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Drink Driving Convictions: The Need to Know

03 November, 2021

Drink driving is considered a criminal offense in New Zealand but is also one of the most committed offenses. Every year, many drivers are randomly stopped by police for a road inspection or breath test. As a result. A lot are sent to court for drink driving convictions.  

When you are drink driving, your senses are impaired, and you lose total control of your vehicle. You put yourself and others at risk. In New Zealand, legal limits allow for a driver to drive given a limited amount of alcohol intake.  Suppose you are caught drink driving, depending on how over you are beyond the legal limits. In that case, your penalties could be a fine and infringement notice which does not hold a criminal record to a more serious drink driving convictions with a criminal record.  

There are different levels of penalties correlated to the weight of drink driving offenses committed. Police will measure your breath alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the amount of alcohol in your blood. If your breath test measure is high, police will ask you to take a blood or urine test to get a more accurate reading. If you are under twenty years old, the alcohol limit is zero. You could be fined and given demerit points if your alcohol level is up to 150 mg per litre of breath or 30 mg per 100 ml of blood. A higher BAC reading could lead you to disqualification from driving and imprisonment on top of fines and demerit points. For adults twenty years or over, the drink driving convictions will weigh in more heavily.  

Drink driving convictions

The court-imposed penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol range from three months imprisonment, $4,500 fine, driver’s license suspension of six months for the first and second offense, to two years in jail, $6,000 fine, and driver’s license suspension of one year or more. The court may also impose an alcohol interlock disqualification for a certain period if you drive with a BAC of more 800mg per litre of breath or 160 mg per 100 ml of blood. If it led to injury or loss of life, your drink driving convictions could be facing up to ten years in jail, a $20,000 fine, and more than one-year of disqualification from driving.  

If you somehow found yourself in trouble with a drink driving case, you should know the available options for you. Depending on the level of intoxication and the number of times the same offense has been committed, penalties can include paying an infringement fee, doing community work, community or home detention, mandatory disqualification from driving, and in some cases, confiscation of your vehicle. If you have historic drink driving convictions, you may be required to complete counseling where alcohol addiction is apparent. A good lawyer can also help you determine the best recourse. Alternatively, you can get your own BACtrack breathalyser with police-grade accuracy to measure your BAC yourself.

 

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