If you are charged with drink driving (driving with an excess breath or blood alcohol), you should take legal advice before deciding to plead guilty or not guilty.

There is a recent case heard in the District Court at Christchurch, which may (in certain circumstances) provide you with a defence.

There was no issue that the Defendant had been driving, or that the breath test had shown that he was driving with a breath alcohol over the legal limit (448 micrograms per litre of breath).

He had been advised of his right to consult a lawyer. The Defendant asked to speak to a lawyer, the Police rang eight lawyers, but none answered the phone. The issue was, was the breath test result admissible. The defence successfully argued that there was a breach of the Defendant’s rights under the Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Judge S. J. O’Driscoll agreed that there had been a breach, the breath test result was not admissible and therefore a not guilty verdict had to be given.

The case is:

New Zealand Police v Fraser [2017] NZDC 7387 – Judge SJ O’Driscoll – 5 April 2017