Answers to basic questions related to drinking driving

This write-up explains what you need to do if you are pleading guilty to a drink-driving charge.

A drink-driving charge can be:

  • PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol) offense
  • DUI (Driving under the influence) offense
  • refusal or failure to give a breath analysis or blood sample, and
  • dangerous driving involving alcohol.

The law limits the amount of alcohol you are allowed to have in your blood when driving. This is known as the alcohol limit. The limit varies as per the type of license you have. For example, full license holders have more limit than learners and P-platers. The penalties also vary on depends on how much over the limit you are. You can be charged with low, middle and high-range PCA offenses.

How should I prepare for court?

Get character references

Written references from people about your good character may help your case. They should be addressed to the magistrate, and the people writing references should say they know about the charges you are charged for.

Write down what you want to say

Write a letter to the magistrate. The court will consider what you say when it decides what penalty to give you.

You should cover these things:

  • you believed you were over the limit when you drove
  • a random breath test stopped you or because you were driving dangerously
  • how long you drove or intended to drive when you were stopped
  • how many people were put at risk by your driving
  • there was an accident
  • not having a license will affect your employment or other people who rely on you
  • you don’t have other transport you can use
  • how long you had a license and what your overall driving record is like
  • why you will not commit more offenses

You should also explain:

  • other special reason why you were driving
  • why you were driving after consuming alcohol
  • why the court should accept that you will not drink and drive in future
  • you need a license for work
  • disqualified from driving for a long time
  • you have other reasons for needing a drive
  • what your weekly income and expenses are

What should I do at court?

  • Find the court officer and tell them that you are pleading guilty.
  • If you want legal advice, find the drink driving lawyers at court or ask the court to adjourn your case so you can get advice from drink driving lawyers.
  • You can see the duty lawyer if you think you could go to jail.
  • Check the certificate that states your blood alcohol level and the machine printout from the breath analysis machine and makes sure that they match the police fact sheet.
  • If you disagree with what the police, you should get legal advice from drink driving lawyers before you plead guilty.