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Case study: High-Level Drink Driving Offences

Updated: May 8

In this case study, our client was charged on two separate occasions of drink driving offences, just 3 months apart. It was his third within 2 years and he narrowly avoided imprisonment.


Court


Sunshine Magistrates' Court


Offences


First brief:


Exceed PCA (section 49(1)(f) of the Road Safety Act (BAC .232)

Drive disqualified

Drunk in a public place


Second brief


Drive under the influence (Section 49(1)(a) of the Road Safety Act (BAC .328)

Drive disqualified


Facts


The offending occurred against a backdrop of depression and turmoil following a long marriage. The second set of charges occurred 3 months after the first.


All charges were consolidated and proceeded as a plea of guilty.


How was the case prepared for Court?


Our client recognised that he was at risk of receiving a term of imprisonment which would inevitably lead to him losing his employment, amongst other undesirable consequences of his offending.


HIs problem was two-fold: 2 separate occasions of high-level drink driving and a previous offence within 2 years, also involving a high blood-alcohol concentration.


He understood that if he was to have a fighting chance of avoiding imprisonment substantial rehabilitation following the last set of offences would need to be established.


Our client referred himself for treatment at a residential detox facility, and following his release from this treatment (28 days later) maintained consistent attendance for both alcohol and mental health counselling.


In addition, he was urged as a practical matter to purchase a breathalyser and self-test himself every day.


He did this and produced a bundle of documents representing over 8 months of continuous breath testing (where he registered a bac of 0.00%).


What happened at Court?


Evidence was called from our client and he spoke directly to the Court about the difficulties he had encountered and the rehabilitative steps he had taken in response. In addition to a large bundle of documents evidencing that he had self-tested himself for alcohol over 8 months, evidence of the steps he had taken to abstain from alcohol including:


  • completion of residential treatment over 28 days

  • attendance for mental health counselling

  • attendance for ongoing alcohol counselling and attendance at regular AA meetings


Character evidence was also tendered which demonstrated his involvement in his local community.


The Outcome?


The presiding Magistrate was impressed at the steps our client had taken in the face of very serious offending and in what was a line-ball decision, our client was ordered to complete a Community Correction Order with conditions that included unpaid community work, treatment for alcohol dependence, and to participate in programs to reduce reoffending.





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