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A low blood alcohol level can result in significant penalties

Even if you do not feel drunk or even slightly under the influence of alcohol, you might find yourself charged with drink driving. The recent conviction of Dylan Roos, son of AFL star Paul Roos, learned that lesson the hard way.

Facts of the case

News reports state that Dylan Roos had five 300 ml glasses of “mixed spirits” over a period of 4 hours. According to government websites, consuming that amount of alcohol over 4 hours will likely lead to a blood alcohol content that exceeds 0.05.

The difficulty of estimating your own blood alcohol content is illustrated by Roos’ arrest and conviction. His test result was 0.068. If the drinks were stronger than average or if he consumed two of the drinks in the final hour rather than spacing them out evenly over a 4 hour period, the 0.068 test result can be easily explained. Other factors that affect blood alcohol content are a person’s weight and how much food was in the person’s stomach.

Many people are not noticeably affected by alcohol until they reach 0.08 and experienced drinkers may need to reach 0.10 or more before alcohol has a substantial effect. Police say they suspected Roos had been drinking because his movement was “slightly sluggish” and “at times” he was “swaying on his feet.” There is no suggestion that his ability to drive safely was significantly impaired.

Drink driving law in NSW

Any person who drives with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.05 while driving violates the law in NSW. The law does not require proof of impairment of the ability to drive safely.

According to the news story, Roos had a provisional licence. If that is true, he was in violation of the law for having any amount of alcohol in his blood while driving.

A blood alcohol content of less than 0.08 is considered a “low-range” offence in NSW. That offence carries a maximum fine of $1,100. It generally carries a 6 month licence disqualification although the court has the authority to lower the disqualification to 3 months. Most magistrates follow the 6 month guideline in most cases.

The penalty

The low-range penalties are the same for provisional and for full licence holders. Dylan Roos received the expected 6 month disqualification. He was also fined $500.

In some cases it is possible to avoid a conviction, either by defending against the charge or by persuading the court not to impose a conviction. If you are charged with drink driving, you should consult with a lawyer to determine whether you have a defence or might be afforded leniency.

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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