What is drink driving?
Drink driving also known as DUI, happens when someone is in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle and drives or attempts to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol above the allowed BAC.
The amount of alcohol in the blood stream, known as the Blood Alcohol Level (‘BAC’) can generally not exceed .05% alcohol in the body. This may be different if you are a learner driver, a provisional driver (‘P-plater’) or in charge of a large motor vehicle, like a truck where the allowable limit may be nil.
We're here to help
While drink driving charges are very common, it is a highly specialised area of law and it is recommended that you contact one of our DUI lawyers for legal advice. It is important to contact a lawyer for representation even if you have no intention of fighting the charges.
Through your lawyer, your personal circumstances can be best relayed to the Magistrate to maximise the chance of your receiving the lowest possible penalty.
What legislation controls drink driving?
It is important to remember that drink driving legislation varies between States and Territories. This means that the drink driving penalties and laws differ from state to state. Drink driving lawyers specialise in defending DUI’s across Australia.
The penalties vary between each piece of legislation and also depends on factors such as:
- Type of licence
- BAC level
- Previous drink driving convictions
- Other charges, e.g. speeding
- Type of vehicle etc.
When can police pull me over and breathalyse me?
Unlike the United States, there is no requirement for reasonable suspicion of drink driving. That is why Australian police can legally use booze buses and random breath tests without violating Australian law.
I need my licence for work? Does that help?
Most states and territories do not have provision for work licences or restricted licences. There are exceptions in the ACT, QLD and WA. For example in WA if there is 0.08 BAC level, an immediate suspension of your licence occurs. This can have a devastating impact on owner drivers, small business owners who need a vehicle and bus drivers.
Extraordinary drivers licence (‘EDL’) applications can be made after 21 days in most cases but persons need to contact Slater and Gordon as they are becoming harder to get due amendments to the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA). In QLD in certain circumstances you can apply for a work licence. In other States and Territories, usually it is the case that you have to beat the charge in order to retain your licence.
Are drink driving charges worth fighting?
Often there is little discretion for a Magistrate to vary or waive the period of actual licence loss and/or the penalties. This is because the legislation doesn’t provide the discretion for the Magistrate to vary his or her sentence. However, they may still be worth fighting.
Every person is entitled to review the available evidence against them in a criminal proceeding and a conviction can only occur when there is sufficient proof. If you wish to contest or beat drink driving charges the best way to do this is to have a lawyer review the evidence against you.
For example, in Victoria the area of drink driving law is extremely complex and the timing of when a breath analysis is performed can be crucial. Certain vital procedural steps may have been missed which can often become the difference between losing your licence or keeping it.