As drink driving specialist lawyers, many people often ask us what their legal obligations are when they’re pulled over by those flashing blue lights and asked to provide a breath sample.
What am I required to do if the police pull me over?
If you refuse to provide a breath sample, or don’t properly complete a breath test at the roadside or the police station, you can be charged with failing to provide a breath specimen. This can result in the same penalty as if you blew high-range! So don’t panic and think “I am going to blow over so maybe I shouldn’t try very hard for a successful reading”. This will not work, and you will find yourself in a worse position with a possible higher penalty and longer suspension than if you had blown under .015%. You also do not have the right to refuse a blood test if the police so direct. Many people believe that this means you can also request a blood test, however this is not the case and you have no legal right to insist on a blood test.
Can I go to Jail for drink driving?
Yes. If you have been convicted of three major offences within a five year period, then the penalty can include jail time. A major offence includes having a BAC of 0.15% or more (high-range), or failing to provide a breath specimen.
Do I need a lawyer to go with me to Court?
Being charged with drink driving can dramatic consequences in your life, such as loss of employment, visa restrictions (eg., entry to the US), increase in insurance premiums and a criminal conviction. We therefore always recommend that you meet with a lawyer as a first step. You should discuss with your lawyer the circumstances surrounding your offence so you have a better understanding of the Court process, types of penalties, courses available and any mitigating circumstances that can be presented to the Magistrate. You may even have a defence that you’re not aware of! Remember – the Magistrate sees hundreds of these offences every year. Having a solicitor in Court to represent you will ensure your circumstances stand out from the rest and give you the best possible chance of the most favourable outcome the law will allow.