Low Range Drink Driving Offence - Now What?

What is Considered Low Range Drink Driving?

A low range drink driving offence concerns drivers who are charged with driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.050 to 0.079.

Since 20 May 2019, if you are caught drink driving over the legal limit in NSW and charged with a low-range offence, police may suspend your license immediately (“the licence suspension”) and issue a penalty notice.

You’ll be notified of the licence suspension within 48 hours of being issued a penalty notice or being charged with the offence. You must not drive from this time.

What are your options?

1. Appeal the decision of the police to suspend your licence within 28 days and before the offence which gave rise to the licence suspension is heard by Court; or

2. Apply to have the licence suspension stayed until the offence is heard by the Court to have the licence suspension stayed until the offence can be heard; and/or

3. Ask the Court to deal with the offence which gave rise to the licence suspension with leniency based on your circumstances.

Option 1: Appealing the decision of the police:

If you choose to appeal the decision, the Local Court may vary or set aside the decision, dismiss your appeal or make another order.

The Local Court will only vary or set aside the decision if it is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances and cannot consider the circumstances of the offence. This is a high threshold to meet. Although legislation does not define exceptional circumstances, generally, a requirement to travel to and from work would not amount to exceptional circumstances.  

Option 2: Application to have the licence suspension stayed before the offence which gave rise to the licence suspension is heard by the Court:

In circumstances where you are considering pleading not guilty to the offence that gave rise to the licence suspension, you may choose to make an application to the Court for the licence suspension to be put on hold (“stayed”) until the Court has heard by the offence.

This means you can continue to drive until the offence has been heard by the Court. However, the Local Court will only grant a stay where there are exceptional circumstances.

If you are considering pleading not guilty. You should contact Kennedy & Cooke to get legal advice as soon as possible. 

Option 3: Ask the Court to deal with the offence which gave rise to the licence suspension with leniency based on your circumstances:

The offence which gave rise to the licence suspension will go to Local Court to be heard and decided by a Magistrate. The Local Court will consider the offence, its circumstances and how the offence including the licence suspension applies to you.

The court may grant a dismissal or a conditional release order in relation to the offence and the licence suspension may not apply. 

If you need help with your low range drink driving offence - contact the team at Kennedy & Cooke to get legal advice as soon as possible.

Please be advised that this article is for informational purposes only. It is not to be used in place of legal advice. In any legal matter, we recommend that you contact a licensed solicitor.

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