Drink Driving (DUI)
Do you need a drink driving lawyer in Melbourne?
At Anthony Isaacs Criminal Lawyers, we understand that facing a drink driving charge can be stressful. It likely means serving a significant period of time off the road, which can have serious ramifications for your employment, and then dealing with an interlock device once you are able to drive again.
Defending a drink driving charge can be difficult, and usually involves a very technical defence. Our lawyers are here to help you and provide expert advice to get you the best possible outcome whatever the circumstances. Anthony Isaacs are experts in defending drink driving charges – we see excellent results for our clients, with many of them avoiding a drink driving suspension or receiving a reduced term.
If your matter is particularly serious, or this is not the first time you have been charged with drink driving, engaging a solicitor is strongly recommended. We will alleviate the stress involved by dealing with the police, preparing your case and appearing at court on your behalf.
What is ‘drink driving’?
Drink driving refers to the operation of a motor vehicle whilst exceeding the prescribed amount of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). In Victoria, the prescribed BAC amounts are .00 for professional drivers (taxi, bus, truck drivers etc) and those on ‘P plates’, and .05 for fully licenced drivers.
Importantly, drink driving laws apply not only on public roads, but on private property as well.
What are the mandatory penalties for drink driving?
From 30 April 2018, tougher laws were introduced in Victoria for drivers caught driving whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These news laws mean that any fully licenced driver who returns a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 or higher must have their licence cancelled for a period of time. The same applies for professional or probationary drivers who return a BAC greater than 0.00.
Generally speaking, the number of months of disqualification for a first offence will equate to the BAC reading. For example, someone who returns a BAC of .11 faces 11 months disqualification. If the offence is a second or subsequent offence within 10 years, the period of disqualification is doubled.
Additionally, persons found guilty of drink driving will face a fine and be required to complete a compulsory drink-driving ‘Behaviour Change Program’ before being eligible to be relicensed.
Finally, an alcohol interlock device must be installed to the driver’s vehicle upon being relicensed.
As these laws frequently change, call us to discuss the specific penalties that will apply to your circumstances or to examine whether there may be a defence to the charge.
What if I refuse to provide a Preliminary Breath Test?
Persons who refuse to provide a preliminary breath test may be charged. If found guilty, they face a mandatory 2 years cancellation of licence.
With this said, there is a strict procedure that must be followed by Police when requesting you to give a sample of breath. Call us on 03 9034 7351 to determine whether you have a technical defence to this charge.
I have been issued an on the spot infringement notice with a 3-month suspension period. Should I object to the infringement notice and take the matter to Court?
These infringement notices will only be issued if (i) it is your first offence, (ii) you are a fully licensed driver and (iii) your BAC reading is under 0.07. The suspension period in this instance will be 3 months, as long as you pay the infringement fine amount.
People who receive such an infringement need to be aware that if you object to the infringement notice and take the matter to Court and are found guilty, the minimum cancellation period becomes 6 months. You may also receive a fine and be ordered to install an alcohol interlock device upon re-licensing.
Is there such a thing as a ‘work only license?’
Contrary to the popular myth, there is no such thing in Victoria as a ‘work only’ licence. Anyone found guilty of drink driving will have their licence cancelled.
Even with the best reasons in the world, the Court has no power make exceptions so that people can continue driving for special purposes. The laws impose mandatory licence loss.
What is the difference between a suspended and a cancelled license?
Suspended License – The Court will specify an amount of time for which you cannot drive. Once this time has elapsed, your licence becomes valid again.
Cancelled License – The Court will specify an amount of time for which you cannot drive. Once this time has elapsed, and any required conditions have been met, you must reapply for your licence through VicRoads and likely attend a Court hearing.
I’m facing charges. What should I do next?
The sooner you start on your defence, the more likely a potential prosecution is to be defended successfully. If you are facing drink driving charges and would like to contest them it is important that you seek expert advice.
Contact Anthony Isaacs today for an obligation free, confidential discussion.