Mr J Singh from Pukekohe writes to say that last Saturday he was stopped at a police ckeck-point and breath tested. He refused the offer of legal advice at the time. His evidential breath test returned a reading of 589mcg/l.

He lives with his wife and two children. He has full time employment. Mr Singh further advises that he has been convicted of a drink drive offence in May 2006. He wants advice because he has to appear in the District Court in two weeks time.

Looking at the facts I can see that this is his second offence. The maximum penalty for this second offence is imprisonment for three months or a fine of $4,500, as well as a mandatory minimum disqualification for six months or more.

Mr Singh will definitely be disqualified for six months or more. He will be fined. When deciding about the fine the court will consider his family, his work and his financial situation.

Indefinite disqualification

If Mr Singh’s previous offence within the past five years involved:
•    a breath level higher than 1000 micrograms or
•    a blood level higher than 200 milligrams or
•    an offence against either s59 or s60 of the Land Transport Act 1998 (which relates to failing to remain or accompany or to permit a blood specimen to be taken),
then in this instance the court must make an order for indefinite disqualification until the Director removes the disqualification under s100.

The director cannot remove the indefinite disqualification for a minimum of one year and one day and until such time as the disqualified person has completed the necessary steps including attendance at an assessment centre.

Can Mr Singh’s car be confiscated?

In this case the court must order that his motor vehicle be confiscated. In deciding whether to make an order under this section of the Act, the court must have regard to any undue hardship that making of the order would cause in relation to his trade, business, occupation or employment: any undue hardship on any other person who would otherwise have the use or benefit of the motor vehicle. There is a possibility that his car is confiscated. If you find yourself in a similar situation as Mr Singh and you are the owner of the car involved then you should consult your lawyer.

Can Mr Singh be eligible for a work/limited license?

No. Mr Singh will not be eligible for a work/limited License because of the five year rule. His second offence has taken place within five years since his first offence.

My advice for anyone in a similar position is to consult a lawyer. The lawyer then can check for any possible defences.
None of the above is purported to be professional advice and must not to be taken to be so. Readers are advised to consult lawyers for specilist advice pertaining to their specific cases.