As of Monday the 20th of May, new laws will give NSW Police the power to automatically suspend drivers for Low Range, novice or special drink driving charges. The Police will issue a penalty notice which will result in an immediate three-month suspension as well as a fine.
The primary proposed benefit of this change is to send a clear message to drivers that if you drink and drive you will lose your licence. Furthermore, it can be argued that these changes will lower the burden on the local court. However only 1.6% of local court work is taken up by these kinds of offences.
The changes do undermine the courts power to apply discretion when dealing with these kinds of offences. The penalty notice, however, is appealable and it may be worthwhile appearing before a magistrate to present the exceptional circumstances in each individual case.
The factors that are taken into account by a magistrate in these cases are things such as;
- Prior good record
- Factors or the offence, ie speed and nature of driving
- Passengers in the car
- The BAC reading
It is important that if you are issued a penalty notice and/or immediate suspension that you do not continue to drive. This will result in further offences and the issues can quickly snowball out of control resulting in sever court penalties.
If you need to know more about any of your drink driving or traffic matter, please feel free to arrange an appointment with one of our helpful staff who will be more than happy to provide advise and appear on your behalf in relation to any appeal.