Guilty But Not Guilty: What Are You Pleading Guilty to and Why It Matters

A small guide to help you should you get arrested for drink driving here in Cairns.

Police can stop any vehicle to ask the driver to provide a blood alcohol reading. While they do pull over vehicles that are driving erratically, they don't actually need to suspect a driver is under the influence to stop you - sometimes these checks are carried out at random or at random breath test (RBT) stops.

If the breath test analysis shows you're over the legal limit (more than 0.05 BAC for open licence holders), the police will be able to detain you and take you to the station where they will conduct another breath analysis. Following this, you may be charged with a drink driving offence. Note: provisional, learner and probationary licence holders are not permitted to drive after drinking any alcohol, so they must have an absolute zero BAC limit.

If charged, you will more often than not be released from the police station on bail or be issued with a notice to appear and you will have to personally appear in court. You may also be issued with an immediate or temporary suspension from driving.

It is important that you seek legal advice immediately.

Commonwealth Offences Australia

What happens after you're charged?

In Queensland, you will be required to attend a Magistrates Court and the court will determine your sentence.

There are several factors that influence your penalty, including how much alcohol was in your blood at the time of the offence, your driving record, and whether you’re a first-time offender or have other drink driving convictions. This makes it vital that you call on qualified and experienced solicitors for help. They may be able to reduce your penalty and are your best bet in getting back on the road as fast as possible.

Getting advice

Drink driving is a complex area of law, so you should seek expert advice from a lawyer before you plead guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer will consider everything you’ve told them as well as the evidence disclosed by the prosecution and give you comprehensive advice, including whether or not you are eligible to make an application for a work licence. While it may seem like an easy thing to do – plead guilty or not guilty immediately – this isn’t the case as there are a number of things to consider first.

Should you wish to plead not guilty, your matter will proceed to trial, however your lawyer will advise you about your chances of success. This requires both knowledge of the law and procedure. Turning up in court and denying that you were drink driving will, most likely, end in a conviction.

If you have been charged with a drunk driving offence, contact our qualified solicitors at Mansia Bovey & Company Lawyers in Cairns for comprehensive advice.

Give us a call on 07 4035 8300 for a consultation, or call our 24/7 line at 0418 773 738 if you’re in need of urgent preliminary advice.