Traffic Law

Drive under the influence of alcohol - no conviction recorded

Charge: Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) pursuant to section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013 and two counts of not providing particulars to driver .pursuant to section .

Penalties: DUI - A maximum fine of $2,200 and a term of imprisonment for 9 months; an automatic disqualification period of 12 months, reducible to a minimum period of 6 months (with no limit on the maximum period). Not give particulars - a fine of $2,200.

Case Summary: The allegations were that the client was under the influence of alcohol and, while driving home, lost control of the vehicle and collided with a parked car and continued up the footpath and smashed into a fence. Our client had pleaded "not guilty".

Several days before the defended hearing, our Sydney DUI Lawyers persuaded the prosecution that they could not succeed on the "not providing particulars" charges. The prosecution withdrew the "not provide particulars" charges and although our client was initially defending all charges, he decided to then plead guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Our client and a witness were adamant that our client had only consumed one alcoholic beverage. He was a flight attendant who had returned that morning from a 30 hour flight, with very little sleep. In fact, when the police spoke to him at the side of the road and accused him of appearing intoxicated, our client insisted that the police breath test him, because he had only had one drink. The police refused to do so and instead, relied on their own assessment and charged him with the the DUI offence. This meant that the police did not require a blood alcohol reading for the drink driving charge (as they would have for a prescribed concentration of alcohol offence [PCA]) and could simply rely on their assessment of our client's sobriety.

As our client had now pleaded "guilty" to DUI, yet insisted he only consumed one alcoholic drink, submissions had to be made that did not go against our client's acceptance of the the charge alleged. Our client was a flight attendant who had returned from a 30 hour trip the morning of the accident, with little sleep. It was submitted to the Magistrate that it was accepted that, despite having only one drink, due to having travelled for 30 hours and having had little sleep, the effects of the alcoholic drink were amplified and therefore, our client was affected enough by the alcohol to be deemed to be "under the influence".

Result: Although the client was involved in an accident and he left the scene immediately thereafter, we were able to persuade the Magistrate that he could not take these matters into account, as there was no evidence that our client's alleged lack of sobriety had anything to do with the collision. We then relied on the client’s previous good character; the unusual circumstances in that he had only consumed one drink and that had the police subjected him to a breath test, he would have likely recorded a result below 0.05; our client's good traffic record; and our client's need for a licence to be able to travel to the international airport at inconvenient hours, and submitted that the Court should dismiss the charge pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Actwithout recording a conviction.

The prosecutor made submissions and strongly opposed our submission that his Honour deal with the matter in the way we suggested.

His Honour heard both arguments and was persuaded to deal with the matter as we suggested and dismissed the charge without recording a criminal conviction. It was an excellent result in the circumstances and it meant that our client was not disqualified from driving.

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