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Drink Driving Offences

April 14, 2015

It is important to understand that despite drink driving being among the most common criminal offences in New South Wales, and Australia for that matter, they are nevertheless criminal offences which can cause significant dangers to the community.

What are the legal limits for driving?

NSW has three blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits: zero, under 0.02 and under 0.05. The limit that applies to you depends on the category of your licence and the type of vehicle you are driving. For most drivers with a full licence, 0.05 is the legal limit. But for some drivers, such as bus or taxi drivers, the limit is 0.02.

For those on a provisional or learners licence, the prescribed alcohol concentration must be 0.00; and the same goes for those who have an interlock device fitted to their car.

What is Compulsory Interlock Program:

Since February, drivers convicted of high range drink driving and repeat drink drivers are required to have an interlock device fitted into their car. Most interlock device companies recommend waiting 15 minutes after eating or drinking before driving.

Drink Driving Offences: First Time Offender/Section 10

A section 10 is a special discretionary power that the Magistrate hearing your matter can exercise. A Section 10 dismisses the drink driving charge and avoids a criminal record for the person offending. The magistrate may also attach a condition to a Section 10, such as a bond or a fine.

Obtaining a Section 10 dismissal for your drink driving offence depends on the circumstances surrounding your matter. It is generally easier to obtain a Section 10 for a low-range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) drink driving charge than a high-range drink driving charge. Other factors may influence the likelihood of obtaining a Section 10, such as your previous driving record and/or your criminal record.

A low-range PCA is categorised as a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.079. As a 0guide, for a low range PCA charge the minimum disqualification period is three (3) months and the automatic disqualification period is six (6) months.

A mid-range PCA is categorised as a blood alcohol level between 0.08 and 0.149. With a middle range PCA charge the minimum disqualification period is six (6) months and the automatic disqualification period is twelve (12) months.

A high-range PCA is categorised as a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher. The high range PCA charge the minimum disqualification period is twelve (12) months and the automatic disqualification period is three (3) years.

By Ajay Singh: Solicitor

If you are facing drink driving charges, speak to a lawyer today or call United Lawyers and Consultant on 1300 789 627 to discuss your case.

This article has been prepared for the purpose of general information only. It should not be taken to be specific advice or be used in decision-making. All readers are advised to undertake their own research or to seek professional advice to keep abreast of any reforms or developments in the law. Ajay Singh excludes all liability relating to relying on the information and ideas contained hereinbefore.