Low Range Drink Drivers may face immediate Licence suspension by Police

21 MAY 2019


As of 20 May 2019, new laws will be in place that provide the power to police to issue a Penalty Infringement Notice to Low Range Drink Drivers. Low Range Drink Driving is having a prescribed concentrate of alcohol reading between 0.05 and 0.79.

The new law has also provided the power for Police to suspend your licence on the spot for a period of 3 months. Further, you will not be required to attend Court, instead you will receive a fine of $561.00.

Police will retain the discretion to issue a Court Attendance Notice to have the matter heard by the Court. If the matter proceeds to Court, the maximum fine that can be imposed has been increased from $1,100.00 to $2,200.00.

The minimum disqualification period for a first time Low Range Drink Driver is 3 months, with a maximum of 6 months.

This is also applicable if you are caught driving with an illicit substance in your system.

The Government rationale for the new laws is based on the ‘Road Safety Plan 2021’ to reduce injury and death as a result of illegal driving. Further, it is to deter low range drink driving and the decision to drive on the basis that “I should be ok”.

Law Society Concerns

The Law Society has raised concerns in relation to the new laws, noting that those in rural areas with limited or no access to public transport will face significant problems with an immediate licence suspension.

The President of the Law Society, Ms Elizabeth Espinosa, has expressed a view that it may even increase re-offending due an individual’s necessity to drive and that an individual does not face shame of appearing before a Magistrate and will not undertake any safe driving program.

What can I do if I am immediately suspended?

You have the option to make an ‘election’ on this Penalty Infringement Notice and take the matter to Court in order to have the penalty decided by a Magistrate.

By doing this, the Magistrate does have the discretion to increase either the fine, or the disqualification period. In this regard, it is important you seek legal advice prior to electing on the ticket.

Further, you do have the opportunity to lodge an appeal against the immediate licence suspension put in place by the Police. In order for the suspension to be removed however, you must show the Court you have exceptional circumstances that require your driver’s licence. Generally, work alone does not constitute an exceptional circumstance.

For more information contact Sharon Ramsden on (02) 4626 5077 or sramsden@marsdens.net.au

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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