Refuse Breath Test – Charge Withdrawn, Duty of Driver in Charge of Motor Vehicle – Fine, No Licence Loss

Police observed a motor vehicle drive past without its head lights on. They followed the car and undertook a preliminary breath test with our client who was found in the driver’s seat.

Our client was taken to the police station where it was alleged that he refused his third attempt at the breath test. The client had a prior conviction for drink driving and so if found guilty, he would lose his licence for 4 years. He was dependent on his licence for work and the loss of his licence would mean a loss of a significant amount of income.

It was a difficult case because police had multiple witnesses stating that they saw the car drive past and followed it to the place where they found our client in the driver’s seat. Further, there was evidence to suggest that he was highly intoxicated from the PBT and evidence found at the scene. There were also multiple witnesses at the police station as to what happened when the alleged refusal took place.

We represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for the following charges:

The matter went to contest and the police withdrew the charge of refusal of breath test the day before the contest.

This was an excellent result because on first impressions, it was an overwhelming police case against our client.

However at case conference, we were able to highlight inconsistencies in the evidence on the police statements following a detailed analysis of the brief which raised questions about the accuracy of their evidence and the Prosecution’s confidence in their case. Further, we briefed Counsel who had expertise in the technicalities of refusal of breath tests, therefore giving the client the best chance of success.

With the police withdrawing the refusal of the breath test charge, our client was able to regain his licence and not have to be off the road for a total of four years.


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 25/02/2013