Dribbin & Brown Drink Driving Lawyers are specialists in handling drink driving matters. With offices in the Melbourne CBD, Dandenong, Frankston, Ringwood, Moorabbin and Geelong areas, our lawyers routinely appear at the various local Magistrates’ Courts around Melbourne representing clients charged with driving under the influence (DUI), driving whilst intoxicated (DWI) and drinking and driving. If you have been charged with a drink driving offence then call our office today. We are experts in the field and can help you achieve the best outcome in your case.
For further information, we have prepared this article to assist you in understanding the possible ramifications of going to court in relation to drink driving charges. If you have a drink driving matter listed at court, please call our office and one of our experienced lawyers will return your call to discuss how we can help you. If you would like to read about the various types of drink driving charges, click here.
Drink driving and drunk driving charges listed at the local Magistrates’ Court can have a number of different ramifications:
There may be a technical defence open to you that will support a not guilty plea and result in having the charges withdrawn. Should this option be available to you, very few of the points listed above will apply.
As you can see, drink driving matters can have far-reaching ramifications regarding your freedom to drive and can see you severely financially impacted through loss of licence, substantial fines, potential imprisonment and further impoundment and forfeiture of your motor vehicle.
If you have been caught drink or drunk driving and have to appear at court, it is always wise to engage a lawyer. If you are not sure whether you need one, give us a call. One of our experienced drinking driving lawyers will call you back to get further details from you and assess your case. We are always happy to have a chat so at the very least you can make an informed decision about your representation.
In relation to certain BAC readings regarding drink driving offences, the police have power to suspend you from driving on the spot. This is called a section 51 notice of suspension. It is called that because it relates to section 51 of the Road Safety Act. If you are served with one of these notices it means that you cannot drive. Any time off the road you do as a result of a section 51 suspension before attending court must be taken off any period of disqualification imposed by the Magistrate.
It is possible to challenge a section 51 notice, but it is not easy. Given that any time you do off the road will be taken into account later, sometimes there is no point (i.e. you will have to do the time eventually if you are pleading guilty).
In other circumstances you might be pleading not guilty to your drink driving charges. In these circumstances, it might be in your interests to challenge the section 51 notice and get back on the road immediately. Per section 51(12) of the Road Safety Act, a defendant must show exceptional circumstances before a Magistrate is permitted to overturn a section 51 notice. It is a high bar to overcome, but not insurmountable. A notice must be served on the chief commissioner 14 days prior to the application to appeal being made. It is highly advisable to engage our office if you intend lodging an appeal against a section 51 notice.
If you plead guilty at a Magistrates’ Court in relation to drink driving you can be sentenced with or without conviction. What does this mean? Not a great deal, actually. Whether you are sentenced with or without conviction, the record will still appear on a record check and you will still serve (as a starting point) the minimum period of time off the road. If the sentence is made without conviction, the record will simply show that the matter was recorded as a non-conviction, but it does not mean that it will not show up. To obtain no record at all you would need to be granted a diversion. Unfortunately, diversions are not available in relation to drink driving matters because of the mandatory orders in relation to licence.
Some lawyers form the view that if you receive a traffic infringement you should appeal and argue before a magistrate for a non-conviction. It is possible to appeal a drink driving traffic infringement notice and take it to court, but then you will have a record that indicates you went to court with a finding of guilt (potentially without a conviction) as opposed to a record that indicates you received a traffic infringement notice with conviction.
Unless there is a specific reason that you require a non-conviction outcome, our view is that there is no point appealing a traffic infringement for the sole purpose of obtaining a non-conviction in circumstances where your goal is to avoid any form of record, as it will still appear on your record. If you have any other motive for wanting a non-conviction, we can certainly assist you to achieve that outcome. For more information on the meaning of non-conviction vs conviction please click here.
In most circumstances, the answer is yes. Very occasionally, you can apply to VicRoads, but either way you will most likely have to complete a drink driver’s education course.
If you have to come to court to obtain your licence back you will need to list the application at the Magistrates’ Court 30 days prior to the date you are due to get your licence back. During that 30 day period you will have to complete the drink driver’s education course and also will have to be interviewed by police in relation to your original drink driving offence. Police will then provide a report to the police prosecutor at court advising of their position in relation to whether you should get your licence back. For more information on licence restoration please click here.
Court can be an intimidating place, particularly for the unrepresented or first time defendant. The court staff, prosecutors and magistrates are all unfamiliar. That is why it is so important to engage lawyers who have experience representing clients charged with drink driving and DUI charges at the Magistrates’ Court where you must attend.
Drink driving law is complex. You could be walking into a hornet’s nest and not be aware until it is too late. We have represented hundreds of clients in the County Court, trying to repair damage that occurred in the first instance at the Magistrates’ Court. This commonly happens when clients either choose to represent themselves or engage inexperienced lawyers at the first instance. Don’t make this mistake.
Why Dribbin & Brown?
If you have been charged with drink driving or drunk driving, please select the office closest to you and contact us today.
that we could successfully defend the matter on the basis that the client had made an honest and reasonable mistake as to the status of her licence Read More
Just a follow up thanks for your professional service & presentation yesterday – very happy with the outcome and the comments from the Magistrate. Thanks again, and I’m more than happy to be used as a reference for your firm if required.