Avoiding a drink driving charge

As penalties for drink driving charges have increased, it is now possible to lose your driving licence for one offense on a double demerit day such as a public holiday. Even if you have not been caught on a double demerit penalty period, it's all too easy to lose your licence for a few very minor traffic offenses. That is why you should be very careful if you get a high breathalyser reading.

Here is what to do if you get pulled over and blow over the limit on a police breathalyser test.

Request a second reading from a second breathalyser

Breathalysers, like any measurement device, are not perfectly accurate. They can particularly become inaccurate if not regularly calibrated, generally every 6 months. You can request a second measurement if you feel this measurement is not accurate. Unfortunately if you refuse a breathlyser test you can be found guilty of a separate offense of refusing a breath test.

Request a blood test

If you feel that the results are inaccurate or you may be getting a false positive reading (for example, if you are on medication which can give you a false positive to alcohol tests) you can request a blood test. Breathalyser tests work by estimating blood alcohol on the basis of ethyl alcohol in the breath, which can be unduly influenced by mouth alcohol and other substances such acetones or ketones in the blood. Blood tests are more accurate than breathalysers in determining blood alcohol levels. Additionally, in the time it takes to get you to a police station and organise a blood test your blood alcohol level will have fallen further.

Remain polite throughout

Remember to remain polite through your interactions with the police. While the police are professional at all times, being polite can only help things go more smoothly -- which will get you back home sooner.

Ask to speak to a traffic lawyer

Speak to a traffic lawyer to get advice on how to proceed, and which documents you should sign. The traffic lawyer can also advise you on how to proceed when you come to court and help you to apply for a extraordinary licence if you are in danger of losing your licence. As the duty lawyer cannot represent you if choose to plead not guilty to the charge, it is important to contact an experienced traffic lawyer if you are pleading not guilty.