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A repeat drink driver was discovered slumped over in her car after returning from a bottle shop with a bottle of vodka in her hand in the middle of the day.

When tested, she returned a blood alcohol reading that exceeded six times the state legal limit.

Catherine Butcher’s case came before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday where police revealed that Catherine Challie Butcher, aged 49, was being treated by paramedics when they were called to a suspected drunk-driver occurrence.

The court was also told that Butcher failed three attempts at providing a breath specimen and police had to use force to get her out of her car. Once her breath had been tested, the blood alcohol reading (BAC) amounted to 0.315%.

It was revealed that Butcher was convicted of drink driving in 2012. She was then less than two times over the legal limit. The solicitor representing Butcher said that she had developed a drinking problem since her marriage broke down in 2007.

She was undergoing treatment for her addiction, including voluntarily admitting herself into hospital as well as attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. Finally, Butcher avoided a prison sentence and was fined $1,800, as well as receiving a driving disqualification for 18 months.

Drinking and driving in Queensland is not taken lightly by the courts, and those caught can expect heavy penalties, prison sentences and driver disqualification for many years. If you have been caught with a high BAC reading and face a drink driving conviction, you should ensure that you contact an experienced Queensland drink driving solicitor to represent you in court.

As with the case of Catherine Butcher had she not had a solicitor to fight on her behalf, she might have found herself serving a prison term, particularly as she was a repeat offender. This may not have been justified, as her family circumstances had to lead her to drink, and it was not necessarily a mindless act that resulted in her arrest that day.

In Queensland, the drink driving laws and penalties are tough, and any driver who is caught with a blood alcohol concentration, which exceeds 0.150% could face a maximum of a lifetime of disqualification from driving.

The bare minimum is six months. The higher the BAC, the longer is the period of disqualification of a driver’s licence.  A 1st-time offender who fails to provide a breath specimen could also lose their licence for the rest of their life but will be disqualified for at least six months.

Under s 9 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act 1999 (NSW) (the Act), it is an offence for individuals with a prescribed blood alcohol concentration to: drive; attempt to drive; or occupy the seat next to the holder of a learner licence who is driving a vehicle.2 The Act identifies four categories of PCA offences:3

1. special range PCA applies to special category drivers4 with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.02 and 0.049 g/100 mL

2. low range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.079 g/100 mL

3. mid range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.08 and 0.149 g/100 mL

4. high range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.15 g/100 mL

A Drink Driving or DUI offender who repeats the action, as Catherine Butcher did, could similarly face a driver’s licence disqualification which could be for life. This would depend on previous charges, as well as the BAC in every case.

Butcher did not receive the maximum penalties, and she has only been disqualified from driving for 18 months. This is because she was represented by an experienced driving under the influence (DUI) solicitor who knows how important it is to put up a strong defence when in front of the prosecution in a court of law.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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