What You Should Know About Dealing With Your First DUI

As of 20 May 2019, strict new drunk-driving laws apply to NSW, under which anyone who drives with a blood-alcohol content exceeding the limit will have their license suspended. 

The new regulation states that any driver, whether a low-range or a first-time DUI offender, has to pay a fine of $561. Additionally, authorities will suspend their license for three months.  

A blood-alcohol content limit of 0.02 applies to people driving public vehicles, including taxis and buses. The limit is the same for those driving heavy and dangerous goods vehicles. For P-Plate drivers and learners, the blood-alcohol content should be zero.

The new penalty is one in a series of measures being adopted as part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, which aims to discourage alcohol-driving incidents further. By 2021, the Road Safety Plan targets a reduction of over 30% in the number of road fatalities.

“This reform makes it clear if you break the law, you will pay the price. We are taking a zero-tolerance approach to drinking and drug driving,” Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance said while announcing the new regulation.

What You Should Do

You probably have many questions in your mind, such as how to fight DUI charges, reduce your sentence, or get the driving license back, etc. Although getting booked for DUI might seem overwhelming, however, you do not have to fight the battle alone. An experienced traffic lawyer can get you out of the mess. That said, we’ve put together this resource to help you tackle your first DUI offense. 

Suspension of License after First DUI Offence

People use their cars for various activities, including going to work, picking and dropping off kids at the school, or visiting a hospital. For commercial drivers, it is a question of their livelihood. In short, getting the license suspended can push day-to-day life off the track.

After the implementation of the new rule, even for a first time DUI offense, you will lose your driver’s license automatically. Concerned authorities will suspend your license for 90 days, but depending on the seriousness of the case, the suspension of the license can be longer.

What can you do? Well, you can appeal for a restricted license, which will allow you to use your car but subject to certain conditions. If you default the court-mandated order, you might have to face imprisonment.  

Possible Imprisonment for a First-Time DUI Offence

Mostly, Australian courts take DUI offenses very seriously and generally have a ‘no-nonsense’ approach to them. But for first-time offenders, punishments such as a fine, a disqualification of drivers license, and sometimes a good behavior bond are usually meted out. Unless there are some severely aggravating features involved, courts will generally issue such non-custodial types of penalties. 

Imprisonments can happen if you’re a repeat offender or have caused a serious physical injury to another while driving in an intoxicated state. In cases of first-time DUI offenses, a low blood-alcohol content might save you from possible jail time if you otherwise have a clean track record. 

First-Time DUI Offence Can Jack up Your Car Insurance Rate

Most people often overlook this matter. However, you must keep in mind that your first DUI offense can lead to a hike in the insurance premium rate for your car.

Insurance carriers, for DUI offenses, increase car insurance rates because, for them, such offenders are a high-risk profile. If you are a serial DUI offender, the insurance company can also cancel your insurance policy and blacklist you. 

From a $561 fine to license reinstatement fees, and court costs, DUI convictions can prove to be a costly affair for an average person. Additionally, there will be a suspension of your license, and you cannot completely rule out the chances of imprisonment, either. 

All of this will inevitably affect your life negatively. Therefore, it is a wise decision to visit a specialist DUI lawyer who can defend the charges leveled against you in the court of law.  

Preferably, consider seeking legal advice from a traffic law firm that has a team of ex-police prosecutors who have a clear idea about what exactly it takes to reduce fines or avoid imprisonment.

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