Drinking while under the influence, be it from alcohol or illegal drugs, is a serious offence in most countries around the world and Australia is far from an exemption. Australia carries serious penalties for drivers caught drinking alcohol and the more alcohol in a person’s system, the harsher the penalty will be.
Despite these are facts most Australians are aware of, many drivers still continue to take the risk, and there are hundreds of court trials that happen every year as a result of drivers getting caught driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal penalties drivers face are one factor, but there is also a huge social stigma attached to this kind of offence as it is generally frowned upon by most members of society.
Given the penalties that drink drivers can face, it is vital that those facing court utilise the services of experienced drink driving lawyers. If a driver is caught with a huge alcohol to blood ratio, it’s unlikely they’re going to walk away without a criminal record, but the penalties can be minimised and in some cases, drivers can walk away pardoned if the lawyer can convince the court that given the circumstances, amongst other factors, the driver was faced with no choice or was genuinely unaware of their actions.
Below are some details of the types of penalties drivers can face if caught driving under the influence of alcohol.
Novice Range PCA
This is where drivers are caught with a minimal amount of alcohol in their blood that constitutes as over the limit. If convicted, drivers will face an automatic driving ban of between three and six months. Drivers in this bracket won’t be facing any prison time but the sentence can carry a maximum fine of 1100 Australian dollars.
Mid Range PCA
For drivers caught with slightly more alcohol in their blood, a court conviction means they’re facing a maximum fine of up to 2200 Australian dollars, a driving ban that will last between six months to one year and a maximum prison sentence of nine months. Drivers facing court sentences with this range of alcohol in their blood and above are very unlikely to receive a pardon, even if it’s a first offence.
High Range PCA
Being caught in this range means the driver has posed a serious threat to his own and other people’s safety, meaning the penalties can be extremely harsh. Drivers in this bracket face a maximum fine of 3300 Australian dollars, a maximum 12 month driving ban and up to 18 months in prison.
The above generally apply to first time offenders and sentences for second offences within five years can be much more severe. It’s for these reasons that drivers facing court and sentencing must hire the most experienced drink driving lawyers available to them. Hiring the best lawyers is the likeliest way to minimise sentences, have a strong case presented to the court and, if possible, be let off with a pardon.