There are very few lawyers who specialise in drink driving related matters. South Australian Traffic laws are constantly changing and as Criminal and Traffic Law experts we pride ourselves on our up-to-date knowledge. There are a number of different offences created by the legislation. Commonly, people believe that they have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) when in fact they have been charged with exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA).
In addition, the consequences of a drink driving offence might be significant for many people who rely upon their licence to work.
If you are charged with exceeding the PCA a number of different consequences may occur. Penalties have been increasing significantly. Even if you are a first offender on a full licence and have a reading greater than .05%, then you will face a mandatory loss of licence for at least 3 months. If your reading is greater than .08%, then you are liable to be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence for at least 6 months. If your reading is greater than .15%, then you face a loss of licence for at least 12 months.
These are minimum penalties only. You are likely to receive an immediate notice of disqualification from the police. Later, you will receive a summons from the police. When you go to court, the court can impose a loss of licence far greater than the minimum stated in the notice. If your offending is combined with other offences, or aggravated by other means, (i.e. an accident or high speed) then you should expect an increase from the minimum. Likewise, if your reading is toward the higher end of a category, then you may receive an increase in penalty. We can assist you in presenting your personal situation to the court with a view to reducing the period of disqualification you might otherwise face. In addition, after your licence is cancelled there are many occasions where you will have to participate in the alcohol interlock scheme before graduating onto a full licence.
If you have a prior conviction for a drink driving related offence, then the penalties are harsh indeed. In some cases, your driver’s licence can be cancelled for a minimum period of 3 years or until further order.
The above relates only to those people who hold a full drivers licence. Different criteria apply to those who hold a provisional, or probationary licence, or learner's permit. Different criteria also apply to those carrying passengers such as taxi drivers and bus drivers.
It is important to remember that the above licence disqualifications cannot be reduced unless your offence is a first offence and it is considered to be 'trifling'. A special legal definition applies to the term 'trifling'. Please enquire with us if there is something unusual or atypical about your matter. Reduced penalties also apply if you can show that you consumed alcohol after the time of driving, but before being tested by the police, but these cases are rare and there are many exceptions. Further, you cannot get a licence to drive during your employment or during other specified circumstances.