Appearing in court is daunting, to say the least. You might be unfamiliar with court processes, how to address the court, what to say and when to say it. This will undoubtedly cause you to approach this day with much trepidation.
It is in your best interest to contact a drink driving lawyer to have peace of mind.
What To Expect
If your court date is in the future, you can get legal advice from a drink driving lawyer beforehand. You can also look up information on this subject online.
Your guilt is dependent on the facts and your situation. Find out what the police officer stated under ‘Details of the Charge’ in your charge sheet. A charge sheet is a document used and issued by police for criminal offences, and the magistrate will look at this document in court.
Two Usual Charges:
- You gave a blood or breath sample over the allowed limit within three hours of driving. (You did not pass a blood or breath test).
- You were driving or in control of a vehicle whilst your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeded the limit.
You can tell the magistrate that you will plead guilty to one charge, and the police will remove the other charge.
The prosecution must prove that you were driving and that your BAC was over the prescribed amount.
The police are free to use the results from the breath test only if the correct process is followed. To argue this, you can say that the testing machine used was faulty or not used the right way.
Different Pleas That You Can Make in Court
Before you go to court, you need to understand how you can plead and the consequences of these pleas.
If you know that you committed this offence, let the court know you are guilty. At the hearing, the prosecutor will read the statement of alleged fact. This document briefly describes what happened during the offence. You will be found guilty, and the magistrate will give you an appropriate punishment.
If you plead guilty, it shows the magistrate that you are cooperating, and you could potentially be given a lighter punishment.
Plead Not Guilty
You might believe that you did not commit an offence, or disagree with the contents of the statement of alleged facts. In this case, let the prosecutor know beforehand that you want to plead not guilty.
They will have a summary case conference with you before the court case. This conference is between the accused, their drink driving lawyer, and the prosecutor. It takes place privately, and the merits of the case are deliberated on.
If you still wish to plead not guilty after this conference, let the magistrate know. The magistrate will move your case to another day (adjourn the hearing).
You will return to court for a contested hearing. At the hearing, you must have a defence. Stating that you were unaware you were committing an offence is a poor excuse.
If you choose to plead not guilty, make sure that you contact drink driving lawyers in Melbourne before the contested hearing.
Drink Driving Lawyers in Melbourne
Do not make the mistake of dismissing this offence as trivial. A drink driving offence carries many severe punishments. You could be fined, lose your licence, and have the infringement recorded on your driving record. You could also potentially have a blemish on your criminal record, and so on.
So it’s important that you get expert legal advice to ensure that you get the best possible outcome.