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Riding under the influence in the ACT

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August 9, 2016

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In the ACT have you ever ridden your bicycle home after a few beers with friends? Or chosen to ride a bicycle, rather than drive, because you have had a few drinks? If you ride a bike intoxicated you may still be charged with a criminal offence in the Australian Capital Territory. The offence of ‘Driver Intoxicated’ is an offence under s24A of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drug) Act 1977. With more bikes on the road per capita than any other state or territory in Australia and a recorded 87,000 […]


Drink Driving Acts with Kids in the Car

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May 8, 2016

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In recent years the NSW Local Courts have had a particular focus on people who commit Drink Driving acts with children in their car. The entire judicial system has long frowned on people who put not only their own lives at risk, but also the lives of their children, by driving a vehicle with alcohol in their system and children in the backseat. In 2011 the law was amended so that the courts were compelled to regard having children in your car as an aggravating feature while you drove drunk. This […]


ACT Infringement Notice changes

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April 11, 2016

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You might be familiar with the infringement-notice system for certain traffic matters. Where years ago you had to go to court for just about everything, including minor speeding matters for instance having smooth tyres or even a vehicle that created “undue noise”, now we have a relatively comprehensive system of traffic-infringement notices, issued on the spot by police. These allow, simply by the payment of the relevant fine, for the disposal of the matter. No longer do so many minor matters, most often speeding tickets, clog the courts – and force […]


Hoverboards and other wheeled vehicles

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March 29, 2016

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We have reached 2016, so it is only natural that ‘hoverboards’ are gliding down every street. Indeed, one of the big ticket items this past Christmas Season was the ‘Revo Glider’. If you are lucky enough to be the owner of one of these contraptions, you might be surprised to find out that your use of such a product is governed quite heavily by NSW traffic law. You might have already noted that most retailer’s websites include a short warning in relation to the legality of using the ‘Revo Glider’ on […]


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ….

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October 1, 2015

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ….” Drink-drivers in Canberra and Queanbeyan (or any other NSW location for that matter) could be forgiven for thinking they were living in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Canberra’s drivers are simultaneously better off and worse off than their NSW counterparts under the ACT version of the Interlock scheme for drink-drivers, which was introduced in mid-2014. The Interlock device prevents a driver from starting his or her car until he or she has provided a clean breath […]


Home Breath Tests – ACT

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September 10, 2015

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The recent case of real-estate agent Bernard Nash received a blaze of publicity when he beat a drink-driving charge partly because police breath- tested him at his home. While Mr Nash’s matter was heard in a NSW court, and involved a number of other elements, Canberra drivers should be aware that they receive particular protection in relation to breath-testing at their homes. It is based on the long-established legal principle that a person’s home is their castle. Particularly, ACT legislation (the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs Act) 1977) says that police […]


Letter to Editor, Canberra Times

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July 17, 2015

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There is a middle ground in the current debate around sentencing drivers with drugs in their system – and it is on our doorstep. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Current ACT law does not adequately provide for the cases of people who still have drugs in their bodies but are not affected by them at the time of driving. Drink-driving and drug-driving are different. The level of alcohol in drivers is measurable, and studies have demonstrated the effect of those levels on driving. Different levels of alcohol attract […]


ACT drug-driving

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April 20, 2015

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Jeff, James and Jill are three Canberra motorists. Jeff shares a joint of marijuana with a mate on a Saturday night at home and doesn’t drive until going to work on the following Monday. James has a dozen schooners on the Saturday night and also doesn’t drive until heading to work on the Monday. Jill has two bottles of wine on the Saturday night, hops straight in her car and gets picked up by police. She returns a Level 4 blood-alcohol reading and is facing an automatic three years’ disqualification from […]


NSW Interlock Changes

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December 18, 2014

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More NSW drink-drivers are set to return to the road somewhat earlier – but only with the mandatory imposition of alcohol-ignition-interlock devices under a significant restructure approved by state Parliament. Both houses of parliament passed the Bill with bipartisan support in mid-2013 and the new scheme is to begin on February 1, less than two months before the next state election. Under the shake-up, a high-range (0.150 or more) drink-driving offence and repeat drink-driving offences at all levels will become “mandatory interlock offences”, meaning drivers will have to have an alcohol-ignition […]


ACT PCA Disqualification

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October 14, 2014

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Disqualifications from driving for ACT drink-drivers could be about to be substantially raised – potentially by more than double in many cases. The change is happening from within the courts, both Magistrates and Supreme, not via any direct action from the ACT Legislative Assembly. Two recent judgments declare that increased disqualification periods should be applied. The judgments say that doing so places the Territory where its legislature had always intended it should be. The effect will be widespread: one in four criminal matters coming before the ACT Magistrates Court is a […]

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