- Car Safety & Safe Driving
Drink Driving Penalties NSW - Australia
Drink Driving - Offence Information in NSW
Drink Driving Penalties within NSW
Driving while over the limit can really land you in serious strife with the law. Apart from the fact that you could injure or kill yourself or worse still kill someone else there are some very serious criminal charges for drink driving within NSW.
Drink Driving within Australia is a problem that sees hundreds of drivers every week lose their licenses. It is broken up into 3 different categories currently and these are
.05 but not greater than .08 is low range dui
.08 but not greater than .15 is a mid range dui
and .15 or higher is the high range dui charge.
While all 3 carry serious criminal charges mid range dui and high range dui can result in jail for a first offence depending on the circumstances, your character, driving history and the magistrate you get on the day of your court appearance.
Leaner and Provisional license holders are also zero tolerance to alcohol meaning that they can't register anything on the breathalyser. If they do register but are not exceeding the .05 they can be charged under a special range dui charge which can still lead to a criminal charge being placed on your record when you go before a magistrate.
In NSW drink driving accounts for roughly 1 in 5 fatalities that occur on our roads and this is one of the many reasons why the penalties are in force.
If you are caught drink driving and you have an alcohol reading within the low range area you face a minimum of 3 months disqualification of your licence and up to 6 months as a maximum for a first offence. There is currently no jail sentence for low range dui.
If you are caught drink driving and you have an alcohol reading within the mid range area however you will face a minimum of 6 months disqualification and the maximum term generally is 12 months however magistrates can exercise their right for a longer disqualification depending on the circumstances. The fines can be up to $2,200 as well for a first offence and you can also serve up to 9 months gaol as a result of being found guilty.
Serious Drink Driving Charges that can land you in gaol
For high range drink driving you will face a minimum of 12 months disqualification and a maximum term is usually not more than 3 years however again the magistrate can give you longer depending on the circumstances. You can also be sentenced up to 18 months gaol for this offence and in recent years there have been a number of people sent to gaol for high range dui charges, especially when they have had poor driving history and have been driving while disqualified or other mitigating circumstances.
If you are charged for mid range drink driving or high range drink driving you definitely should get some sort of legal aid, whether it is your own solicitor or lawyer. If you can't afford one you can see Legal Aid at the court. You should also consider entering a guilty plea at the first chance you get if you actually are guilty (it is pretty hard to plead not guilty if they have the BAC printout right there proving you had alcohol in your system).
2nd or subsequent offences for drink driving can also be very tricky and you will need a solicitor to explain the circumstances around this, but a subsequent offence can be for dangerous driving or any other serious traffic offence you have committed within that 5 year period of being caught for drink driving.
This means that even if this is your first drink driving offence, if you have been charged with dangerous driving or another serious driving offence within 5 years you will be convicted if found guilty of your drink driving offence as if it was your 2nd offence.
Further from that if you rack up 3 or more serious traffic offences within a 5 year period the RTA will label you as a habitual offender which will see you get a further 5 year ban from the RTA which starts after your court imposed ban finishes, and that means if you are convicted of drink driving and the court were to impose 12 months disqualification, the RTA will then wait until that 12 months is up and then ban you for a further 5 years under their rules.
Also if you have a high range DUI or a subsequent offence you maybe should try to get into the Traffic Offenders program which is run down on Best Road at Seven Hills at the local high school. It is run by a man called Graham Symes. The Traffic Offenders Program runs for 7 weeks however you must attend 8. You then go back to court. Whilst at the Traffic Offender Program each week there is a presentation given showing results of drink driving and dangerous driving. You also have to submit a weekly assignment.