Do I need a lawyer if I have been charged with drink driving in NSW or the ACT

The recent ACT Supreme Court case of Peadon v Calgaro highlights the tough approach Magistrates are taking towards drink drivers.


The Defendant had three previous drink-driving convictions when he was caught driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.157, over 3 times the legal limit. The Defendant was self represented and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 months imprisonment full-time and disqualified from holding a licence for 5 years.


The Defendant obtained legal representation and successfully appealed the sentence to the Supreme Court, who said that imprisonment should be the last resort and an intermediate sentence should be considered first. His Honour instead imposed a good behaviour order of 2 years, including community service.


Recent ACT Legislative changes mean that police can issue an on-the-spot licence suspension for drivers caught with a blood alcohol reading over 0.05g their normal limit.

Applications for restricted licences (eg a licence to drive for exceptional work or family purposes between certain times) are also only available to first time offenders but only if caught in the ACT for holders of an ACT licence.

If you have been charged with drink driving, the consequences can be immediate and are serious. elringtons can give advise you in relation to entering a plea and can represent you in court.

For information contact:

Matthew Bridger | e: | p: 02 6206 1300

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