Drink Driving the offence of consuming intoxicating liquor while driving is located in s 49B of the Road Safety Act 1986 (RSA).
49B(1) A person must not consume intoxicating liquor while the person is driving a motor vehicle or is in charge of a motor vehicle.
Penalty: 10 penalty units.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a person is not taken to be in charge of a motor vehicle unless that person is a person to whom section 3AA(1)(a), (b) or (c) applies.
The provision sets out that you must not drink alcohol while driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle.
Drink Driving Penalty: Consume intoxicating liquor while driving
The penalty for consuming alcohol while driving is set out in s 49B. You may be liable to a fine of 10 penalty units if you are charged and found guilty of driving while consuming intoxicating liquor.
Drink Driving Licence suspension:
Unlike most drink driving provisions, licence suspension upon a charge and finding of guilt for drinking intoxicating liquor while driving is not mandatory. A Magistrate may suspend your licence and disqualify you from driving at their discretion if they believe the circumstances warrant such a penalty (see s 50).
Generally, if you have been charged with consuming intoxicating liquor while driving, there is also a chance you will be charged with one of the other drink driving offences. This applies to anyone driving on a restricted licence, such as a learner or probationary driver, or professional driver who must drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.00. Others driving on a full licence are likely to be charged with a drink driving offence if their BAC exceeds the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA).
The PCA for those on a full licence is usually 0.05 BAC (unless you are on a restricted licence, such as driving during a period where your car must be fitted with an interlock device). If you exceed the PCA, you may be charged with:
- DUI (Driving whilst under the influence of intoxicating liquor);
- Exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol while driving; or
- Within 3 hours of driving, exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol after a breath test or blood analysis.
You may also be charged with consuming intoxicating liquor whilst driving if you were drinking at the time you were stopped by police.
Drink Driving Defence Elements:
In order to show that you were drinking intoxicating liquor while driving, the police would need to show that you were driving or in charge of a motor vehicle at the time you were consuming intoxicating liquor. The police may either see you drinking while driving, or stop you and determine that you were drinking while driving if you have an open bottle in your car.
An indication that you were drinking while driving is a positive reading after a preliminary breath test. The police must allow you 15 minutes from the time of your last drink before they conduct an initial or subsequent preliminary breath test. This allows time for any residual alcohol to leave your mouth and gives an accurate reading. If you still register above the PCA, you may be charged with a drink driving offence as well as with consuming intoxicating liquor while driving as a stand alone offence.
Charged With Drink Driving – What you should do:
If you have been charged with consuming intoxicating liquor while driving, you may be issued with a fine by the police. If you have also been charged for one of the above mentioned offences, you may be summonsed to appear in court to answer your charge. You will face further fines and mandatory licence loss.
If you have been charged with consuming intoxicating liquor while driving, and/or another drink driving charge, you should seriously consider talking to a specialist traffic lawyer. Particularly if you have been charged with another drink driving offence, or you have had drink driving offences in the past, you should seek advice from a criminal lawyer. They will be able to give you detailed legal options, and represent you at court if you are required to appear to answer for your charges. Call our office for an appointment 03 8644 7322