Recently, a 19 year old man drank three (3) beers one evening, drove home a few hours later and was pulled over by the police. When breathalysed he was found to be slightly over the drink driving limit and was charged with a drink driving offence. He pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced but kept his driving license, and kept his clean criminal record. How?
If you have looked up the penalties for a drink driving conviction, you may come across the expression “getting a Section 10”. This refers to Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999, which allows a Court that finds you guilty of an offence to dismiss that charge without recording a conviction. In the case of a drink driving offence, this means no loss of your driver’s license, no other penalty and no criminal record.
In deciding whether “a Section 10” is appropriate, the court may consider a wide range of factors. If you are a first-time offender, there is every chance that the court will consider offering you a second chance. Further, the court may consider your age or the nature and circumstances surrounding the offence. In fact, the court must consider any relevant matter.
‘A Section 10’ is by no means guaranteed – it requires well prepared and appropriate submissions to the court. Knowledge of court procedure and the attitudes of individual Magistrates are also helpful. If you are coming up for sentencing for a drink driving offence that you wish to keep off your record, we can provide an honest opinion on your chances and may be able to achieve that result for you.