Drink Driving

The Road Safety Act 1986 is a pretty big act, as far as statutes go. And the most complex and complicated part of this act is dedicated to Drink Driving. Long ago, the powers that be understood that there were votes in coming up with ever more convulated ways to close loopholes that saw admitted drink drivers escape penalty.

The traditional prosecution for drink driving was to charge an accused with the offence of driving while intoxicated. The problem with this is that lawyers challenged the police on the basis on which they found that an accused was intoxicated.

Was it because their speech was slurred? Was it because of the way they walked, or spoke, or becuase they smelt like they had alcohol on their breath?

In order to prove the offense of driving under the influence, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove the following two elements:

1- Accused was driving a motor vehicle

2- Accused was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of any drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle.

The second element has to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. In some cases, this charge proceeds where there is no actual evidence of the concentration of alcohol in the blood or breath, but where eyewitness evidence suggests the accused was affected by alcohol at the time of driving. A drink drive lawyer can evaluate the evidence to determine if such charges can be successfully contested.


Sentencing for this drink drive offence is generally harsher than for alternative charge of Exceed Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA).

Offence HistoryLicence Cancellation Max imprisonmentFine
First offence24 months3 months25 penalty units
Second Offence48 months12 months120 penalty units
Subsequent offence48 months18 months180 penalty units

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