Since 20 May 2019, police have been given the power to issue a penalty notice in the sum of $561 and impose an immediate 3-month licence suspension to drivers who blow a low-range blood alcohol reading.
The penalty notice can be appealed to the Local Court, on the basis that you are:
- Not guilty of the offence, or
- Guilty but wish to persuade the court to grant a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order‘ (without a conviction), so that you do not receive a fine or a licence disqualification.
If you plead not guilty and the case is ultimately dismissed, there will be no conviction recorded against your name and no penalties.
If you plead guilty, it is important to prepare your case properly in order to maximise the prospects of a non-conviction order, because if such an order is not granted the court can deal with you as outlined below.
What is Low Range Drink Driving?
Low Range Drink Driving is where you drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.050 and 0.079.
If the court convicts you of ‘low range drink driving’, it must disqualify you from driving.
However, if the court deals with you under section 10 or a conditional release order (without a conviction), you will not be disqualified or fined, and a conviction will not be recorded against your name.
The ‘automatic period of disqualification’ is 6 months if you have not been convicted of another ‘major traffic offence’ within the previous 5 years.
The Magistrate can reduce that disqualification period to a ‘minimum’ of 3 months.
The maximum fine is $2,200.00.
2nd or Subsequent Offence
If it is your 2nd or more ‘major traffic offence’ within 5 years, the ‘automatic period of disqualification’ is 12 months.
The Magistrate can reduce that disqualification period to a ‘minimum’ of 6 months.
The maximum fine is $3,300.00.
In either case, the Magistrate can choose to deal with the matter under a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order’ ie without conviction, disqualification or fine.
The following are official sentencing statistics for Low Range Drink Driving NSW.
They are published by the Judicial Commission of NSW.
|Number of Cases||28,382|
|Section 10 Dismissal||7%|
|Section 10 bond (now conditional release order without conviction)||34%|
|Section 10A (+ disqualification)||1%|
|Fine (+ disqualification)||57%|
|Community Service Order (+ disqualification)||<1%|
|Suspended Sentence (+ disqualification)||0%|
|Intensive Correction Order (+ disqualification)||0%|
|Periodic Detention (no longer applicable)||0%|
|Home Detention (+ disqualification)||0%|
|Prison (+ disqualification)||0%|
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