Drink driving defences

Drink driving defences

There are a number of possible defences to drink driving charges. We are happy to chat with you about which might apply to your case.

Home safe rule

The police cannot require you to undergo a breath test in your home. If the police break this rule they may not be allowed to use the reading as evidence in court.

The meaning of legal ‘home’ is a bit complex. So, if you have been breath tested while on your property, you should seek legal advice.

Honest and Reasonable Mistake

Many people have no idea that they are over the BAC limit. In some cases this can be a defence.

You could have a defence to your drink driving charge if you:

  • honestly believed you were below the BAC limit; and
  • your belief was reasonable.

This is a tricky defence to run. Even though your belief may have been honest, it’s not easy to satisfy a magistrate that it was reasonable.

The reading is wrong

The BAC reading on your certificate is from the time of analysis, not the time of driving. It is likely that your reading changed in the intervening period.

Sometimes, a person’s BAC increases between the time they’re driving and the time of the breath analysis. This is particularly common if your last drink was shortly before you got in the car.

We work with pharmacologists to obtain expert scientific evidence of what your BAC reading would have been at the time of driving. Sometimes the projected reading would put the person into a lower drink driving category, or even completely under the 0.05 BAC limit.

In those cases we can use the expert report to negotiate with police to amend or withdraw the charges.

Police didn’t follow proper testing procedure

There are strict rules about when and how the police can perform a breath test. For example they:

  • can’t make you undergo a breath analysis more than 2 hours after driving
  • can only make you go to the police station or ‘booze bus’ for more detailed breath analysis if you have gone over on the roadside breath test, or failed/refused to do it
  • are required to provide you with paperwork following a breath analysis.

If the Police don’t follow proper procedure, they may not be able to use the reading as evidence in Court.