Have you been charged with drink driving offences?
We can help you.
We are drink driving lawyers who can help you if you have been charged with drink driving offences,
We understand your concerns about your drink driving charge. There are minimum mandatory penalties in Victoria for drink driving. Calculating the disqualification period starts from the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) recorded. There may be other factors that make you get a higher suspension or disqualification of your licence.
The important task of your lawyer is to keep the Magistrate to the minimum disqualification period for the drink driving charge against you.
Drink Driving charges
Defences to drink driving
If you are facing drink driving charges you may be seeking information about how to get the best possible result. Your lawyer will understand drink driving laws and will advise on whether you should plead guilty or not guilty depending on issues such as;
- Outside 3 hours from driving (no crash)
If you are prosecuted under s. 49(1)(b), and there is no crash, a blood sample must be taken with informed consent of driver and a breath sample must also be obtained within 3 hours for a certificate to be valid. See sections 55 and 58 of Road Safety Act 1986
- Outside 5 hours (from an accident)
Important period of time is still 3 hours from driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle. Under s. 56, an accused can be conveyed to the hospital for a blood sample. If that person is over 15 years, expressed consent is not required. Where a sample is taken outside three hours from person driving vehicle and the sample returns a blood alcohol concentration of less than the prescribed limit, the police would have to rely on a back-calculation to the point of the accident, and charge under s. 49(1)(b). It is difficult to establish a blood alcohol concentration with precision if resorting to back calculation.
- Problem with self-test of instrument
If the informant supplies the motorist with a certificate that shows a self-check error, then this will put the motorist on notice that the defence under s. 49(4) (breath testing instrument not working) may be available.
- Police giving legal advice (e.g. to forego having a blood test as the reading might be higher)
Police cannot provide advice to a motorist about the merits of requesting a blood sample.
- Factual dispute about what was communicated constituting a refusal
The informant does not have to spell out or recite the precise wording of the requirement to accompany for a breath test. Nor do they have to include the requirement to remain at the station until 3 hours have expired or until the breath sample has been taken. But were you given reasonably sufficient information to know what was required and why?
- Was the accused driving or in control?
The purposes of requesting a breath test under s. 55(2) includes a reasonable belief that an accused has used or been in control of a motor vehicle within the preceding 3 hours. Is there a factual dispute over whether the accused was in control or driving as per the definition under s. 3AA of the Road Safety Act 1986?
- Was the location open to and used by the public?
Location of alleged offence is not an essential element to a charge under section 49. So the offence can be established even if prosecution have charged accused on private property, or have specified the incorrect address on TIN or charge sheet.
Getting the best result
Defending a drink driving charge will require your lawyer to plan a strategy that suits your particular matter. We recommend you do the following:
- Complete a Road Trauma Course
This demonstrates that you are serious about improving your driving behaviour and are truly reflecting on the issue of drink driving.
- Arrange effective character references
It is our experience that a properly drafted character reference can have an impact upon the sentence that is imposed by the court. They should tell the positives about you. You can learn more about writing character references here.
- Arrange alcohol counselling if you have an alcohol problem
If an offender has a number of alcohol related offences on their record, a Magistrate will wonder if they have an alcohol problem. If you do have an alcohol problem, it is wise to have alcohol counselling. The court will take into account your attempts at rehabilitation when imposing a sentence.
- Liver function test
A liver function test might be important to explain why your blood alcohol reading was high. This can happen even if you were trying to be very careful with your alcohol intake. The liver processes alcohol and a liver function test can explain why a person had a much higher reading than they would have expected.