Sydney CBD Traffic Lawyers

 

Level 1,299 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Tel (02) 92831003

 

 

Suite 22, Skipton's Aracde

541 High Street Penrith NSW 2750

Tel (02) 47311311

 

This page contains the following information in relation to drink and drug driving

Drink Driving

1. We have appeared in hundereds of drink driving and drug driving matters in Local Courts all over the Sydney CBD, Northern Suburbs at Hornsby and Manly Local Courts, Penrith Court, North Sydney, Burwood and as far as Katoomba and Gosford Courts.

 

2. A conviction for drink driving is a criminal conviction. Our client received a section 10 (1)(b) bond at Penrith Local Court s10 Bonds.htm in December 2011 in relation to the charge of drive with mid range PCA (Drink Driving). This means that no criminal conviction was recorded against our client's name.

 

3. In NSW, police have the powers to stop drivers at random to test for alcohol consumption. If you are asked by police to undertake a breath test and subsequently obtain a reading that is higher that your allowed Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) limit, you are likely to be arrested and charged with one of the following:

 

4. Blood Alcohol Levels

 
Low Range PCA:   0.05 - 0.08
Mid Range PCA:    0.08 - 0.15
High Range PCA:   0.15 or higher
Novice Range PCA:   0.00 - 0.02
Special Range PCA:   0.02 - 0.05
Refuse Breath Analysis

5. Possible Defences to a Drink Driving Charge


There are several ways that you may have a drink driving charge dismissed against you or possibly reduce the charge, eg. a High Range PCA to a Mid Range or having a Mid Range PCA reduced to a Low Range:

  1. You were not driving a motor vehicle.
  2. The breath analysis back at the Police Station took place outside of 2 hours from the time you were driving.
  3. A breath test was taken at your home.
We frequently also arrange for our clients to obtain a pharmacology report from a Professor. It is possible that the Police PCA reading is incorrect and in having "borderline' readings reduced to a lesser offence, these reports can assist you. A Professor will take into consideration a number of factors before concluding what they believe your actual PCA reading would have been. A court can accept such evidence. Factors considered by the pharmacologist Professor which can affect your PCA reading are:
  1. Your height and weight.
  2. Your gender.
  3. Your age.
  4. Your body build.
  5. Your food intake on the day in question.
  6. Your alcohol intake on the day in question.
  7. If you were taking any prescribed or over the counter medication.

6. Penalties

 

 Special Range PCA & Low Range PCA (First Offence

  • $1,100 monetary penalty;
  • Automatic 6 month disqualification, minimum 3 month.
Special Range PCA & Low Range PCA (Second or Subsequent Offence)
  • $2,200 monetary penalty;
  • Automatic 12 months minimum 6 months.
Middle Range PCA (First Offence)
  • $2,200.00 / 9 months imprisonment;
  • Automatic 12 months, minimum 6 months.
Middle Range PCA (Second or Subsequent Offence):
  • $3,300.00 / 12 months imprisonment;
  • Automatic 3 years, minimum 12 months.
High Range PCA (First Offence)
  • $3,300.00 18 months imprisonment;
  • Automatic 3 years, minimum 12 months
High Range PCA (Second or Subsequent Offence)
  • $5,500.00 / 2 years imprisonment;
  • Automatic 5 years, minimum 2 years.

Click this link to read the Guideline Judgment which guides the Courts on how to approach sentencing a person convicted of High Range Drink Driving: High Range Drinking Driving Guideline Judgement.htm

 

7. The NSW Traffic Offender's Intervention  Program

 
Further assistance we provide which may in certain circumstances  mitigate the sentence imposed include booking you into the Traffic Offender's Program which teaches people about the dangers of drink driving and may in the Court's eyes lower the likelihood of reoffending. The course runs between 6 - 8 weeks.
 
The Police and Community Youth Cubs (PDYCs) are the largest provider of TrafficOffender Intervention Programs in NSW. The aim is to prevent people re-offending by providing educational seminars that inform people as to the effects alcohol and drugs have on driving.
 
This is a Local Court based program targeting offenders who have entered pleas of guilty at Court or have been found guilty of a traffic offence. On the application of the defendant or the defendant's solicitor or the Court's motion the presiding  magistrate may make an Order that the matter is adjourned until the courseis completed by the defendant.
 
The program is regulated under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) and the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Traffic Offender Intervention Program ) Regulation 2007.
 
On completion of the program the PDYC normally fax a copy of the Completion Certificate directly to the Local Court Criminal Registry and it is placed on the defendant's  Court file. Upon sentence the defendant's solicitor may then submit that completion of the course is relevant in the Court's consideration of the subjective mitigating factors relating to the defendant. These factors include:
 
1. lowers the likelihood of re-offending
2. evidences that the defendant has taken responsibility for the offence;
3. In some cases evidences contrition and remorse on the part of the defendant.
 
This may assist a person charged with drink or drug driving in persuading the Court to exercise its discretion by reducing the mandatory disqualification period to the minimum.
 
Sydney Criminal and Family Lawyers can assist you by advising you in relation to this program further and booking you in.
  
8. What could happen to you?
 
You will lose your licence for some time unless the court decides not to record a conviction against you ? this is set out in the table below. You may also have to pay a fine. Other penalties can also be imposed, including a gaol sentence. If you are likely to go to gaol and you satisfy the Legal Aid means test, you may be able to get legal aid. See the duty solicitor at court.
If you disagree with what the police say happened, you may tell the Magistrate when it is your turn to speak.
 
The police prosecutor should also show you a copy of your previous criminal record if you have one and a copy of your driving history. Read these documents to make sure they really are yours. The police prosecutor will hand the Magistrate a
copy of your criminal record and traffic history. You should dispute any incorrect information on your
criminal record or traffic history.

 

9. Driving under the Influence of Drugs (DUI)
 
 A breath test is not permitted to be carried out by the Police in the following circumstances:
 
(a) if a person has been admitted to hospital for medical treatment  unless the doctor in immediate charge of the person's treatment has been notified of the intention of the police to make the requisition unless the medical practitioner objects on the gorunds that it would prejudice the treatment of the person;
 
(b) by reason of injuries sustained it appears to the police officer that it would be dangerous to the person's medical condition to undergo a blood test;
 
(c) at any time after the expiration of  two (2) hours from the occurrence of the event the police were entitled to.
 
(d) at the person's home.
 
Drug Driving
 
Police are empowered to stop cars to carry out road side drug testing on any driver, motorbike rider for the following illegal drugs:
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component in cannabis
  • Methlamphetamine (Speed) (Ice) (Crystal meth) and Base
  • Methylenedioxmethylamphetamine (MDMA) (Ecstcay) 

Penalties for Drug Driving

 

Click this link to RTA http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/penalties/alcoholanddrugs.html

 

10. Presence of Drugs in Oral Fluid (Drive with Iliicit Substance) 
 
Where a person is convicted of Driving with Illicit Substance under section 11B (1) OR (3) of the Road Transport (Safety & Management) Act 1999
 
If no previous major offence during the last 5 years: Maximum Fine $2,200 Automatic disqualification: 6 months Minimum disqualification 3 months; Maximum period of imprisonment 9 months
 
Under section 188(3) Road Transport (General) Act 2005 If previous conviction for a major traffic offence within the last 5 years: Maximum fine $3,300 Automatic disqualification an automatic disqualification of 12 months; Minimum disqualification 6 months
 
11. Refuse to provide oral fluid sample
 
First Offence: Maximum Fine  $3,300; Automatic disqualification 3 yrs; Minimum disqualification 6 mths
 
2nd Offence: Maximum fine  $5,500 5 yrs 12 mths 18 mths

12. Willfully alter Drug in Oral Fluid

First Offence: Maximum Fine  $3,300 3 yrs; Minimum disqualification; 6 months 
 
2nd Offence:Maximum Fine  $5,500 5 yrs; Minimum disqualification 12 months

13. Refuse to provide urine sample or blood sample  or wilfully alter amount of drug after fatal motor vehicle collision
 
First Offence: Maximum Fine$3,300 Automatic disqualification 3 yrs; Minimum disqualification 6 months;  Maximum period of imprisonment 18 mths
 
2nd Offence: Maximum fine $5,500 Automatic disqualification 5 yrs;  Minimum disqualification 12 months; Maximum period of imprisonment 2 yrs

Hinder doctor or registered nurse in taking prescribed sample of blood or urine
of any other person
 
First Offence: Maximum Fine  $2,200 
 
2nd Offence: Maximum Fine  $2,200 

14. Refuse to provide blood or urine sample or willfully alter amount of drug following sobriety test
 
First Offence:  Maximum Fine  $3,300 Automatic disqualification 3 yrs; Minimum disqualification; 6 months;  Maximum period of imprisonment 18 mths
 
2nd Offence:Maximum Fine  $5,500 Automatic disqualification 5yrs; Minimum disqualification; 12 months; Maximum period of imprisonment 2 yrs

15. What could happen to me?
 
If this is the first time you have been charged with DUI Drug offence, it is unlikely you will get a gaol sentence. However, if: a) it is a DUI Drug offence; that is using or attempting to use a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug and if it involves aggravating features such as an accident and/or dangerous driving, a gaol penalty is more likely and you may therefore be eligible for legal aid; or b) you have previously been charged with a drink driving offence or DUI Drug offence, you face the risk of a gaol penalty and may be eligible for legal aid. In these situations, you should apply for legal aid before your first court appearance or visit a Legal Aid NSW office. Speak to the duty solicitor at court.
 
16. How should you prepare for court?
 
Get references and prepare a letter to the Magistrate or written notes of what you will say. It may be helpful to get written references from people who can talk about your good character. These references should be addressed to the Magistrate and refer to the current charges. Ask for the Legal Aid information card about Character References. The court will consider a number of factors in deciding the appropriate penalty and disqualification. These include:
  • Whether you believed you were under the influence of a drug when you drove;
  • Any particular reason as to why you chose to drive;
  • Whether you were detected by being stopped by Police for another reason or Random Drug Test or as a result of erratic or dangerous driving;
  • The length of the journey/intended journey;
  • The number of people put at risk by the driving (passengers, members of the public etc)
  • Any collision that occurred;
  • Any significant effect that licence disqualification may have on you, your employment or other people who rely on you (children, sick relative, etc);
  • The absence of viable alternative transport;
  • How long you have held a licence and what your overall traffic record is like;
  • Whether you are a regular drug user and hence whether some kind of treatment or counselling is appropriate
  • The risk of you re-offending Either prepare a short letter in your own words to give to the Magistrate, or prepare written notes.Include any explanation that relates to the factors set out above. In particular, address:
  • Any special reason why you were driving;
  • Some explanation as to why you were driving with drugs in your system
  • An explanation of your understanding of the risks of driving after consuming drugs, and if you can, an assurance that this behaviour will not be repeated
  • Any particular need you have for a licence eg. In your work or for personal reasons;
  • If you need a driver?s licence for work make sure you have a letter from your employer to say what will happen to your job if you are disqualified from driving for a long time;
  •  If you have other reasons for needing a driver?s licence (eg. A disabled child, health problems) make sure you have evidence (ie.  Doctor's certificate or report) to support this;
  • What your weekly income is and expenses you have to pay (which can assist the court in calculating any fine to be imposed).
17. What should you do at court?

You should not drive to court in case you lose your licence. Bring your licence with you unless the police have already taken it, as the court may require you to surrender it. When you get to court, find the court officer and tell them if you are unrepresented and whether you are pleading guilty. Check the police fact sheet and certificate The police will have a fact sheet which says why you were arrested. It may also refer to what the police say you told them about the type and quantity of  drug you used. Make sure you read the fact sheet.
 
It is important to be legally represented if charged with one or more of the above-mentioned offences in order to obtain the best possible outcome for you in the circumstances of your case taking into consideration the objective and subjective circumstances of your case. At SCFL we have the knowledge, skill and experience to achieve this for you.
 

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