NSW PCA Medium Range Drink Driving Charge - Next Step?

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Dianne X

25 April 2014
Hi. I need some help for a 46 year old Australian male friend.
"I unfortunately have made a serious & regrettable judgement error on Easter weekend & was pulled over & charged with DUI. Medium range drink driving .094, drivers licence suspended immediately. I have a court date of 5 May14 & no money to engage a solicitor.

I have contacted Legal Aid & have an appointment 1May14. I need to know what to do next & where to turn basically as I'm concerned the 1st May is too far away for gaining advice. I have had 5 other DUI's in the past but over 12 years ago and thought I had turned a corner. I had to resign from my job last week as it entails using a car extensively on a daily basis. My partner is supporting us at the moment & we are in a financial mess basically.

I have let everyone & myself down and am stressed & very concerned about possible jail time, the amount of the fine & the fact I have now lost my job & the absolute privilege of holding a drivers licence. I'm hoping you can assist by guiding me to the next step. Thank you in advance..."

Amanda E

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
Hi Dianne

Its great that your friend has an appointment with a Legal Aid lawyer next week.

To help in the meantime:
1. He should go through the steps in this Legal Aid NSW publication “Drink driving charges and you”.

The steps include him preparing a short letter in his own words to give to the Magistrate, or written notes addressing/explaining:
  1. Whether he believed he was over the limit when he drove;
  2. Any particular reason as to why he chose to drive;
  3. Whether he were detected by Random Breath Test or as a result of erratic or dangerous driving;
  4. The length of the journey/intended journey;
  5. The number of people put at risk by the driving (passengers, members of the public etc)
  6. Any collision that occurred;
  7. Any significant effect that licence disqualification may have on him, his employment or other people who rely on him (family, etc);
  8. The absence of viable alternative transport;
  9. How long he has held a licence and what his overall traffic record is like;
  10. His likelihood of reoffending.
  11. Any special reason why he was driving;
  12. Why he was driving after consuming alcohol;
  13. In his own words, why he can give an assurance that he will not drink and drive in future;
  14. Any particular need he has for a licence eg. In his work or for personal reasons;
  15. If he needs a driver’s licence for work, he needs a letter from his employer to say what will happen to his job if he is disqualified from driving for a long time (although I understand that he resigned because he could no longer drive, so maybe a letter to that effect that would show the negative impact his mistake has already had on him);
  16. What his weekly income is and expenses he has to pay (which can assist the court in calculating any fine to be imposed).

2. Ask a couple of people for good character references (I imagine you might be willing to provide one for him?)
There is a “Character references” page on the Legal Aid NSW site and there is a previous LawAnswers post on Good Tips for Writing a Character Reference for Court.

All the best.
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Dianne X

25 April 2014
Many thanks for your reply Amanda....greatly appreciated! Will pass all this info on tomorrow.
Enjoy your Sunday.... :)