Being caught for drink driving can be a very sobering experience! You may find that your licence is taken from you on the spot by the Police and that you face the genuine prospect of trying to manage everyday tasks without being able to drive.
Some people face losing their job if their licence is cancelled. Others need their licence to work, help loved ones with medical needs or drive young children to school or other activities. Even grocery shopping seems impossible without a licence.
Drink driving is a criminal offence.
You may not be aware that the Courts view drink driving as a serious criminal offence. The Courts often deal with these offences severely, and the penalties imposed can significantly impact people’s lives.
If you are caught driving over the limit or DUI, you will have to go to Court. If convicted by the Court of a drink driving charge, you will lose your licence, will have to pay a fine, have a criminal record and may face imprisonment.
Can you get off a drink driving charge?
It is possible to avoid a conviction for a DUI charge. If you can convince the Court to dismiss the charge under a Section 10 order, you will avoid a conviction and a criminal record and you will be allowed to keep your licence.
Whether this is possible depends on a lot of factors. The breathalyser reading of your blood alcohol level, your prior history of similar offences and whether there were any other aggravating factors like having an accident or putting the safety of the public at risk are all important factors.
The Magistrate will consider a wide range of other factors when deciding on the appropriate penalty, including your age, driving and criminal history, need for a licence and your personal circumstances at the time of the offence.
Section 10’s are not given out readily by the Court, so it is essential that your drink driving defence is rock solid to have any hope of getting a Section 10 dismissal.
Do you need a lawyer for DUI?
It is your decision whether to engage a lawyer when going to Court. However, facing Court unrepresented on a criminal charge can be a daunting experience, as all Magistrates consider drink driving charges as serious criminal offences.
Instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf will enable you to be aware of all your options and ensure you get the best outcome possible for your particular case.
An experienced drink driving lawyer may be able to persuade the Courts not to record a conviction against you. If this is possible, you will not be penalised; you will avoid a criminal record, and you get to keep your driver's licence.
Drink driving defences
If you wish to plead “not guilty” there are some defences for Drink Driving which include:
- Challenging the reading
- Honest and reasonable mistake
- The Two-Hour Rule
- The Home Safe rule
To find out if any of these defences apply to your case call us on 1300 529 444 and speak with our experienced DUI Lawyers to get your case assessed.
Special Range drink driving
Any person subject to a zero alcohol limit or special alcohol limit while driving may be charged with a Special Range PCA charge. This offence usually applies to someone who has a special licence such as a learner's licence, P1 licence or P2 licence. It also applies to bus drivers and taxi drivers who usually have a 0.02 limit while operating a bus or taxi service.
Novice Range drink driving
Any person subject to a zero alcohol limit while driving may be charged with a Novice Range PCA charge. This offence usually applies to someone who has a special licence such as a learner's licence, P1 licence or P2 licence. The charge also applies to someone driving without a valid licence, including suspended and disqualified drivers.
What are the penalties for Special or Novice Range PCA?
In some cases, it may be possible to secure a Section 10 no conviction for a Special or Novice Range PCA. However, if convicted of a Special or Novice Range DUI offence in an NSW Court, you will lose your driver's licence, receive a fine of up to $2,200 and obtain a criminal record. For repeat offences, you may be required to have an Interlock Device, which means you will have to prove that you are sober by breathing into a device fitted in your car at your own costly expense.
The penalties for Special or Novice Range Drink Driving or PCA Offences are as follows:
Low Range Drink Driving
Low Range Drink Driving offence is committed by a driver who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05 and below 0.079.
What are the penalties for Low Range PCA?
In certain cases, it may be possible to secure a Section 10 no conviction for a Low Range PCA. However, if convicted of a Low Range DUI offence in an NSW Court, you will lose your driver licence, receive a fine of up to $2,200 and get a criminal record. For repeat offences, you may be required to go on the Interlock Program.
The penalties for Low Range Drink Driving or PCA Offences are as follows:
Mid Range Drink Driving
Mid Range drink driving is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration from 0.08 to 0.149.
What are the penalties for Mid Range PCA?
In exceptional cases, it may be possible to secure a Section 10 no conviction for Mid Range PCA’s. However, if convicted of a Mid Range PCA offence in an NSW Court, you will lose your driver licence, receive a fine of up to $3,300, face a term of imprisonment and obtain a criminal record. For repeat offences, you may be required to go on the Interlock Program.
The penalties for mid-range drink driving or PCA Offences are as follows:
High Range Drink Driving
High Range drink driving is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.150.
What are the penalties for High Range PCA?
It is rare to secure a Section 10 no conviction for a High Range PCA. If convicted of a High Range PCA offence in an NSW Court, you will lose your driver licence, receive a fine of up to $5,500, face a term of imprisonment and obtain a criminal record. You will also be required to go on the Interlock Program.
The penalties for high range drink driving or PCA Offences are as follows:
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients on the Central Coast facing drink driving charges in Court. From first-time Novice PCA’s to repeat offenders with serious multiple aggravating factors.
Your drink driving lawyer will explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
If a section 10 is not appropriate, our drink driving experts can help reduce suspension periods, minimising any fines you may face and helping you avoid or minimise any jail term.
Contact our Central Coast DUI Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building a strong case, the higher your chance of getting the best outcome.
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Very Helpful, Very Organized approach in defending you in court, Fourtree Lawyers are the company to chose if you want all the confusion and stress to be explained to you and for you in regard to facing court, these people are the Answer.
I’d like to thank Kevin and Jane for meeting me on the weekend and saving me a trip to the central coast (without a licence). I’d also like to thank Paul Popescu for doing a fantastic job representing me on a serious driving charge, he gave me clear instructions on what I needed to do and he was spot on, I received the best possible sentence. I would highly recommend Fourtree Lawyers, they travel all over NSW.
We found Fourtree Lawyers on Google after hours. I called on a Sunday and got some good advice. So went in to meet Kevin on the Monday. The outcome was a section 10(1)(b). We were so pleased and relieved. Thank so much to Kevin and Jane!! Would definitely recommend Fourtree Lawyers! Worth every cent! – JM Terrigal
I was recommend to Fourtree Lawyers from a friend whom also experienced a serious driving infringement. My situation was slightly more serious, being charged with drive while suspended, shared with a reasonably extensive driving record, meant my chances of driving home were minimal. Kevin’s realistic and knowledgeable approach not only prepared & educated me upon all possible verdicts, but also supported me with all possible optimistic outcomes. Kevin’s extensive knowledge of the legal system, combined with the understanding of the Judges expectations, and vast life experience resulted with an outstanding result,...
District Court Appeal | Disqualification reduced to minimum | Newcastle District Court
Our client is a 27-year-old male with no children. He is employed in the mines and lives in the Hunter Valley Region. Our client was convicted of high-range PCA and due to his previous history of drink driving, he received the maximum disqualification period.
Fourtree Lawyers lodged an appeal to the District Court on the basis that the penalty was too severe. Our solicitor submitted that although it is a serious offence, he had only driven 2kms, it was late at night and the traffic was light. She also drew attention that our client has better prospects to rehabilitate because he has a good job and support network.
After considering all of the above, the Judge saw fit to reduce our client’s disqualification from the maximum to the minimum. The prosecution agreed with our solicitor and consented to the reduction of the disqualification period. Our client was thrilled with the result as it was exactly what he was trying to get.
High-range PCA | CRO with conviction | Muswellbrook Local Court
Our client is a 23-year-old female who lives in the Hunter Valley.
The police stopped our client at Muswellbrook for a roadside random breath test which returned a positive result. She was arrested and taken to Muswellbrook Police Station for a breath analysis. The analysis returned with a high range reading of 0.151 grams of alcohol per 210 litres of breath.
Our client’s driver’s licence was immediately suspended, and she was charged with ‘Drive with high-range PCA (first offence)’ under section 110(5)(a) of the Road Transport Act 2013. The maximum penalty under this offence is 18 months of imprisonment and/or a fine of $3,300, with an automatic licence disqualification of 3 years.
Solicitor Erin Nulty attended the Muswellbrook Local Court on the client’s behalf and made submissions to best mitigate the sentence. The submission was also accompanied by the client’s letter of apology and other references and the Certificate of Participation at Traffic Offenders Intervention Program. The Magistrate took into account our client’s guilty plea and her genuine remorse and sentenced her to a Conditional Release Order (with conviction) for 18 months, no fine and the minimum disqualification period of 6 months, the minimum mandatory interlock period.
Our client was delighted with the result we have obtained for her.
Middle Range PCA | Conditional Release Order – No Conviction | Belmont Local Court
Our client is a 37-year-old male who lives with his spouse on the Central Coast Peninsula and shares custody of his 5-year-old son.
Our client was drinking at a venue in Belmont and followed the rule of thumb by way of two drinks in the first hour and one every subsequent hour between 7:30pm and 10:30pm. Our client was pulled over for a Random Breath Test, in which he returned a positive result. He was taken to Belmont Police Station for further breath analysis and was charged with Middle Range PCA.
The offence of Middle Range PCA carries a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200 along with an Automatic Licence Disqualification period with a maximum of 12 months.
Solicitor Denise McCarthy appeared at Belmont Local Court and made a submission in line with the early plea of guilty. Our client was sentenced to a Conditional Release Order without a recorded conviction for a period of 18 months.
Our client was very happy with the result and the retainment of his licence.
Mid-range drink driving | CRO without conviction | Toronto Local Court
Our client is a 28-year-old male that lives with his wife and young daughter in the Newcastle Area.
One night after a long shift at work, our client decided to have a couple of glasses of wine to unwind. Our client parked his car a few hundred meters away from his home in an undeveloped residential area. This was not to disturb his wife and young daughter back home.
After some time, he was approached by the Police, who were responding to an unrelated matter. They noticed the smell of alcohol and our client’s bloodshot eyes. He was given a roadside test which resulted in a mid-range PCA.
This offence carries a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.
Solicitor Ms Denise McCarthy attended Toronto Local Court on behalf of our client. He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and completed the Traffic Offenders Programs before his court date. His Honour saw fit to place our client on a Conditional Release Order without a conviction on the condition that he is of good behaviour for 12 months.
Our client was extremely happy that he got to keep his licence and it did not affect his job.
Mid-Range PCA | CRO without conviction | Newcastle Local Court
Our client is a 27-year-old male who resides in the Newcastle area and is a manager for a national retail chain.
Our client had a bottle of wine after work and thought he was no longer under the influence of alcohol the following morning.
He was pulled over for a random breath test and tested positive for mid-range PCA. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2,200.
He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and completed the Traffic Offenders Program before his court date.
Solicitor Miss Erin Nulty attended Newcastle Local Court on behalf of our client and made submissions as to our client's good character and need for a licence.
After some deliberation, his Honour saw fit to place our client on a Conditional Release Order without conviction on the condition that he is of good behaviour for 12 months.
Our client was extremely happy about the outcome and relieved he could get his licence back immediately.
Low Range PCA | Conditional Release Order without Conviction | Toronto Local Court
Our client is a 48-year-old male who had no previous record.
Our client was stopped for a random breath test whilst travelling to work at 7am. He did not attract the attention of the Police for his manner of driving but rather happened upon an RBT. The roadside test he was subjected to returned a low range reading for alcohol.
Our client was extremely surprised that he returned a positive result. He was unaware that the alcohol he had consumed the night prior would have him return this result.
The maximum penalty for this offence in the Local Court is a fine of $1,100. There is an automatic licence disqualification period of six months and a minimum period of three months.
Solicitor Erin Nulty attended Toronto Local Court and made submissions in mitigation of the penalty. Our client was sentenced to a Conditional Release Order for six months without proceeding to conviction.
The pending Court matter had severely impacted our client and the stress was overwhelming. He was elated with the outcome and the avoidance of a criminal conviction on his record.
Low Range PCA, Class A M/V Exceed Speed > 30km/h | s4 Annulment - Conditional Release Order without Conviction | Gosford Local Court | 3/7/2019
Our client is a 66-year-old male who lives in Melbourne. He is the director of a large company and sits on the board for several other organisations.
Our client was stopped in NSW for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h. After being stopped, our client was also subjected to a random breath test and returned a low range reading.
Our client came to us after being convicted in his absence after returning to Melbourne. He was extremely concerned about the impact of a criminal conviction. Given that his business dealings and obligations as a board member require overseas travel, he knew that much was at stake.
Firstly, a Section 4 application was made to have the conviction annulled.
Our solicitor then attended Gosford Local Court. Our client’s circumstances were put to the Magistrate and a plea for leniency was made. Our client was given a Conditional Release Order for 2 years without proceeding to conviction.
The immense relief our client felt was obvious immediately. He was sincerely grateful to continue carrying out his business travels and remain an active board member.
If you are looking for diligent, professional, hardworking, caring solicitors look no further! I was charged with mid-range drink driving. It is a terrifying first time experience to be in trouble with the law, like you are doing now I Googled solicitors. I read the reviews and decided to go with Fourtree Lawyers; from start to finish they were excellent. My first call, late Sunday afternoon, scared and unsure, I spoke with the principle solicitor, Kevin, he was friendly, informative, straight talking and honest. I never expected to be let off, my dedicated solicitor was absolutely amazing. I would not normally associate a lawyer with being caring, but she really pushed the boat out for me covering all bases, I can’t thank her enough. Throughout the process Jane, the practice manager, spent a good deal of time on the phone, over several calls reassuring me, her empathy and kindness was very calming and helpful. If you choose Fourtrees you will not be disappointed, they are worth every cent and more. I was facing serious charges but with hard work, smarts and care, I was granted a Custodial Release Order (CRO). Being able to get in my car and drive today was such an amazing feeling, I am elated. Thank you to the FT team, eternally grateful.