The sentencing statistics for drink driving offences indicate that the majority of drink driving offenders are convicted and have their drivers licences disqualified. However, in all drink driving matters a court has the discretion not to convict you but deal with you under the terms of section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. If you are not convicted, there would be no penalty, no loss of licence, and no criminal record.
The expression ‘section 10’ refers to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999. This section allows a court that finds you guilty of an offence, to discharge you without recording a conviction. Because there is no conviction, there is no criminal record. Additionally, there is no loss of driver’s licence and no other penalty.
Courts do not give out section 10’s lightly. A court will usually need a lot of convincing before granting you a section 10. The law says that in deciding whether to give a person a section 10, the court must consider the following issues:
It is not possible to bargain with the court that you would pay a larger fine to avoid losing your licence nor is it possible to spend a longer period of disqualification to avoid a criminal conviction.
The Table below indicates the percentage of offenders dealt with under section 10 for each major drink driving offence