Drink Driving – Withdrawn

This is a case study on withdrawing a drink driving charge involving a delay of 12 years between the filing of the charge and the first hearing.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with drink driving in late 2001 after having been found with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.162. The charge and warrant were filed by the police at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court in July 2002. If our client was to be found guilty, he could receive the mandatory minimum licence penalty of 16 months. However, the warrant was executed only on July 20, 2013, which essentially means that there was a delay of 12 years between the charge and the first hearing date.

During the 12 years that followed the charge, our client changed address multiple times but has always informed VicRoads of the changes. We provided copies of letters from VicRoads as evidence to support this claim. Our client had plenty of opportunities to be notified about his pending warrant but has never been once informed: he had multiple police checks for employment purposes, pulled over by police for traffic infringements, as well as went through international points of departure when he went overseas.

Our client’s family and finances will greatly suffer if the court was to find him guilty and impose the mandatory licence penalty. As he had moved houses before the warrant was executed, a loss of licence would mean that he won’t be able to drive to work and eventually be unable to pay his mortgage. He also won’t be able to see his children.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court.

During the case conference, we were able to establish to the Police Prosecution that the 12-year delay amounted to an abuse of process. We drafted a comprehensive email prior to the court date detailing the history of the matter with emphasis on the excessive delay. We pointed out the numerous consequences that our client could face if the matter is to proceed and, ultimately, why the charge should rightfully be withdrawn.

What was the result?
The matter was eventually resolved at the first mention date with the Police prosecution agreeing to withdraw the charge.

This was a great result as our client received no significant licence penalty. Our thorough preparation also enabled the Police Prosecution to withdraw the charge on the morning of our client’s first appearance; thus saving our client the stress and costs of further court appearances.
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 20/03/2020