Drink Driving Facts and Plausible Defences

Law Blog

The facts and statistics around drink driving in Australia are startling. In 2013, the figure for annual fatalities was at 162 persons. Although this was a drop from the 2012 figure which was at 183, 162 fatalities is still because lives were lost. It is important for motorists to note that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 doubles your chances of getting an accident. 0.08 increases the risk of an accident by 7 times. A BAC level of 0.15 increases the likelihood of an accident by 25 times.  Car traffic accidents can be very costly especially in relation to injuries, damage to cars and deaths. They are a major issue in the society in terms of cost to community and years of potential lives lost. This explains why the State is not lenient on drink driving motorists. However, if you have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol, there are several plausible defences. 

Reasonable and Honest Mistake

There are a number of defences that the law allows and one such defence is "honest and reasonable mistake". This mistake must be factual for it to hold in a court of law. In this defence, it can be ruled that you are not guilty if you honestly believed that you were driving under the set limit. The same applies if the court holds the opinion that your belief applies in all the circumstances pertaining to your charge.

Under What Circumstance Can This Defence Apply?

It is important to note that courts are normally very cautious when it comes to the "honest and reasonable mistake fact". This is to ensure that motorists do not get drunk with the opinion that they can easily say it was an honest mistake. There are several cases where this defence may apply. For instance, if you had been drinking the night before, then had a decent sleep and drove in the morning believing that all the alcohol in your blood was gone. However, the court must inquire on the number of hours that you slept, the number of drinks you had, and when the reading was done. This defence may also be plausible if you have reason to believe that your drink may have been spiked.

The facts surrounding each case are different, and you cannot fully rely on a previous ruling. You need a good defence lawyer such as Russo Lawyers to advice you if you can pursue this defence based on the circumstances surrounding your case.


21 January 2015

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