On 30 April 2018 the Victorian Government has cracked down on drink and drug driving by introducing tougher sentences for anyone convicted of a drink or drug driving offence. The relevant legislation contains mandatory minimum penalties which increase in severity depending on how far over the limit a driver is. The police can lay charges if a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) exceeds the limit and they are tested within 3 hours of driving.
The mandatory laws require every driver found driving in excess of the limit to be disqualified from holding a licence. There are no exceptions, even for first time offenders. The minimum disqualification doubles for repeat offenders.
The mandatory minimum disqualification period begins at a 6 months for a first time offender if they are between .05 and .10. The range then increases to a 10 month suspension after .10 which gets significantly higher and reaches a 24 month suspension once first-time offender is .24 over. These are mandatory minimum sentences, the magistrate or judges cannot give a lower penalty.
It might be tempting to not cooperate when the police pull you over, but that is also a criminal act under the law and comes with a penalty of a minimum $1,900 fine and a maximum 18 months imprisonment if you are a repeat offender alongside a mandatory 2 years off the road.
The police can suspend your licence without the Court’s consent if your BAC is over .10, if you refuse a breathalyser or if you have committed a similar offence in the last 10 years. This is called an “immediate suspension” and can only be removed in court.
Since 2018, it is mandatory for the return of the licence of a convicted drink driver to be conditional on the installation of an alcohol interlock device. Another court date is required to remove the device.
If you have been charged with such an offence and need legal assistance, please call Hutchinson Legal to speak with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the drink driving legal process.
INSIGHT Autumn 2019 Newsletter – Hutchinson Legal (Printed with permission)