It is with great pleasure that I write to introduce the third edition of this most useful book. This new edition takes into account important legislative and judicial determinations on driving and alcohol.
Every day, throughout New South Wales, people attend at court having been charged with drink driving offences, and many of those are unrepresented. In such circumstances, this book enables the defendants to be better prepared - ensuring that they understand the penalties that they face, the likely consequences of their actions, and the processes that make up the criminal justice system.
Fortunately, a well prepared defendant representing him or herself is an additional bonus for the court - it means that less time is taken to educate the defendant on the process and pertinent information can be quickly ascertained, as opposed to some of the irrelevant material that can, at times, be presented.
Helen Walsh has yet again shown herself to have that unique ability in a lawyer and academic - the ability to simplify and explain the law, without losing the essential messages.
Drink driving is a scourge on our society, causing many deaths and injuries, let alone financial loss. One of the added features of this book is that I am confident those who use it will be less likely to re-offend having acquired a knowledge of the increasing penalty regime for repeat offenders.
Magistrate David Heilpern
20 October 2006
Since the second edition of this book there have been changes to the law relating to drink driving in New South Wales. The name of this edition has changed to "Guilty Your Honour" in line with the new form of address for magistrates. More importantly there have been recent changes to the way magistrates sentence in drink driving offences. In 2004 the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal set out a guideline that a magistrate must follow when determining a penalty in a drink driving matter. The guideline is having a significant impact on the types of penalties ordered (this is discussed further in Do I need a lawyer? ).
While the format of this book remains the same, amendments have been made to various chapters to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. As with all areas of law, drink driving laws are subject to constant change. It is suggested that you check that the sections and penalties referred to are current prior to your appearance in court. This could be done by contacting the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), LawAccess, the Local Court you will be appearing in, the Legal Aid Office or a Community Legal Centre. Contact details are provided.
Thank you to those people who helped with this edition in particular, Rebecca Gray, for her valuable advice in respect of current practice and proofreading. And of course, thanks must also be extended to those who were involved in the original edition upon which this book is based. David Heilpern, Steve Sorrenson, Hugh van Dugteren, Austin Punch, Jim Jackson, Jan Maxwell and the Law Foundation.
While every effort has been made to ensure the information in this book is as up to date as possible, readers are advised to seek legal advice, particularly if they have questions that are not addressed in this book and as suggested in Do I need a lawyer. Guilty Your Honour is intended as a guide to the law and practice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice when this is necessary.