According to statistics drink driving is a factor in about 1 in every 5 crashes in NSW where someone loses their life. In NSW, police have the power to do the following in respect of drink driving offenders:
- Stop drivers at random to test for alcohol
- Arrest drivers who have an illegal BAC level
- Arrest drivers they believe are impaired by drugs including alcohol, and conduct a blood and urine test
- Require a driver to undergo a sobriety test in certain circumstances.
If breath or blood analysis of BAC returns a reading that is above the legal limit for that person’s particular driver’s licence, the police will lay criminal traffic charges against the driver. This would require the driver to attend court to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and proceed through the NSW court process for drink driving. NSW drink driving charges are generally referred to as a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA). The law provides that when the accused driver is conclusively presumed to be intoxicated by alcohol, the prosecution needs to give evidence proving that the accused’s breath or blood was above the legal limit in respect of the concentration of alcohol.
Most expert and experienced drink driving lawyers can help a driver beat a drink driving charge. When referring to beating a drink driving charge it means that the attorney believes that the accused has a strong defence to use in court and the accused decides to enter a plea of not guilty and pursues that legal defence. In a perfect world all drink driving offenders would receive a Section 10, which results in the accused not receiving a criminal record. However, it must be noted that a section 10 is based on the defendant pleading guilty and the discretion of the judge’s leniency in respect of the offender’s admitting guilt to the charge.
There are a number of defences that a driver can use so as to beat a drink driving charge, such defences include the following:
The blood alcohol reading – generally, when a driver is charged with drink driving, the police use the result of a breath analysis as evidence in court so as to prove that the defendant is guilty of the drink driving charge. Depending on the circumstances of each case a defendant can challenge the police blood alcohol reading being presented to the court as evidence. In some cases challenging a blood alcohol reading presented by the police results in the police withdrawing the charge or reducing the charge to a lesser offence.
Improper police procedure – it must be noted that the police are obligated to follow very specific procedures when it comes to arresting and charging a person with an alcohol related traffic offence. As a result the police may be prone to human error and may fail to follow police protocol and procedure which is relied upon in court as evidence so as to substantiate the charges. For example, a breath, blood or urine sample must be taken within two hours after the driver allegedly operated a motor vehicle.