Drink Driving Charges – Do You Need a Lawyer?

In Australia, drink and drug driving is a severe offence as it has caused, and continues to cause, thousands of preventable deaths on our roads each year. This is why the penalties for those caught operating a vehicle over the legal limit are so severe. If you have been caught by police for drink or drug driving, the outcome is not likely to be favourable. Robert Wood and Associates has a team of lawyers in Ringwood, highly experienced in helping drivers return to the road as quickly as possible. If you are wondering whether you should engage lawyer to help with your drink driving offence, read on for some helpful information which may guide you in making informed decisions about your incident.

Drink Driving Laws in Victoria

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for fully licensed drivers in Victoria, and all other states and territories, is 0.05%. A zero BAC is required for:

  • drivers on a probationary licence (P plates) or learner permit (L plates)
  • bus and taxi drivers
  • drivers of trucks over 15 tonnes

It’s important to remember that it isn’t just drivers that can face charges. It is an offence to drink or be over the legal BAC limit while sitting beside a learner driver, even if there is no alcohol detected in the driver’s blood or breath.

Drink Driving Charges and Penalties

Blood alcohol content is typically assessed on site and verified by a Breathalyzer or blood test. If your test reads anything above the BAC legal limit of 0.05% (or 0 if you belong to one of the above categories), you will likely be arrested for a drink driving charge. The range of your blood alcohol content will determine the severity of the penalties you may face, these could be a loss of licence, fines, and in severe cases, imprisonment. Since October 2014, any individual who loses their licence or learner permit due to a drink-driving offence is required to install an alcohol interlock in any vehicle they drive as a condition of relicensing.

Should I Pleading Guilty to Drink Driving?

In most cases, it is advisable to plead guilty to a drink driving offence, as the court is likely to hand you a discounted penalty for taking responsibility. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there are some situations where a not-guilty plea could be appropriate. These could include:

  • If you believe you were not driving over the legal limit
  • If you believe there was an equipment malfunction
  • If you were driving on private property
  • If you were not actually driving the vehicle
  • If you believe that there were issues with the police testing or the way in which they conducted the procedure

These cases are difficult to prove and you will need to build a proper legal case and defence. An experienced lawyer will guide you throughout the process, help you understand your options and present your case in Court.

Seeking Legal Advice

Over 12,000 Victorians lose their licence year in Victoria due to drink driving offences. Whether you have just been charged with an offence or have had your licence suspended, it is important to seek professional legal advice as early as possible, even if you intend to plead guilty. A lawyer experienced in drink driving cases will help explain your situation and ensure that you get a fair penalty.

For reliable legal advice, get in touch with the team at Robert Wood and Associates today. Our lawyers service clients in Ringwood, Bayswater, Wantirna and surrounding suburbs. Make an appointment today and let us help you get back on the road as fast as possible.

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