22 Oct High Court Ruling in Drink Driving Case
The High Court of Australia, the highest court in the country, has recently overturned the South Australian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the dismissal of a drink driving charge in the Adelaide Magistrates’ Court.
A man contested a drink driving charge on the basis that a blood test was not properly carried out. The man had given a blood alcohol reading of 0.155 via a breath analysis and requested a blood test to confirm the reading. The doctor was unable to obtain enough blood for the sample so the blood test was not completed. The man’s defence lawyers argued that he was denied the opportunity to be able to fully defend the charge. The Magistrate at first instance agreed and dismissed the charge. The Police appealed to a single Judge of the Supreme Court who upheld the Magistrate’s decision. The police appealed again to the full court of the Supreme Court. Two out of the three Justices agreed with the Magistrate’s decision. The Police then appealed to the High Court of Australia which was their last avenue of appeal. The High Court found that despite the fact that a blood test was not effectively carried out, admitting the evidence of the breath analysis reading would not make the trial unfair. The appeal was therefore allowed and the matter was remitted to the Magistrates’ Court for a further hearing. See the full decision here.
Ultimately this final decision means that if you request a blood test kit after providing a positive result to a breath analysis and the blood test is not carried out properly you can still be convicted of the drink driving charge based on the breath analysis result alone.
At Mangan Ey & Associates, we keep up to date with the constant developing laws surrounding drink driving and other traffic laws to ensure that we have your rights protected. It is often a good idea to seek some advice before going to court in relation to a drink driving charge because your licence may be affected more than you realise when you are convicted due to the alcohol reading and/or demerit points.
We have lawyers here in Adelaide to help you.