by Mark Savic
Mark is a Criminal Lawyer practicing in the Northern Rivers of NSW. The area takes in Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton and Maclean. Mark has many years of experience representing groups at risk including, Aboriginal Australians, unemployed people, people who are socially and economically marginalised, women where under represented, newly arrived refugees and many others.
The risks involved in drink driving
Most people are aware of the risks involved in drink driving. Unfortunately, many people each year take these risks. Here in the Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton and Maclean lives are lost annually because of poor decisions made after drinking. Let’s go through the risks:
Being pulled over for a random breath test
Police in the Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton and Maclean areas take drink driving very seriously. The police are often the first responders to tragic accidents which effect whole communities. The police are often the ones who must face families with terrible news. The fact is that you will be subjected to a random breath test at some time. Residents in Coffs Harbour and Grafton often see mobile breath test units set up in the community.
Being charged with Drink Driving
For some first offenders who are charged with drink driving the penalty can sometimes be relatively minor. For example, if you were pulled over by the police for a random breath test and the following applied to you:
- You were low range. Say 0.051
- You were driving normally in a registered and insured car
- There was no accident
- You had been drinking the night before and had slept for several hours before driving but had not eaten anything
- You had been driving for 20 years and had no offences on your licence
- You had completed a traffic offenders course
- You entered an early plea of guilty
In this case the court might consider this an honest mistake and dismiss the charge without recording a conviction. Not recording a conviction does not mean it will not appear on your record. It will.
Losing your license and being fined
Most people who are charged with a drink driving offence will lose their license and be fined. For most drink driving offences there are minimum and maximum penalties which can vary greatly. For most drink driving offences the court has no choice but to disqualify you from driving. Some offenders will lose their license for many years.
Going to Jail
If you have been convicted of three drink driving offences in the past five years the court will consider sending you to jail. This can be devastating for some families and individuals. Going to jail means that some families are left without a parent or provider. Often the person going to jail will lose their job and find it hard to get another job when they get out.
Because you were caught in the Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Grafton or Maclean area does not mean you automatically go to jail in Grafton. Corrective services will send you wherever they like. You could end up hundreds of kilometres from home.
Do not drink and drive.