e recently represented a client in the Hunter Region for a mid-range drink drive charge and were successful in getting his charges dismissed under a section 10. However, this was a very very rare occasion with some Courts and Solicitors having not seen a section 10 mid range DUI outcome for years.
So why is that the case?
Almost every Drink drive client we represent ask us if they will get / can get a section 10. Our answer (and that of every other drink drive Lawyer in Sydney) is usually the same and broken up into two parts.
The aim of section 10
A section 10 is a widely used area of the law that is very misunderstood by many. A section 10 is aimed at assisting people who end up before the courts with offences of a trivial nature. A great example of a case we had that was of a trivial nature was recent client who went through a red light – but a pedestrian was standing in the middle of the road distracting him. Whilst technically our client committed the red light offence, it was deemed trivial by the court and our client obtained a section 10.
Applying a section 10 to drink driving
Drink driving no matter what range you blow is a very serious offence and almost every week we hear about cases all around Australia (and the world) of people who die as a result of drink driving. Society has come a long way in reducing drink driving rates . Take for example in the early 1980’s almost 400 people a year died as a result of alcohol related driving. Fast forward to 2017 and the rate is more like 60 people a year. However, drink driving is considered very serious by the courts (and society to) and the likelihood of receiving a section 10 for mid-range DUI is extremely unlikely and for low-range likely but becoming less and less likely. Your Lawyer will in most circumstances ask the Court to consider a section 10 however there is never any guarantee and it might not even be appropriate to ask for in your case. Some Magistrates spend all day hearing drink drive cases and if your Lawyer asks them for an unreasonable request – it is not helpful to your case.
Take for example another recent client of ours who had a 30 year clean driving record, completed a traffic offenders program and had a number of excellent references. We asked the Court to consider a section 10 however despite blowing low-range, our client did not receive a section 10 and instead received the minimum disqualification period.
Whilst our mid-range client was a very lucky man in obtaining a section 10 for his charges, he certainly will not be so lucky should he end up in court again.
Have you or someone you know been charged with drink driving?
With 27+ years experience as a DUI Lawyer appearing in courts all over Sydney and New South Wales – give me a call on 02 8052 3322 to discuss minimising the damage to your licence.
James Maspero – Lawyer and Senior Partner at Maspero Legal.