Charged with low range drink driving is daunting at the thought of loosing your licence and receiving a criminal conviction. Our senior lawyers are experts in drink driving cases, with over 20 years in successfully convincing the courts to grant s10’s, avoiding the loss of their clients licences and avoiding a criminal record. They are recognised leaders in drink driving cases (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/traffic-law/offences/drink-driving/), regularly appearing in court.
Your Options in Court
PLEADING NOT GUILTY
You can only be found guilty to low range drink driving if police can prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You drove a motor vehicle; and
- You had an alcohol reading of between 0.05 or more, but less than 0.08 in your breath or blood, at the time of driving.
You will be found not guilty if police are unable to prove each of the above 2 elements of this offence.
It is still an offence to be seated in the driver seat attempting to turn on the engine.
Defences to this charge
You are Not Guilty if:
- The motor vehicle was not in motion, nor were you attempting to put it in motion. It is still an offence to be sitting in the driver seat with the engine on.
- The police stopped and conducted a breath test on your private property. It is illegal for police to do this on your driveway.
- Pharmacologist report: this is where an expert can say that the reading of alcohol would more likely have been less than 0.05 at the actual time of driving when stopped by police. This can apply to you if you consumed a few quick drinks moments before driving. In those circumstances, the alcohol would begin to affect you the most, and the reading will be higher, between 30-60 minutes after drinking it.
- The police conducted a breath analysis test over 2 hours after you last drove. Police are not allowed to breath test you after that 2 hour period.
- Honest mistake: Where you honestly and reasonably believed you were not effected by alcohol. This can apply if, for example, your drink was spiked.
Your charge will be dismissed if any one of the above defences to low range drink driving apply to you. Our drink driving lawyers specialise, with success countless times, in getting charges dropped early by tactful and thorough negotiations. To maximise this occurring for you, its critical to start preparing early.
If pleading guilty to low range drink driving, see the below crucial points on the best ways in preparing to maximise your chances at getting a s10 non conviction to keep your licence (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/section-10-dismissal/) and avoid a criminal record.
25% Discount on punishment
Pleading guilty at the earliest time in your case to low range drink driving will entitle you to a 25% discount on your punishment, resulting in a more lenient outcome, improved chances of avoiding a criminal record and keeping your licence.
Its important to get early advice as this discount reduces the later a plea of guilty is entered.
Traffic Offenders Program
Completing a traffic offenders program course (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/traffic-law/traffic-offenders-program/) can significantly improve your chances at getting a s10 to avoid loosing your licence, and maintaining your good name to avoid conviction.
Our principal, Mr J Singh, is an expert in drink driving and lectures in these programs. Our team will guide you to enrolling into the right course.
Good character references
Gathering exceptional letters from people you know (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/traffic-law/good-character-reference-guide/drink-driving-offences/), including, family, friends, work, charity and letter of apology from you, can help in a more lenient outcome by the Judge.
For best chances at avoiding a conviction and to keep your license, a letter can come from your employer expressing your need for a license and the effect of a conviction on your role. Each letter should also express your remorse, insight, shame and good character.
Negotiate to drop charges
By having a good knowledge of the evidence, an experienced lawyers can pick out the holes in it to negotiate with police to drop your low range drink driving charge early. This is something our team of senior lawyers have achieved in the past, often by getting an expert pharmacologist report, or by reviewing when the testing device was calibrated.
Picking out the holes in the evidence, and skilful negotiations, you can potentially convince police to change the set of facts which the Judge will read, expressing your plea of guilty, and the details of your offence in a more favourable light to you. This can lead to a more favourable result.
This can be critical where the facts are often made by police, for the Judge to read, expressing you in the worst possible light, with an unfair one sided version. This can result in a heavier outcome, and another step away from avoiding a criminal conviction.
By getting a powerful court report, from a highly experienced and respected, psychologist or psychiatrist can drastically improve your chances of getting the best possible outcome.
To put yourself in the best position to achieve this, the report should comment on your mental state, insight, remorse and shame for your conduct. Importantly, views of your prospects of your road to recovery from any underlying issues will be relevant.
The below table explains the maximum penalties the Judge can give to your drivers licence, fines, and even imprisonment, depending on your situation if you don’t get a section 10 result:
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||Interlock period not applied
|Interlock period not applied||Automatic: 6 months
Minimum: 3 months
|If you have a previous drink driving conviction in last 5 years||Minimum:1 month
Maximum: 3 months
|1 years||Automatic: 1 year
Minimum: 6 months
Maximum fine and imprisonment if convicted
|Maximum Imprisonment||Maximum Fine|
|If you have no drink driving conviction in last 5 years||Not Applicable||$1,100|
|If you have a drink driving conviction in last 5 years||Not Applicable||$2,200|
The maximum punishment is only a guide, and not usually given except to the most serious offenders.
Types of penalties
The Judge can give any one of the below types of punishment, depending on the above points, and how your case is presented in court:
- Section 10 Dismissal (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/section-10-dismissal/)
- Conditional Release Order (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/penalties/nsw/conditional-release-order/)
- Fine (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/penalties/nsw/fine/)
- Community Correction Order (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/penalties/nsw/community-correction-order/)
- Intensive Correction Order (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/penalties/nsw/intensive-correction-order/)
- Full Time Imprisonment (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/criminal-law/penalties/nsw/full-time-imprisonment/)
Some important things to determine if you should get a s10 non conviction to keep your licence include, your traffic record, the length of journey travelling, number of people in car, your need for a licence and effect of conviction on your employment, your actual alcohol reading, and explanation for why you drove and why police pulled you over.
Speak to one of our senior drink driving lawyers (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/contact-us/) for expert and highly specialised advice and guidance on how best to avoid getting a criminal conviction and how to avoid loosing your licence. Our lawyers have a proven success record on achieving s10’s for countless of their clients, allowing them to maintain their drivers licence, and avoid convictions.