I have just been charged with drink driving, what should my next steps be?
If you have been charged with any drink driving offence, then it is our strongest recommendation that you immediately seek advice from a solicitor who practises in Criminal and Traffic Law. Expert legal advice in the early stages can assist in guiding the process towards your court appearance.
You should also note that due to recent changes in the legislation, not all drink driving matters require a court appearance. For example, driving with a Low Range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol can be dealt with (at the police officer’s discretion) by a Penalty Infringement Notice and Immediate Suspension rather than a Court Attendance Notice. Again, it is important to seek legal advice about the consequences of your matter being dealt with in this way and any possible appeal avenues.
If you have been issued with an Immediate Notice of Suspension, it is imperative that you cease driving immediately. The offence of Driving Whilst Suspended is a serious matter and carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment.
When engaging your solicitor, it is important that you provide all the paperwork that you have received from the Police. The paperwork will identify for the solicitor any possible defences that may be available to you following a review of the police action that has been taken. Same will also identify the charges that have been laid and enable the solicitor to determine the best way of preparing the matter for court. Such documents may include a Court Attendance Notice, Immediate Notice of Suspension, Blood Alcohol Analysis Certificate and a Police Facts Sheet.
The solicitor will provide you with advice about your plea, guilty or not guilty, and the Court procedure. You will also be advised about preparing documents for your Court appearance. These documents will include any material supporting your case such as references, evidence about the need for a license or evidence from other people that you support.
You should also complete a Traffic Offenders Program prior to your Court appearance. There are a number of Court-approved and accredited programs available.
Drink driving matters are often said to be committed by people who are unlikely to have any other interaction with the criminal justice system. Often it is the first time that a person is charged by the Police with any offence and then have to come before a court.
The Criminal Law Division at Brydens Lawyers is here to assist you in your understanding of the process and achieving the best possible outcome for you in any criminal matter. If you have been charged with a drink driving offence please call our dedicated Criminal Law hotline 1800 017 017 for expert legal advice and representation in all criminal matters.