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    Drink Driving Lawyers Parramatta & Sydney

    Are you charged with drink driving? Our traffic lawyers have helped hundreds of clients avoid criminal convictions and driver licence disqualifications. Our team is led by an accredited specialist in criminal law, placing us in the top 6% of lawyers. We know how the system works and how to defend your case successfully. Contact us today.

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      Specialist Drink Driving Lawyers

      Contact Astor Legal Drink Driving Lawyers today if you’ve been charged with drink driving. We have a proven track record of implementing various strategies immediately to help you avoid a criminal conviction, eliminate your licence disqualification or minimise the likely penalty you will face.

      Our clients benefit from several advantages being represented by us, including:

      • Our team is led by a Law Society accredited specialist in criminal & traffic law, placing us in the top 6% of Australian lawyers;
      • Our numerous legal industry awards and accolades;
      • An unmatched record of getting drink driving charges dropped, dismissed or having no conviction recorded. This includes being one of the only firms to achieve a Section 10 for High Range Drink Driving in 2023;
      • Over 100 genuine client reviews.

      Call one of our experienced drink driving lawyers on (02) 7804 2823 today for a free consultation to discuss your drink driving matter.

      Drink Driving Lawyers Parramatta & Sydney Areas

      What our Drink Driving Lawyers provide

      • A free initial consultation with one of our award-winning drink-driving lawyers. During this conference, you will receive advice on how we will prepare and present your case. You will also be advised on the most likely outcome for your court case, including penalties and licence disqualifications.
      • Our tried and tested step-by-step plan on how we obtain the best outcome for your case, including how to get a Section 10 for drink driving.
      • Unlimited conferences with our traffic solicitors
      • Guides and templates for character references and apology letters
      • Links to the leading Traffic Offender Programs, which Magistrates respect.
      • 24/7 access to your drink driving lawyer with a high level of communication and regular updates on your case.
      • Fixed fees
      • High-quality advocacy in court by our specialist traffic lawyers, who are respected by prosecutors, Magistrates and Judges.
      • Any required negotiation with the police. This can include reducing charges or amending the facts sheet to reflect your version of events more accurately.

      Types of Drink Driving Charges 

      When you first contact Astor Legal, they will help you understand the seriousness of the charge. Drink driving is broken down into ranges. These ranges are based on the amount of alcohol in your system. This is known as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

      If you do not pass a roadside breath test, you will be taken to the station for a full breath analysis. This is how your BAC is ultimately determined. If your blood alcohol concentration is above the prescribed concentration of alcohol permitted for your licence type, then you may be charged and need to attend court.

      The following are types of drink driving charges:

      • Low-range PCA: This means your blood alcohol concentration tested between 0.050 and 0.079. For a first low-range PCA offence, you can be charged $2,200 and have your licence suspended for three months. On-the-spot penalty notices can now be issued for this offence.
      • Mid-range PCA: You will be charged with a mid-range PCA if you test between 0.08 and 0.149. First-time offenders can face a fine of $2,200 and 9 months imprisonment. The disqualification period can be up to 6 months with a 12-month interlock condition.
      • High-range PCA: If your PCA is above 0.149, it is considered a serious offence. You can be fined $3,300 and spend 18 months in prison. Licence disqualification can last up to 9 months, followed by a 2-year interlock condition.
      • Special range PCA: Some drivers are prohibited from having alcohol in their systems. If you are a learner driver, a provisional driver, a taxi driver, a bus driver or someone with other special licence conditions, you may be charged with a crime even if your BAC is below 0.050. There is also an offence of novice-range drink driving, which carries similar penalties.
      • Refuse or Fail Breath Analysis: If you are subjected to a breath analysis but refuse to supply a sample, you will be charged with this offence. It carries the same maximum penalties and disqualifications as a high-range drink driving offence.

      Our team of lawyers is available around the clock if you require urgent advice over the phone. Alternatively, we can arrange a video or in-person conference at one of our offices throughout NSW.

      Suppose you are worried about a licence disqualification and criminal conviction from drink driving. In that case, you can call our friendly team to arrange a free consultation with a drink driving lawyer today.

      What are Your Options in Court?

      Pleading Not Guilty

      If you plead ‘not guilty’ to a drink driving charge, the court will adjourn the case to a later court date when they have time for a defended hearing. This will require witnesses to attend court and be cross-examined.

      The police must serve you with their evidence before the hearing.

      On the actual hearing date, the Magistrate will hear from the police witnesses and any witnesses you have. A lawyer will cross-examine each party’s witnesses. That is why a specialist drink-driving lawyer in Sydney must represent you.

      Our team has years of experience breaking down police officers and prosecution witnesses when they give evidence. Our meticulous preparation and proven methodology have seen case after case dismissed.

      The drink driving charge will be dismissed if the court finds you ‘not guilty’. In some circumstances, we can apply to the court for the police to pay your legal costs.

      Pleading Guilty

      Pleading guilty to drink driving will require the court to sentence you. This means that you will receive a penalty.

      In determining the appropriate penalty, the court will assess the facts sheet, your traffic record, and any material you provide.

      You may need to request an adjournment from the court to prepare your case properly. You can generally obtain up to 6 weeks to prepare your matter for sentencing.

      To avoid a licence disqualification and criminal conviction for drink driving, you must persuade the court to sentence you to a section 10 dismissal or non-conviction

      As Australia’s leading drink-driving lawyers, we have a tried and tested methodology for achieving non-convictions in these cases.

      Contact our team to arrange a free first conference today.

      How to Prepare a Drink Driving Case

      You can prepare a drink-driving case by following a tried and tested formula our team has used for years.

      We have an unmatched record of avoiding convictions. Our team ensures no stone is left unturned in preparing your case for court.

      Below is a basic guide for some standard matters required in preparing drink driving sentencing cases. However, you should consult an experienced lawyer for drink driving for a step-by-step plan that is specifically tailored to your circumstances.

      Drink Driving Character Reference

      A cornerstone of any sentencing matter is the use of character references to highlight your subjective case. This is because a Magistrate or Judge will require evidence of your background and personal circumstances.

      It is crucial for the most appropriate references to be selected. This will generally be based on any unique information they can provide to the court. Further, the closer the person is to you, the more weight their reference will carry.

      Each referee must acknowledge that they know the offence(s) you have pleaded guilty to and your remorse. Additional matters that are relevant include your need for a driver’s licence and any effect a criminal conviction will have on you.

      Referees can include your partner, friend, employer, colleague, family, charity or religious organisation.

      An apology letter to the court should also be prepared.

      Our proven character reference guide and template sets out the structure, format and content required in references. We provide all of our clients with this.

      Traffic Offenders Program

      One of the factors the court will assess is your completion of an accredited traffic offenders program. Our drink-driving lawyers can help you get into the traffic offenders’ program.

      This is because the court will want some evidence that you are unlikely to re-offend. Completing such a program will allow the court to accept that you have shown insight into your offending.

      You can enrol in one of the following approved Traffic Offenders Programs.

      Our Principal lawyer has been invited to lecture at several traffic offender programs throughout NSW. This has provided us with a unique insight into each program and which are most respected by the courts.

      Negotiate with Police

      Another important part of any drink driving case is the facts and charges you are sentenced to.

      It is important to identify if any drink driving defences are open to you. If they are, then your lawyer may be able to negotiate with police to downgrade charges or have them dismissed completely.

      For example, we can sometimes talk about an expert report that assesses your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as lower than is alleged by police. This may have the practical effect of reducing your charge (e.g., from high-range drink driving to mid-range drink driving).

      Your lawyer must prepare legal representations outlining the issues in the prosecution case. You can also negotiate with the police to amend the facts sheet. This can reduce the objective seriousness of the offence and make a significant difference in the ultimate punishment you receive.

      Psychologist Reports

      A forensic psychologist report from an expert well-respected by Magistrates and Judges will go a long way towards minimising the sentence you receive.

      If the report can demonstrate that your offending has a causal connection to your mental condition, then your moral culpability will be reduced.

      This means that if there is a nexus between your mental condition and your decision to consume alcohol and drive, the sentence may be reduced.

      The report will also need to set out a treatment plan and your progress.

      Our team has several expert forensic psychologists and psychiatrists who are known and respected throughout the court system. This provides a vital advantage in preparing your drink-driving case.

      The Advantages of Astor Legal Drink Driving Lawyers

      Our Parramatta and Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers appear in Courts throughout New South Wales. Astor Legal has offices in Parramatta, Sydney, Liverpool, and Wollongong but regularly appears in regional and country Courthouses. Unlike other legal teams, Astor Legal is led by an accredited criminal and traffic law specialist, placing us in the top 6% of lawyers. We can bring this distinctive insight to your drink-driving case.

      Contact us at (02) 7804 2823 or to speak to a senior lawyer today.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      How much does a Drink Driving Lawyer cost?

      A drink driving lawyer costs $1,650 (incl GST) as a starting rate.

      This can increase depending on the court location, number of court dates and whether you plead guilty or not guilty.

      At Astor Legal, we are completely transparent with our fees. Most of our fixed fees are available for anyone to view on our website.

      You will be advised of the total cost of the initial consultation with one of our specialist drink-driving lawyers. This will include all preparation, conferences and representation in court for your drink driving case.

      Certain cases may be more complex, which necessitates further work. This is so that your matter is prepared and presented professionally in court. External documents may be required, such as a psychologist’s report and/or evidence of alcohol rehabilitation.

      Astor Legal was founded on the premise that ordinary people should have access to the same legal representation as the elite. As such, we try to keep our fees affordable across the board.

      Our team understands that the loss of your driver’s licence for any length of time can have a devastating effect on your livelihood and your ability to meet your family responsibilities.

      As the best drink driving lawyers in Sydney, we are focussed on helping you avoid licence disqualifications using our extensive experience and familiarity with the law and its practical applications in court.

      What are the Penalties for Drink Driving?

      The penalties for drink driving are:

      Drink Driving OffencePenalties1st Offence2 + Offence
      High Range PCAMaximum Fine$3,300$5,500
       Maximum Prison Sentence18 months2 years
       Automatic Disqualification3 years5 years
       Minimum Disqualification12 months2 years
       Maximum Disqualificationunlimitedunlimited
      Mid Range PCAMaximum Fine$2,200$3,300
       Maximum Prison Sentence9 months12 months
       Automatic Disqualification12 months3 years
       Minimum Disqualification6 months12 months
       Maximum Disqualificationunlimitedunlimited
      Low / Novice / Special Range PCAMaximum Fine$2,200$3,300
       Maximum Prison SentenceNILNIL
       Automatic Disqualification6 months12 months
       Minimum Disqualification3 months6 months
       Maximum Disqualification6 monthsunlimited
      NSW Drink Driving Penalties chart for first offence charges

      Whether your drink driving offence is considered a ‘first offence’ or a ‘second or subsequent offence’ will set the range of penalties. The particular sentence a Court will impose depends on a range of factors. However, a first-time drink driving offence in NSW will generally result in a lower penalty.

      If you plead guilty or are found guilty of an offence of drink driving, a driver licence disqualification is automatic. The only way to avoid a disqualification is if the court does not convict you.

      If you receive a criminal conviction, the court will use the automatic disqualification period as a starting point. They can only reduce the disqualification to the minimum period prescribed by legislation.

      What Sentence can I receive for Drink Driving?

      The following options are available to the court in sentencing for drink driving:

      1. Section 10 Dismissal
      2. Conditional Release Order with or without conviction
      3. Fine
      4. Community Correction Order
      5. Intensive Correction Order
      6. Full-Time Imprisonment

      Can you get a Section 10 for Drink Driving?

      Yes, you can get a section 10 for drink driving.

      If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a drink driving offence, a section 10 will allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and licence disqualification. This can be through a Section 10 dismissal or a conditional release order without conviction.

      Our leading drink-driving lawyers are experienced in preparing and presenting your case to give you the best chance of obtaining a section 10.

      Some of the factors that will determine how to get a Section 10 for drink driving include:

      1. Seriousness of the offence: The lower the reading, the more likely it will be that you can receive no conviction for a drink driving charge. A Section 10 is possible for mid-range offences but is difficult to obtain. Receiving a section 10 for high-range offences is very rare.
      2. Your traffic record: The fewer offences you have on your traffic record, the more likely it will be that you can receive no conviction for a drink driving offence. However, you cannot receive a Section 10 if you have been given a Section 10 for a major Driving Offence within the last 5 years.
      3. Circumstances of offence: Factors such as whether you were driving erratically, the number of passengers in the vehicle, the reason you were driving and whether you were involved in an accident are all taken into account when assessing the objective seriousness of the offence. Most persons are stopped due to a random breath test while alone in a vehicle.
      4. Need for a licence: One of the major issues the court will consider is your need for licence and what effect the loss of a licence will have on you. The guideline judgement for drink driving explains that some inconvenience is expected from losing your licence and that this alone will not allow the court to grant a section 10.

      Contact our team at (02) 7804 2823 to speak to one of our specialist Drink Driving Lawyers in Sydney. They will be able to advise you on how they will prepare your case to give you the best chance of receiving a section 10.

      How to Beat a Drink Driving Charge?

      You can beat a drink driving charge if:

      • the prosecution cannot prove you drove a motor vehicle or occupied the driver seat and attempted to put the vehicle in motion;
      • the prosecution cannot prove at the time you were under the influence of alcohol;
      • one of the defences applies.

      What are the Defences to Drink Driving?

      The defences to drink driving are:

      1. Unsafe Reading
      2. Two Hour Rule
      3. Home Safe Rule
      4. Honest and Reasonable Mistake
      Unsafe Reading

      The most common defence for drink driving is that the reading is incorrect or unsafe.

      This is because your blood alcohol concentration may have been lower at the time of driving compared to when police took it.

      Academic research suggests that a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises between 30 minutes and 1 hour after their last alcoholic drink.

      Based on this, your BAC may be significantly lower when driving than 30 minutes or an hour later when subjected to a breath analysis test.

      During your initial consultation with one of our lawyers, we will advise whether this is a possible defence that can be raised.

      If so, we will brief one of our experts to prepare a pharmacological report. Once obtained, we can draft legal representations to police for:

      • the charge to be withdrawn;
      • the charge to be reduced (e.g. ‘high range PCA’ to ‘mid-range PCA’);

      If police reject the representations, the expert will need to give evidence in court.

      Some of the relevant factors that determine your actual BAC are:

      • age, sex and weight,
      • when and what food was consumed,
      • number and type of alcoholic drinks,
      • time of first and last drink,
      • time of ‘roadside breath test’ and
      • time of ‘breath analysis.’
      The ‘Two-Hour’ Rule

      Pursuant to Schedule 3 of the Road Transport Act 2013, police cannot breath test you more than 2 hours after you last drove. This increases to 4 hours for blood testing.

      If they do so, the test can be objected to, and the court can rule it inadmissible.

      If there is sufficient evidence that police have tested you outside the time limits, Astor Legal can draft legal representations for withdrawing the charge.

      If police refuse to withdraw the drink driving charge before the hearing, we can have the Magistrate exclude the evidence and have police pay your legal costs.

      The ‘Home Safe’ Rule

      Police cannot breath test you on your property. If they do so, we can argue that the test is inadmissible and have it excluded.

      If we can prove that police tested you on your property, we will prepare legal representations for the withdrawal of the case.

      If the police refuse to withdraw the case before the hearing, we can have the Magistrate exclude the evidence and have the police pay your legal costs.

      Honest and Reasonable Mistake

      The defence of honest and reasonable mistake can be used if you believe your BAC was under the limit when driving.

      While it may not be difficult to establish that your mistake was ‘honest,’ it is more difficult to prove that it was ‘reasonable.’

      A common example of this defence being successful is when a person argues their drink was spiked. In this case, we must provide evidence of your drink being spiked. This can be in the form of a witness statement and/or CCTV footage.

      While the government has run numerous information campaigns about drink driving, there is still a lot of confusion in the community. You can view some Drink Driving Statistics in NSW, which set out the seriousness of these charges.

      Can you go to Jail for Drink Driving?

      Yes, you can go to jail for drink driving.

      Factors such as having a high reading, having prior similar offences and having had an accident are all relevant. The more of these factors that are present, the more likely it is that you will be sentenced to imprisonment.

      If these factors are present, your case will require significantly more preparation to ensure that you receive a non-custodial sentence.

      Can you get a Work Licence for Drink Driving?

      No, you cannot get a work licence for drink driving in NSW.

      While this is available in other jurisdictions, it is not an option for drink driving charges in NSW.

      Can you have One Drink Per Hour?

      No, you cannot have one drink per hour and be under the limit to drive.

      The number of drinks you can have is dependent on your height, weight, how much food you ate and your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. We often hear from clients who have consumed one drink per hour but still registered a BAC well above the legal limit.

      What is the ‘Automatic’ Disqualification Period?

      The ‘automatic disqualification period’ is the usual length of time that your licence will be disqualified.

      This is a starting point when a Magistrate or Judge sentences you for a drink driving offence. For example, 6 months is the ‘automatic period’ for a first offence of low-range PCA.

      What is the ‘Minimum’ Disqualification Period?

      The ‘minimum disqualification period’ is the lowest length of time that your licence will be disqualified if you are convicted of a drink driving offence.

      However, you will not receive any disqualification period if the Magistrate sentences you to a ‘non-conviction order.’

      What is a Non Conviction Order?

      A non-conviction order is a section 10 dismissal or conditional release order. This is where you plead guilty (or are found guilty), but the Magistrate does not record a criminal conviction against you.

      Some of the factors that are considered for this include whether you are of good character, have displayed remorse, are unlikely to re-offend, need your driver’s licence and the circumstances of your offending.

      Retaining an experienced drink driving lawyer will be crucial in preparing your case and presenting this information.

      Can the Disqualification Period be ‘Backdated’?

      Yes, the disqualification period can be backdated.

      Generally, when you are charged with a drink driving offence, police will issue you with an immediate licence suspension.

      This period can be taken into account when you are being sentenced. Section 206B of the Road Transport Act 2013 requires the court to consider the suspension period when deciding the disqualification period.

      If your lawyer persuades the court to apply this provision, your licence disqualification will commence from the date you received the initial suspension.

      Can Drink Driving Charges be Dropped?

      Yes, drink driving charges can be dropped. This will require your lawyer to draft and file legal representations to the police. They will need to refer to legislation and case law and provide a legitimate reason for the drink driving charges to be withdrawn.

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