Drink driving Statistics
According to the Australian Transport Council, drink driving was the number one contributing factor in approximately 30% of fatal crashes in Australia from 2011 – 2020. Shockingly, during that time, more than 1 in 4 drivers and passengers killed on Australian roads had a BAC exceeding the legal limit.
Subsequently, Australia has imposed strict laws and penalties regarding drinking and driving. For the last quarter century, the set legal limit has been 0.05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for full-licence holders and zero for learners and probationary licence holders.
What’s a DUI and is it an offense?
Put simply, a DUI (Driving Under Influence) constitutes operating a vehicle while intoxicated. If you are stopped by police for suspected drink driving, a BAC (Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration) test is performed and if the driver records over the legal limit, action will be taken.
The severity of drink driving offences depends primarily on the offender’s B.A.C. at the time of the incident and penalties vary depending on the State or Territory legislation.
Is a DUI a criminal offense?
In short, yes. However, different categories are used to assess the penalty for a person caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and there are different limits to the amount of alcohol consumed by the driver.
- Low range driving offences are drink driving offences where the driver is caught driving with a B.A.C. level between 0.05 and 0.099.
- Middle range offences involve those caught driving a vehicle with a B.A.C. level between 0.10 and 0.1499.
- High range offences are the most severe forms of drink driving offences in Australia. A person is guilty of this offence if they are caught driving a vehicle with B.A.C. levels above 0.15. For this, Police can seize the offender’s license on the spot.
Are DUIs recorded on criminal background checks?
Every police check performed in Australia will return one of two results: No Disclosable Court Outcomes (NDCO) or Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCO).
- A NDCO result means that the person has no police record, or the person does not have any police history information for release.
- A DCO result means that the person has a police record and the details of the conviction or convictions will be disclosed. This does not include any spent convictions, unless an exclusion applies which allows for the disclosure of all past convictions.
How long does a Drink Driving offence remain on a Police Check?
Offences on a National Police Check will continue to appear for life, as long as they are in the criminal records. Offences are only removed from a criminal record through various legal pardons or schemes like the Spent Convictions Scheme. The spent convictions legislation applies to offences which are considered less serious, and which occurred a long time ago.
Generally, the Spent Convictions Scheme in most Australian States and Territories stipulates that a drink driving offence will get expunged from an individual’s criminal record after 10 years from the date of the offence (if the offender was an adult at the date of the offence).
In most situations, spent convictions will not appear as part of the results of a national police check. Circumstances include, but are not limited to, employment screening for certain professions, applications for firearms, visa applications and more.
To find out if your DUI offence will show on your police check, you can contact the relevant agencies in the police jurisdiction where the offence happened. You can request information relating to their policies for spent convictions as well as information release policies relating to traffic offences. However, the results released on a National Police Check in Australia are at the discretion of the individual police agencies, and there is no way to guarantee what the outcome will be.
Do All Traffic Offences Result In A Conviction?
While all traffic offences are criminal offences, they do not all result in a conviction. Convictions usually result in cases where the individual has lost their licence because of the offence. If tried for these offences, and the offender does not appeal (an appeal is required within 28 days) or the appeal is lost, the driver will be convicted.
Driving-related convictions will prohibit the individual from driving by taking away their drivers licence, for a period of 6 months minimum.
Traffic offences which lead to a conviction can include:
- Drink driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Evading police authorities
- Manslaughter (hit and run cases)
- Reckless driving
How can having a DUI on my record affect me?
A person with a recorded DUI offence may face issues when applying for certain jobs if a criminal history check is required during the pre-employment stage. In Australia, a DUI offence found on a criminal record check should generally not affect your ability to seek employment within a non-driving role. However, there are specific fields where a traffic offence will have a great impact on getting the job or keeping the job you have.
There are many jobs where driving is the most important element of the role. Receiving a traffic offence on your police clearance can have a negative effect on employment in these areas. For example, a taxi driver, bus driver, public transport driver and commercial passenger vehicles, truck drivers, and ride-hailing services such as Uber.
Many employers require driver accreditation to allow people to drive members of the public. A traffic conviction can result in driver accreditation being suspended, which will in turn stop you from doing the job. Ride-hailing services take traffic offence history very seriously, and a conviction could prevent you from working with these companies.
In some circumstances, jobs require that the employee have a valid drivers licence. For example, a retail position may involve using a company car. Job opportunities may be limited if your licence has been taken away because of your DUI offence. Consider the elements of the role before applying.
Some employers have policies in place to assess particular convictions. It’s important to note that some employers may request information detailing drug-related offences, and this may include driving under the influence of drugs.
In addition to employment is not the only aspect of the person’s life which may suffer because of their record. While many countries around the world view DUI offences as a misdemeanor, there are some countries which have DUI travel restrictions, which could affect eligibility to travel.
Mark Savic Legal can help
Knowledge and experience are the only tools to use when so much is at stake. If you’ve been charged with a drink driving offence in Coffs Harbour, Maclean, Woolgoolga, Grafton, Yamba, Northern NSW, The Gold Coast or Brisbane, contact Mark Savic Legal today.