DUI Laws in New South Wales – 5 Essential Things to Know About
Did you know—1 in every 5 fatal road crashes in NSW happens due to drink driving?
Drink driving charges are determined by the levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether that crosses the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) for each offence. How severe a penalty the offender is likely to receive depends on the category of licence he/she holds, and whether they are a first-time offender, a second or a subsequent offender.
Here are 5 things about DUI laws in NSW you must keep at the top of your mind before hitting the road.
Drink driving is a serious offence
Drink driving or driving under influence is regarded as a serious offence therefore if you’re found driving a vehicle with a BAC of more than 0.05, you are likely to face penalties like suspension of your license or even imprisonment. DUI laws are more or less same across the nation so knowing what works in NSW will give you an idea of what penalties to expect in any part of Australia.
You can’t refuse being tested for BAC
If you’re suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are legally bound to take a breathalyser test. For those who have a probationary or learner license, your BAC cannot be more than zero, regardless of where you are in Australia. However, for full license holders, a BAC that exceeds 0.05 is considered an offence.
You may be penalised for driving under the influence of other mind-altering substances or drugs
Besides driving under the influence of alcohol, the NSW DUI laws also forbids the act of driving under the influence of other mind-altering substances like marijuana, methamphetamine, and MDMA. This is because the effect of these substances have been found to be equally detrimental to the driver’s response and reaction times, which may be dangerous, and more so when driving at high speeds.
Your license may be suspended for life
License suspension is inevitable for anyone convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, the period of suspension varies depending on whether you are a first-time offender or getting convicted for DUI charges the second or the third time. For first-timers, their license may be suspended for a maximum period of six months, but if they are pulled over for breaking any other DUI Laws within that time, the judge may order for their license to be suspended for an indefinite period. This means you might be left without a license for the rest of your life, if your offence is such that the suspension is never removed.
You may get behind the bars
While the current DUI law rules out first-time offenders from being locked away, being convicted for the same charges for the second time can result in at least 12 months to 2 years of jail-time depending on the PCA category of the offence.
DUI cases can be messy and incur a lot of trouble and a bad reputation as well as financial damage. Therefore, it’s best and, by far the safest option, to avoid drinking entirely before getting behind the wheel.
In the event that you do get convicted for DUI charges, always consult a DUI lawyer.
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