

Faced with a high range drink driving charge is daunting. Our criminal defence lawyers are one of Australia’s most experienced and well respected specialists in drink driving cases. With over 20 years of expert experience in high range drink driving cases, they hold an exceptional track record of successfully achieving section 10’s, avoiding criminal convictions and licence disqualifications countless times for their clients.

For best chances at keeping your license and avoiding a criminal record, call our team of senior lawyers now.

Your Options in Court

PLEADING NOT GUILTY

You can only be guilty of high range drink driving if police can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You drove a motor vehicle; and
  • Your alcohol reading was 0.15 or above in your breath or blood, at the time.

You will be not guilty, and your charge dismissed, if police are unable to prove any one of the above elements.

Defences to this charge

You will be Not Guilty if:

  • The motor of your vehicle was switched off at the time.
  • Pharmacologist report: Where your blood alcohol concentration reading would have been less than 0.15 at the actual time of driving. This can apply if an expert can put this opinion in a report. This may apply to you if you had a few quick drinks a few minutes before you were stopped and pulled over by police for a breath test. Alcohol reading is usually higher after approximately 30 minutes of drinking. This all depends on your gender, weight, height, times and number of alcohols you had, food consumption, time of road side breath test, and time of second test reading.
  • You gave a breath analysis reading more than 2 hours after you drove. Police are not allowed to require you to give a breath test if its been more than 2 hours.
  • You were stopped and gave a breath test to police on your private property, including your drive way. Police are not allowed to do this.
  • You honestly believed you were not effected by alcohol, and the Court considers that your belief was reasonably held in the circumstances. i.e. Where someone spiked your drink and you didn’t know it had alcohol in it.

Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences apply to you. Speak to an experienced drink driving lawyer for advice on your best defence. Often, where a valid defence is available, our drink driving specialists have convinced police to drop the charge early, or downgrade it to a less serious offence.

PLEADING GUILTY

If pleading guilty to a high range drink driving offence, see the below critical information and tips on how to best prepare, and powerfully present your case to maximise your chances at avoiding a conviction, and keeping your licence.

25% discount on punishment

Pleading guilty to high range drink driving or DUI at the earliest time in your case will give you a 25% discount on your punishment. This will result in a more lenient outcome, and better chances at keeping your licence, and avoiding a criminal record.

This discount reduces the later a plea of guilty is entered in court. For this reason, its important to get early advice.

Traffic Offenders Program

Completing an accredited traffic offenders program (TOP) course can significantly help you get a more lighter outcome, even s10.

Our senior drink driving lawyers have lectured in various TOP courses, and will assist in you in enrolling into the best one for your case.

Good character references

Gathering letters for the Judge to read, from family, friends, work, charity, and letter of apology from you, can result in you getting a more lenient outcome from the Judge.

To maximise your chances of this, each letter should comment on your good character, remorse, insight, shame, and need for a licence or effect of a conviction from the relevant source. Our team of senior drink driving lawyers can guide you in the process.

Negotiate to drop charges

Sometimes, the police make mistakes, and the law allows the evidence and charges to be dismissed. If this has occurred in your case, our senior traffic lawyers will pick it out, devise the best way to approach and negotiate with police to get your charge dropped or downgraded early.

We specialise in doing this, and have successfully achieved this countless times for clients over 20 years. Best way to achieve this is carefully analyse the evidence.

Negotiate facts

The police set of facts is initially drafted by police, expressing your plea of guilty, and further details of what occurred before, during, and after you were pulled over. This is sometimes incorrect, reflecting you in the worst possible light to the Judge reading it, often resulting in a heavier punishment.

By analysing the evidence carefully, skilful negotiations and strategic approach, our senior traffic lawyers point out all the holes, and often convince police to change the set of facts to reflect their clients in a much more accurate, and favourable light. Often resulting in a more lenient outcome.

i.e. Driving for a short distance, with no one else in the car is much less serious than someone driving for 4 hours with other people in the vehicle. You will be dealt with more leniently if you were involved in no accident or collision, distinct from someone involved in one.

Psychologist report

To improve your chances at keeping your licence to drive, and avoid a criminal record, to succeed in getting a s10, a powerful psychologist or psychiatrist report can significantly increase your chances.

For the best chances at this, the report should come from an experienced and respect expert, and it should express opinions on your mental state, remorse, insight, shame and explanation for your behaviour.

Maximum penalty

Unless you get a section 10 non conviction, the following table summarises the penalties for high range drink driving, including disqualification periods, fines, and imprisonments.

Licence Disqualification periods if convicted

Compulsory Disqualification Period prior to Interlock Period Starting Interlock Period Where You Must Drive With Interlock Device Installed In Car Disqualification Period If Interlock Program Not Applied To You
If you have no previous drink driving convictions in last 5 years Minimum:  6 months

Maximum: 9 months

 

2 years Automatic: 3 years

Minimum: 1 year

If you have a previous drink driving conviction in last 5 years Minimum: 9 months

Maximum: 1 year

4 years Automatic: 4 years

Minimum: 2 years

Maximum fine and imprisonment if convicted

Maximum Imprisonment Maximum Fine
If you have no drink driving conviction in last 5 years 18 months  $3,300
If you have a drink driving conviction in last 5 years 2 years $5,500

A Judge rarely gives the maximum punishment, which are only reserved for the most serious offenders.

A ‘major offence’ includes any previous drink driving offences.

Types of penalties

The Judge can give you any one of the following types of punishment, depending on how you prepared and present your case:

  1. Section 10 Dismissal
  2. Conditional Release Order
  3. Fine
  4. Community Correction Order
  5. Intensive Correction Order
  6. Full Time Imprisonment

More information

The law has set a guide on how the Judges should punish you, depending on the category you fall in for high range drink driving. The following table summarises this.

High range drink driving guideline judgement Realistic range of punishment
If you have no previous major offences in last 5 years
  • You drove to avoid inconvenience, or you believed you were not that effected by alcohol.
  • You were detected by a random breath test.
  • You have a good traffic record, and prior good character.
  • You will be significantly inconvenienced by a loss of licence.
  • Little to no risk of you re offending.
  • s10 would rarely apply
  • automatic disqualification of 3 years will apply unless good reasons to reduce to 1 year
  • conviction with a good behaviour bond will be more appropriate

 

If you have a previous major offence in last 5 years
  • You drove to avoid inconvenience, or you believed you were not that effected by alcohol.
  • You were detected by a random breath test.
  • You have a good traffic record, and prior good character.
  • You will be significantly inconvenienced by a loss of licence.

Little to no risk of you re offending.

  • conviction with community service order would be more appropriate
If you have a previous high range drink driving conviction in last 5 years
  • You drove to avoid inconvenience, or you believed you were not that effected by alcohol.
  • You were detected by a random breath test.
  • You have a good traffic record, and prior good character.
  • You will be significantly inconvenienced by a loss of licence.

Little to no risk of you re offending.

  • Conviction with a community service order, or a more serious punishment would be appropriate
If you have no previous major offences in last 5 years
  • Your reading was significantly over 0.15.
  • Your vehicle was involved in erratic or aggressive driving.
  • Your car was involved in a collision.
  • You were showing off or driving competitively.
  • You were, or intended, to travel for a long distance.
  • You were in the vehicle with other people.
  • Conviction with a punishment of community service order, or a more serious punishment would be appropriate
If you have a previous major offence in last 5 years
  • Your reading was significantly over 0.15.
  • Your vehicle was involved in erratic or aggressive driving.
  • Your car was involved in a collision.
  • You were showing off or driving competitively.
  • You were, or intended, to travel for a long distance.

You were in the vehicle with other people.

  • A punishment of at least suspended sentence, intensive corrections order, home detention or full time prison would be appropriate.
If you have a previous high range drink driving conviction in last 5 years
  • Your reading was significantly over 0.15.
  • Your vehicle was involved in erratic or aggressive driving.
  • Your car was involved in a collision.
  • You were showing off or driving competitively.
  • You were, or intended, to travel for a long distance.
  • You were in the vehicle with other people.
  • Full time prison would be appropriate

The above table is a guide for Judges, and is not always necessarily followed. Your case may have some unusual circumstances to it, which may allow for far more leniency. Our senior lawyers are specialists in drink driving cases, and have successfully achieved section 10’s countless times, avoiding a criminal conviction, and allowing their clients to continue driving.

Good Character Reference Guide for Court

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