Ainsley Law

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Have you been charged with drink driving? Going to court for DUI or PCA?

Ainsley Law is Sydney’s only law firm that exclusively practices traffic law. This means everything we do is specifically tailored to getting you through court and back on the road as soon as possible.

With over a decade in the field and the experience of an ex-RMS prosecutor on the team you’re in safe hands with Ainsley Law. We have a proven track record of satisfied clients and great court results, and we’re ready to help you.

Drink Driving

What can you expect from our drink driving lawyers?

At Ainsley Law we have two goals:

  1. Achieving excellent results in court, and
  2. Taking out as much of the stress and anxiety of the process as possible.

We want you to feel comfortable, informed and in control throughout your case.

The Ainsley Law Difference

  • Our lawyers prioritise giving you understanding, patience and time – We believe that getting the best results at court comes from knowing our clients well. We take the time to get to know you, understand your situation and what’s important to you. We also believe this is a two-way street. We take the time to make sure you understand each step in the process and to answer any questions you have.
  • You can speak to a lawyer straight away – from your first call you will be in touch with an experienced drink driving lawyer in Sydney, so you don’t need to wait to get answers.
  • We offer fixed fees – you will know exactly how much your case will cost.
  • Your lawyer will explain all your options and help you to make decisions about your case. We will discuss the likely outcomes and what we can do to improve them.
  • Your lawyer will prepare a personalised plan for your case, based on what’s most important to you. We will guide you through the preparation of the case, ensuring that you achieve the best results.
  • Your lawyer will present the case on your behalf at court, doing all of the speaking for you and taking out a lot of the stress of your court appearance.

Drinking Driving Law FAQs

What happens if you plead guilty to drink driving?

If you plead guilty to a drink driving offence then the Magistrate will decide what penalty to impose.

The penalty depends on the category of your offence (Low Range, Mid Range, High Range) and whether the offence is a ‘first’ or ‘second and subsequent’ offence (i.e. do you have another conviction in the past 5 years).

Even if you plead guilty, the Magistrate can agree to waive the conviction and penalty. This is often called a ‘section 10’ or ‘conditional release order’.

If the Magistrate convicts you of the offence, then you will be disqualified from driving. In most cases you will also receive a fine.

In more serious cases the Magistrate can impose harsher penalties, including good behaviour bonds, community service, home detention, and even gaol time.

Penalties First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $5500 $11,000
Maximum prison term 2 years 2 years
Minimum disqualification 18 months 3 years
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 4 years 6 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

There are always ways to minimise the penalty you will receive for your charge. Carefully preparing your case and presenting good evidence and compelling arguments usually results in a better outcome.

Will I go to gaol for my drink driving charge?

Drivers can be sent to gaol for drink driving.

Thankfully, this is not common for those going to court for the first time.

Gaol sentences for drink driving are usually only imposed where the offence is very serious (for example the driver had a very high reading or crashed their car) or if the driver has record of serious offences.

Even if you fall into one of these categories, it is often possible to argue for an alternative to gaol- but you must be well prepared for your sentence hearing.

If you are concerned that you could be facing a prison sentence for your drink driving case it’s important to contact a lawyer for help.

Is a drink driving offence a criminal record?

Yes, drink driving offences are criminal matters. If you are convicted for a drink driving offence, then you will have a criminal record.

If you are guilty of drink driving the only way to avoid a criminal record is to receive a conditional release order (often called a ‘section 10’). This is an order where the magistrate finds you guilty but agrees not to record a conviction.

Can I get a section 10 or conditional release order?

It is possible for a drink driving charge to be dismissed under section 10.

Achieving a section 10 is the only way to avoid a conviction, a criminal record or licence disqualification if you are guilty of drink driving.

A section 10 is an order where the magistrate finds you guilty of the offence but releases you without a criminal conviction or further punishment. Any operating police licence suspension is also lifted.

If the magistrate dismisses your matter under section 10 you may be required to enter into a conditional release order. This is a good behaviour bond, or promise to the Court, that you will not commit any further offences for a period of time.

There is a misconception that it is easy to get a section 10 for a drink driving charge. Unfortunately this is not true. Magistrates usually only give section 10s for drink driving in unusual cases where there are compelling circumstances.

To get a section 10 for a drink driving charge there needs to be a very good reason why leniency is appropriate in your case. Relevant factors include:

  • You have an unusual explanation for why you were drink driving
  • A conviction and penalties would have an unusually harsh impact on you
  • You have an exceptionally good traffic record
  • You are of particularly good character and contribute to the community
  • You have a particular need for your licence

Read on for more information about section 10

For an honest assessment of your chances of receiving a section 10 contact us.

Can you get a drink driving ban/disqualification reduced?

With careful preparation and presentation of your case, it is possible to reduce the disqualification period that might otherwise be imposed.

The law specifies a disqualification period for each category of drink driving, but the court is able to lower your time off the road if convinced that it is appropriate.

In the right cases it is even possible to avoid a disqualification entirely if the magistrate agrees to grant a section 10/conditional release order.

What should I do to prepare for court?

  • Complete a Traffic Offender’s Program and write a reflection for the court about what you learned
  • Collect character references from people who know you well
  • Gather evidence of your need for a licence for work, etc
  • If there is anything else important about your case gather evidence to prove it, e.g. medical records, if you drove due to urgent circumstances documents to show why, proof of volunteer work you perform etc

Can I get off a drink driving charge?

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

  • There is a problem with the blood alcohol reading
  • You have a medical condition that effected your reading
  • You weren’t actually driving a vehicle
  • You made it home safely

To discuss if you might be able to defend your charge, call us today.

Can I get my licence back pending Court?

Usually the police suspend a driver’s licence immediately when they are charged with drink driving.

While it is possible to appeal against the immediate police suspension, it is unfortunately very difficult to get your licence back pending our court date.

You can read more about appealing the immediate police suspension [here].

If you need your driver’s licence, please contact us for advice about whether you may qualify to have your licence returned to you.

Our Team

Sarah Marinovic


Janelle Whale


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