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These blogs are written by our legal team and it is hoped you will find them informative. If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised within please do not hesitate to drop the author an email.

Drink Driving

12/4/20150 CommentsBy Patrick Duffy

If you are stopped on suspicion of Drink Driving you will be asked to provide a specimen of breath, and it is an offence to fail without reasonable excuse, to provide a breath sample when required. Be aware the Police can request a breath sample from any person that they believe to have driven, or been in charge of a motor vehicle, not just from a driver they have pulled over.

The legal limit for drink driving is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. If you give a breath reading over 35 but under 39 the Police will often make a policy decision not to prosecure but the driver will be warned about future conduct.  Previously if a driver's breath reading was over the legal limit of 35 but between 40 and 50 micrograms they would have been given the opportunity to verify the breath sample with ‎a more accurate blood or urine test. Those samples would be taken by a medic. This was a beneficial approach to the 'borderline' drink driver, not least because it takes time for the medic to arrive at the Police Station, and during that time any alcohol in their system would be dissipating  and potentially the blood or urine sample might be significantly lower than when the actual driving occured.

As of midnight on 9th April 2015 ‎the right to request a blood or urine sample (after giving a breath alcohol reading between 40 to 50) no longer exists. If a person provides a breath alcohol reading of 40 or above they will be charged with the offence of Drink Driving and will have to appear before the Magistrates Court. 

The Court will almost always impose a disqualification from driving ‎and together with either a fine, a community penalty, or even a custodial sentence. 

Proper legal advice is essential when facing prosecution for Drink Driving; sometimes the charge can be defended, disqualification avoided, or mitigated against to keep the sentence as low as possible.  

If you find yourself in this uneviable situation then contact our office to speak to one of our Traffic Law specialists. 

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