You left the party early but failed to realize how much alcohol you had drunk, and now a few meters before you lay a roadblock flashing lights and all. You are trying to think of just how many little glasses you had to drink and realize that it makes no difference now since you have the smell of alcohol on your breath and it is a Saturday night; so there is no running away from the breathalyzer test. You silently hope the test hits a clean 0.01% BAC but instead it comfortably sits at 0.091%. Your very next question could be what PAC range am I in? Do I get a criminal record now? Do I get a fine and jail time too? Will I automatically lose my license?
The above questions are appropriate and will be answered in this article. The driver in this scenario failed the Breathalyzer test and was found with a 0.091% BAC and this falls within the mid range PAC for drink driving. The basic zone for mid range drink driving NSW is between 0.08 and 0.149% BAC. Penalties associated with a mid range PAC are a fine of a minimum of two thousand two hundred dollars, a minimum of six months license suspension and a nine-month period of imprisonment. The penalties may not be awarded all together or they may be awarded as separately or as two of the penalties.
Fortunately, though, if you fall into the jurisdiction of NSW courts sentencing offenders of mid range drunk driving offence penalties are not automatic. The court takes into account your unique circumstances such as your driving record, this includes previous offences committed, the need for your driver’s licence (do you need to drive to work?) as well as the circumstances surrounding your offence. Unlike other states where penalties for offences are awarded automatically without taking into account mitigating factors that resulted in the offence or effect of the penalties on the offender.
Therefore, this means that the penalty that will be given by the court cannot be precisely predicted. However, that being said the one thing that can be predicted is the award of licence suspension. And unless stated otherwise by the judge the suspension for mid range drink driving offences is a maximum of twelve months and a minimum of six months. Where the offender is a first time offender the court may be more lenient on the offender depending on the impact suspension of his or her license would have on the driver and family. However, this applies only to genuine hardship that will be suffered.
It must also be noted that the mid range drink driving offence comes with an imprisonment sentence and a conviction results in a permanent criminal record.
The law has a provision for dismissal of the case under Section 10 of the Crimes Act of 1999. It allows for the court that finds the offender guilty to discharge all charges relating to the offence. Speak to a lawyer from a renowned law firm to advise you on your options.