Drink Driving: Don’t start your New Year with a Bang

By Naomi Hill :: Websters Lawyers

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Adelaide is just the best during summer. Perfect days spent basking on pristine beaches, balmy nights at the local pub, long lunches with your girlfriends. When everyone’s on holiday, we all relax and enjoy ourselves.

But the summer holidays can also be a trap for those who like a drink or three. Yep, it may be the season to get sand between your toes, but if you’re indulging in a glass of savvy blanc while you’re doing it, you may be asking for trouble.

Here’s some advice for avoiding drink driving charges this summer.

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Just don’t

It’s one thing to love a drink, and quite another to get behind a wheel of a car with alcohol in your system. Our best advice? If you’re drinking, just don’t drive. Full stop. Call a taxi or Dial a Driver or get a friend to be designated driver for the evening.

But if you’re thinking of having just one or two drinks before you drive home, there are a few things you should know.

Mixing alcohol with drugs

Combining drugs and alcohol can have some dramatic effects.

First, it’s illegal to have illicit drugs in your system while driving. Mixing them with alcohol can really escalate your level of impairment.

You should also be aware of any prescription drugs that you are taking and how alcohol may interact with them. For example, mixing some drugs with alcohol can cause drowsiness. So even if you only have one drink, this may be enough to render you unfit to drive.

If your driving is impaired because of drugs in your system, you may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), which carries more severe penalties than drink driving offences.

Food

When it comes to alcohol consumption, one of the biggest misconceptions is that having food in your stomach will reduce the amount of alcohol in your system.

It won’t.

Eating food may change the way that you feel after a drink, but it will not reduce the concentration of alcohol in your blood.

It’s also really important to understand that everyone metabolises and eliminates alcohol differently. While your friend may feel and seem fine after three standard drinks, she may be still over the legal driving limit of 0.05. You on the other hand may feel intoxicated after just two drinks.

If you drive, you may be at risk of a drink driving or DUI charge if you are too impaired to exercise effective control of your vehicle.

Standard drinks

When you’re drinking alcohol, you need to be aware of standard drink sizes. Glasses of wine vary in size, which can be a trap. Be careful of the larger glasses and if in doubt, stop drinking, don’t start in the first place, or make sure you have alternative transport to get home.

Also be aware that individual-serve bottles of beer, coolers and other drinks may be larger than a standard serve. Check the label to make sure you know what you’re consuming.

Don’t allow your glass to be refilled part-way through a drink. Measuring your drink and consuming it without a top-up is the easiest way to keep track of your alcohol consumption.

The morning after

It’s really important to be aware that you may still be over the limit many hours after consuming alcohol, or even the next day. Avoid driving the next day if you’ve had a big night.

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How a lawyer can help

If you return a breathalyser result that is over the legal limit, police can issue you with a Notice of Instant Loss of Licence (ILOL) which takes effect immediately. In other words, you lose your licence on the spot. If this happens, you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer as soon as possible to get advice about your rights and whether you can appeal the ILOL.

A traffic lawyer will understand all of the relevant laws and the technical aspects of testing systems. If necessary, they will also be able to present evidence to the Court about how the penalties will affect you, their impact on your family and employment, as well as evidence of your good character. This is an essential step in trying to reduce the penalty.

It’s important to understand that drink driving charges attract demerit points. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of the offence, the government records the points against your licence. This may result in further a disqualification period over and above the court-imposed disqualification.

Penalties for drink driving or DUI can include licence disqualification, fines and even imprisonment. If you caused an accident or injury to someone else, the penalties will be more severe.

All of this means that it’s really important that you seek legal advice before you decide what to do about your drink driving or DUI charge. If you are unsure whether you wish to plead guilty or challenge the drink driving offence, seeking legal advice will ensure that you understand the penalties and court process.

Websters Lawyers has an outstanding team of criminal and traffic lawyers who have vast experience in dealing with these cases. Contact us today for a free first consultation and hopefully you’ll avoid starting your New Year with a drink driving bang.

This article provides general information only. For advice specific to your needs, you should consult a lawyer.

Hayley Pearson

Hayley Pearson

Co-Creator and Writer for Adelady, she still gets goosebumps that she’s combined her creative passion with sharing the best of her stunning home state.

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