How to Plead for Leniency If Charged with Drink-Driving

When it comes to motoring offences, few are more serious than a drink-driving conviction. If you're found guilty of this type of crime anywhere in Australia you will likely face significant financial penalties, disqualification from driving, a criminal record and sometimes a spell "inside." Once the dust has settled, you will find it difficult to travel and may not be able to get to work and back very easily. If you've been charged in this situation, is there anything that you can do to try and avoid that dreaded conviction?

Claiming Leniency

Ordinarily, the court will frown on any type of drink-driving charge, but you may be able to take advantage of a section "10" claim for leniency. This clause within the legislation can sometimes allow a judge or magistrate to throw out the more serious charge, without registering a conviction. It's certainly not easy to pursue this option, but if you are successful you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction, penalties and loss of privileges.

How to Proceed

To stand any chance of qualifying under section 10, you need to show a significant amount of remorse for your actions. You'll also need to plead guilty to the charges as presented. Then, put forward a good case for retaining your licence to avoid significant hardships otherwise. You might be able to convince the court that you would indeed lose your job if you couldn't drive. Remember though, that you really need to have had a clean driving record in the past.

Next, gather together as many character references as you can from important or well-known people in the community. They will need to paint a picture that you are an otherwise upstanding individual, who will contribute a lot to society.

Offer to enroll in an intervention programme for traffic offenders and seek counselling about your drinking habits if necessary. Always present yourself impeccably when you go to court, with business attire and attention to grooming.

In all honesty, you will stand a better chance of being successful here if your blood alcohol reading was relatively low. Nevertheless, talk through all the circumstances with your legal representative first, to see whether this is a course of action for you.

Other Solutions

If together you believe that a section 10 approach may not be fruitful, you may have a couple of other options. These will involve technicalities in relation to the way that your intoxication was measured, or the amount of time that elapsed between the alleged event and the breath test, for example. Either way, talk through all potential solutions with your lawyer.