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Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the Influence
Driving under the influence is when the driver of motor vehicle is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
What is the penalty for Driving under the influence (DUI)?
If convicted of this offence and it is your first major or Driving under the influence offence in a five year period, the maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $3,300 and/or imprisonment of 18 months. The automatic disqualification period is three years, with a Minimum of 12 months. The court may choose to make an interlock order which reduces the amount of disqualification period.
If convicted of this offence and it is your second major or driving under the influence offence in a five year period, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment of two years. The automatic disqualification period is five years, with a Minimum of two years. The court may choose to make an interlock order which reduces the amount of disqualification period
At Catron Simmons Lawyers, we can offer you qualified advice best suited for your situation to ensure the best outcome for your matter.
|Driving under the Influence (DUI)|
|First Major offence within 5 year Period|
|Maximum Imprisonment||18 Months|
|Automatic Disqualification Period||3 Years|
|Minimum Disqualification Period||18 Months|
|Second Major offence within 5 year Period|
|Maximum Imprisonment||24 Months|
|Automatic Disqualification Period||5 Years|
|Minimum Disqualification Period||2 Years|
There are a number of possile defences to DUI, it is important to remember to obtain competent legal advice early in your mater. Catron Simmons lawyers, will be able to assist you in determining whether there are any viable defences and what is best for your individual situation.
Some defences to DUI are:
– the test was conducted unlawfully
– that you were not the driver
– not under the influence of any drug and/or alcohol at the time of driving.
Police have suspended my Licence, but I need my Licence,
You need to lodge an application to the Local Court, this application must be within 28 days so it is important to get legal advice early.
The test for this appeal is quite high. The applicant must show that there are “exceptional circumstances” as to why you need a licence. Therefore, reasoning such as transport to/from work, school and/or even having your licence as part of your job are not considered exceptional or extraordinary.
Catron Simmons Lawyers, can assist you in preparing, the application to give you the best chance of returning to driving as soon as possible.
The interlock program has been in place since early 2015. An interlock is an electronic device or breath testing machine the is linked to the ignition of the vehicle. When attempting to put the vehicle into motion the machine will require a breath sample testing for the presence of alcohol. The vehicle will also require random breath tests whilst driving as well.
If the interlock machine detects ay alcohol the car will shutdown and prevent the person from driving.
The advantage of the interlock program is that it gets you on the road quicker than your disqualification period would otherwise be.
The disadvantage of the interlock program is that you are not permitted to drive a vehicle that doesn’t have the interlock machine fitted to it. This causes problems in cases of employment or where you may operate one or more vehicles.
The cost of the interlock device and maintenance is about $2,000 to install and a further $2,000 to maintain over the course of a year.
Financial assistance in cases of severe financial hardship or concessions may be available from the Roads and Traffic Authority and our specialist in traffic offences at Catron Simmons Lawyers can give you more information.
Although a mandatory program, in certain circumstances such as not having access to a vehicle or a medical condition you can apply to be exempt from the interlock program.
What are the alternatives to imprisonment?
You should obtain legal advice before going to court and pleading guilty to any offence. A well presented sentencing will ensure that you receive the best outcome for your situation.
In NSW, a court can impose any of these types of penalties:
Non Conviction Dismissal (s10(1)a)
This is an order of the court that means there is no conviction recorded and no further action/penalties. Essentially as soon as you leave the court the matter is completely finalised.
Conviction Only s10A
This is an order from the court that means you are convicted of the offence but there is no further penalty and the matter is completely finalised once you leave the court room.
Community Release Order (CRO)
A CRO is the less serious of the bonds; they come in two forms conviction CRO and non-conviction CRO. These bonds can be supervised by Community Corrections or not, it is a matter for the court. That being said the court can order supervision and Community Corrections can discontinue supervision if they deem appropriate. A standard condition of all orders is that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear in court if called upon to do so. Additional conditions can also be imposed like any other bond that can include but not limited to alcohol/drug restrictions and/or rehabilitation, curfew, community service orders, non-association and/or place restriction orders.
A Court can order a fine as the whole or part of a penalty, meaning the court can order a bond in conjunction with a fine. A fine is a conviction. The maximum fine available for each offence varies and is usually articulated as part of the offence as a penalty unit. Generally speaking, after the court has sentenced you and given you a fine you have 28 days to pay, however, the court registry can increase this time to pay the fine and arrange payment plans. Failure to pay the fine will result in an enforcement order, this can have consequences such as suspension of your drivers licence and/or registration. Following this further orders such as a civil enforcement order, community service and/or goal may be utilised instead.
Community Corrections Order (CCO)
A CCO is the more serious of the bonds and are used when the offence is to serious to be dealt with by way of a fine or CRO. The CCO cannot exceed three years. This bond can be supervised or unsupervised by Community Corrections. A standard condition of all orders is that an offender must not commit any offence and that the offender must appear in court if called upon to do so. The court can add additional orders including but not limited to alcohol/drug restrictions and/or rehabilitation, curfew, community service orders, non-association and/or place restriction orders.
Intensive Correction Order (ICO)
An ICO is a type of imprisonment or custodial sentence yo to two courts that the court decides can be served in the community. The ICO is the most serious of court orders that an offender can serve in the community and are not available for a number of offences involving Violence, breaches of public safety and child related matters. The court can add conditions to an ICO such as home detention, electronic monitoring, curfews, community service work, alcohol/drug restrictions, place restrictions, association orders and/or whatever the court see fits. An ICO is monitored and supervised by Probation and Parole NSW and any breaches of the order are referred to the NSW State ParolAuthority (SPA) and not the courts. Often the offender is required to then serve the remainder of their sentence in custody as a result of a serious breach.
What are my options? What is a conviction?
A conviction means that the court has found you guilty and has deicide to record the offence in a ‘formal’ declaration.
It is possible to have a matter ‘proven, but no conviction recorded’ if the court sees fit. This is commonly referred to as a s10 (although it is now a Community Release Order without conviction or s10(1)a)).
If convicted of any offence, this is recorded on your criminal record. This existence of a criminal record may affect future employment, travel especially to places like the United States.
If you believe you are not guilty of an offence it is important to get legal advice early as there are discounts offered by the court for early pleas in sentencing.
What is written notice of pleading? Should I complete it?
A Written Notice of Pleading is a a document that is given to you by Police when charged or alternatively a letter or document sent to the court outlining your wish to plead guilty to the charges enforce the court.
Although this can be an attractive option and the forms seem fairly straightforward and it means that that you would not have to attend court this is actually a bad idea. A written notice stops the court understanding more about you as a person, your income, responsibilities and factors that could mitigate the punishment on sentence.
On a written plea of guilty the magistrate only has the Police Fact Sheet and Criminal Record as information, and often the penalty imposed would be greater, as the Court is not aware of the above factors. It is important to understand and agree with the contents of any fact sheet before they are tendered as this is what the court will base all their decisions on.
At Catron Simmons Lawyers, we can put forward the best case in your defence to often a fairer and more just outcome.