BAKER DEANE
& NUTT

Canberra
Level 1, 1 Farrell Place
Canberra City ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6230 1999

Queanbeyan
260 Crawford Street
Queanbeyan NSW 2620
Phone: (02) 6299 3999

Drink Driving

The Penalties associated with drink driving can be severe and legal representation is usually recommended.

If you have been charged with drink driving, our solicitors will:

  • Advise whether you should plead guilty or not guilty;
  • Appear with you at court; and
  • Speak to the presiding Magistrate and prosecutors on your behalf.

The prospect of a criminal record is gravely concerning for most people and we will work to ensure the process is as quick and stress free as it possibly can be.

FAQS

Should I plead guilty or not guilty?

We will examine the circumstances of the charge and advise whether it can be defended. If the charge cannot be defended a plea of guilty should be entered as soon as possible.

What penalties apply to drink driving charges in the ACT?

Licence disqualification periods

1st offender

Repeat offender

Level 1 (0.02g – 0.049g)

1 – 3 months

3 – 12 months

Level 2 (0.05g – 0.079g)

2 – 6 months

3 – 12 months

Level 3 (0.08g – 0.149g)

3 – 12 months

6 months – 3 years

Level 4 (0.150g or more)

6 months – 3 years

12 months – 5 years

Maximum penalties

1st offenders

Repeat offenders

Level 1 (0.02g – 0.049g)

$750

$1,500

Level 2 (0.05g – 0.079g)

$750

$1,500

Level 3 (0.08g – 0.149g)

$1,500 / 6 months jail

$1,500 / 6 months jail

Level 4 (0.150g or more)

$2,500 / 9 months jail

$3,000 / 12 months jail

What penalties apply to drink driving charges in NSW?

Licence disqualification periods

1st offender

Repeat offenders

Novice Range (0.00 – 0.019)

3 – 6 months

6 – 12 months

Special Range (0.02 – 0.049)

3 – 6 months

6 – 12 months

Low Range (0.05 – 0.079)

3 – 6 months

6 – 12 months

Mid Range (0.08 – 0.149)

6 – 12 months

12 months – 3 years

High Range (0.150 + )

12 months – 3 years

2 years – 5 years

Maximum penalties

1st offenders

2nd offence within 5 years

Novice Range (0.00 – 0.019)

$1,100

$2,200

Special Range (0.02 – 0.049)

$1,100

$2,200

Low Range (0.05 – 0.079)

$1,100

$2,200

Mid Range (0.08 – 0.149)

$2,200 / 9 months jail

$3,300 / 12 months jail

High Range (0.150 + )

$3,300 / 18 months jail

$5,500 / 2 years jail

Can I get a restricted licence?

You can apply for a restricted licence if:

  • The drink driving offence occurred in the ACT;
  • You live in the ACT;
  • It is your first drink driving offence; and
  • You hold a full licence and your blood alcohol concentration was between 0.05g – 0.099g OR you are a special licence holder and your blood alcohol concentration was between 0.02g – 0.049g.

Further conditions concerning eligibility can be found at www.courts.act.gov.au.

Can I get a non-conviction order?

Sometimes a court will find a person guilty of an offence but not record a conviction.

If a non-conviction order is granted, you will be able to retain your drivers licence. This outcome is normally reserved for people who:

  • Have been driving for a significant period of time;
  • Have a perfect or near perfect driving record; and
  • Loss of their licence would have an inordinate impact on their capacity to work or ability to care for an ill family member etc.

Can I enrol in the Alcohol Interlock Program?

The ACT and NSW have recently introduced mandatory interlock programs for certain high range and repeat drink driving offenders. This means that you may be required to have an interlock system fitted to your vehicle for a period of time to demonstrate safe driving behaviour. Depending on the charge you may also be required to participate in treatment or training programs as ordered by a magistrate.

Lower-risk drink driving offenders in the ACT also have the option of participating in the interlock program during their driving disqualification period. However, they will also be required to demonstrate a period of clean driving before they can exit the interlock program. This is generally three months.

The laws in NSW and the ACT in relation to their respective alcohol interlock programs are complex, especially for offenders who hold a driver licence issued by a different jurisdiction to where the offence took place.

We recommend that you obtain legal advice in respect of your options and whether you will or may be subject to a mandatory interlock order prior to your matter being dealt with.

Baker Deane & Nutt