Drink drive
Know the law

Traffic Offences - Drinking and driving

Friday, June 26, 2009 Neelam McDonald
Please keep it in mind that there are a number of offences under Land Transport Act (LTA) that carry a mandatory sentence of disqualification. Repeat offenders may also be liable to have their vehicles confiscated by the court.

I have some clients who ask advice on drinking and driving. My advice is to never drink alcohol and then drive. Suppose you are attend a social occasion;  if you drink then you should have a sober driver to take you home. If a sober driver is not available, please get a taxi. It will save you from a lot of agony later on.

Section 56(1) LTA makes it an offence for a person to drive whilst the proportion of alcohol on his or her breath exceeds 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Section 56(2) LTA makes it an offence for a person to drive whilst the proportion of alcohol in his or her blood exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

A person convicted for a first and second time is liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 3 months or a fine of $4,500. A mandatory minimum disqualification is for six months. That means you will lose your licence for a minimum of six months.

A person charged for a third or subsequent time with excess alcohol (over the limit) faces very serious consequences and should have a lawyer to represent them.


The law relating to alcohol driving offences is very specific.

In order to obtain a conviction the prosecution, that is the police, have to follow certain procedures.

The police must, if you cannot afford a lawyer, provide you with a list of lawyers who can tell you of your rights and advise you.

If the police fail to follow the procedures listed in the Land Transport  Act then you may have what is known in law as a ‘technical defence’. Please consult a lawyer so he or she can check whether the police have followed the procedure correctly.

If you do lose your licence you may be eligible to apply for a “Limited Licence”. Some people call this a work licence. I will be writing about this in the next addition of the Weekender.
The information contained in this article or response is intended to
provide general information. The contents do not constitute legal
advice and should not be relied on as such. Readers should seek
independent legal advice in particular matters.