Drink driving or DUI (Driving under the Influence)
Drink driving is dangerous and life threatening to not only the driver and passengers but also to other drivers and pedestrians. The effects of alcohol on a driver include, but are not limited to:
- reduced co-ordination and concentration;
- slower reaction times;
- reduced ability to make a proper assessment on speed and distance;
- impaired vision and perception of obstacles; and/or
- false sense of confidence and tendency to take risks
Drink driving is a serious office under the NSW legislation. As part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, there is a priority to address the increases in the road toll to reduce fatalities by 30 per cent by 2021. To facilitate the Road Safety Plan 2021 penalties were strengthened to further deter and reduce alcohol related trauma on NSW roads.
Since 20 May 2019, if drivers are caught drink driving over the legal limit in NSW, even if it is their first time or it is a low-range offence, police may suspend the driver’s licence on the spot. Drivers who commit a lower-range drink driving offence, even for the first time, will have their licence suspended for three (3) months and cop a fine of $572. The offender must hand over their licence to police and not drive for three (3) months. The offender will need to make alternative arrangement home from the road side or police station.
The table below has been taken from the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) website (current as at 21 November 2019) and reflects the penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug:
|Penalty||First offence||Second or subsequent offence|
|Maximum court- imposed fine||$3,300||$5,500|
|Maximum prison term||18 months||2 years|
|Minimum disqualification||12 months||2 years|
|Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order)||3 years||5 years|
|Subject to an alcohol interlock order||Yes (alcohol offences only)||Yes (alcohol offences only)|
The court may not impose any penalty and dismiss the charge under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure Act) Act 1999, regardless of the seriousness of a drink driving charge. If an order is made under section 10 of the Act, the offence will not be convicted and accordingly, no criminal conviction will be recorded, no fine imposed or are not required to enter into an agreement to participate in an intervention program.
If you plan on drinking, the safest option is to arrange for alternative transport ahead of time. Do not risk it and go behind the wheel, even if it is a short drive. If you would like to know more, please contact our team to see how we can assist you.