How to beat a Drink Driving Charge

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How to beat a Drink Driving Charge

Drink Driving Matters are often considered as unimportant and trivial in the wide realm of the law.

However, this is not the case at all given the serious consequences such as imprisonment and license disqualification. There is also the common misconception that Drink Driving can never be argued against successfully. This is not accurate. As such, there are a number of ways to successfully defend a Drink Driving charge. Please click on the following headings for more information.

What type of Drink Driving Charge is it?

Before the possible defences to drink driving can be discussed, it is important to define the term “drink driving.” Many people incorrectly refer to drink driving as Driving under the Influence (DUI) when in most circumstances the offence is a PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol). To prove these offences, police require different standards of proof.

To prove a DUI charge, police have to prove that you were actually under the influence of alcohol at the time that you drove your car. They may take into account any visible signs of intoxication (bloodshot eyes, erratic driving) as ‘proof’ of being under the influence. This can be very difficult and their opinion is purely subjective. In other words, they have no objective or scientific way of telling whether or not a person is under the influence. On its own, a breath reading analysis will not prove a charge of driving under the influence. The Court may take into account factors such as the personal tolerance of the offender to the amount of alcohol in their system, and any expert opinions (such as scientists). For example, an expert opinion may explain that a reading of 0.14 in a person’s bloodstream means that the offender’s capacity and ability to effectively control a vehicle was impaired to a great extent.

To prove a PCA, the offender must have alcohol in their blood over the “prescribed concentration of alcohol” which is 0.05. This makes it much easier for police to charge people, as it is usually easy to scientifically measure a person’s PCA with a great degree of precision. That said, however, there are still a number of possible ways to defend a PCA charge.

Are there defences available for my PCA?

The following are some defences available to defend a PCA.

A. Challenging the Reading

The machines that Police use to measure your PCA are usually very accurate. But, it is important to remember that the offence is having a prescribed concentration of alcohol in your system while you are driving. It is therefore the reading at the time you were driving that would be in question.

Despite the fact that the reading produced by a breath analysis machine at the station is deemed accurate, there may be ways to challenge that reading. An example of this is if your PCA is in question, your lawyers Mount Barker may need to retain an expert to calculate the reading at the time of driving. These experts may be pharmacologists who can calculate how different drugs and substances interact with biological systems. They may be able to show that although you were over the limit at the time of your breath analysis, you may not have been over at the time that you drove. In this case, you are not guilty of an offence.

Further to that, these principles may also be used to reduce your charge. For example, from Category 2 to Category 1, as your PCA reading may have been lower at the time of driving than what the analysis shows. This would substantially lessen the maximum penalties applicable.

In any case, we recommend that you speak to an experienced legal practitioner to successfully argue this defence. We would be able to advise you whether the defence may apply in your particular circumstances.

B. Honest and Reasonable Mistake

This defense states that you are not guilty of a drink driving offence if, at the time of driving, you:

  • Honestly believed that you were under the limit; and
  • In the opinion of the court, it was reasonable for you to hold that belief in all of the circumstances of your case.

This defence can be used in a number of cases. For example, if you have been drinking the night before and decide to drive the morning, after honestly thinking that all the alcohol that you consumed the previous night would have been eliminated from your system, this defense may be available.

The defence is also available in a wider range of circumstances, but, it is very difficult to successfully argue. Ultimately, each case is different and turns on its own particular facts. To get the full picture it is very important to speak to a lawyer who is an expert in traffic law in order to determine whether this defence is worth running.

In any case, we recommend that you speak to an experienced legal practitioner to successfully argue this defence. We would be able to advise you whether the defence may apply in your particular circumstances.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me for this charge?

It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. If you are worried about imprisonment, we would advise having a solicitor represent you. For someone who is unfamiliar with the Court system, having to navigate a drink driving charge can be daunting. Our solicitors specialize in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.

Where to Next?

In South Australia, traffic offences are treated very seriously. It is therefore important to get the best legal advice as early as possible.
Call the best – Call Liptak Lawyers on (08) 8123 1808.

how to beat a drink driving charge

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Liptak Lawyers
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North Adelaide

Tel : (08) 8123 1808
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