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Karen Weeks, Principal Solicitor of CMH Lawyers, has 20 years experience in acting for traffic offenders including drink drivers and drivers affected by drugs.  Click here to see recent section 10s and section 32 orders obtained for clients charged with PCA and other traffic offences.

Those charged with alcohol related offences, including drink driving and PCA offences, often suffer underlying mental health difficulties that are relevant to their offending.  See also our Section 32, Section 10 and Criminal Law Services pages for information on how courts can deal with drink driving offences.

Disqualification Periods

There are statutory automatic disqualification periods for all drink driving offences - Drive with Novice Range PCA, Special Range PCA, Low Range PCA, Medium Range PCA or High Range PCA.  There are separate offences of Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), Drive Under the Influence of a Prohibited Drug and Drive with a Prohibit Drug Detected in Bodily Fluids. These offences also have mandatory disqualification periods. 

For repeat traffic offenders the law provides for an additional disqualification period for up to 5 years upon a Habitual Traffic Offender Declaration.


The maximum penalties for these offences, with the exception of a few, include periods of imprisonment.  Surprisingly, some people seem to be of the view that drink driving is not a serious criminal offence !

If you commit a PCA offence you will be arrested and taken into custody.  This can be a harrowing person for someone who has not had prior contact with the criminal justice system.

If someone is injured or killed by a driver affected by prohibited drugs or alcohol a period of imprisonment, even if the person is young and has no prior offences, if often the most likely result upon conviction.

The law in relation to traffic offences is contained in many different Acts and Regulations.  It can be difficult and confusing to understand, even for lawyers.  In the majority of cases you are better off obtaining assistance from a solicitor experienced in the area.  Trying to do a drink driving matter yourself is mostly a bad idea.

A conviction and the loss of a driver's licence can be catastrophic on a person's employment and travel opportunities.

Section 10

The provisions of Section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure )Act 1999 will be relevant is some cases.  Avoiding a conviction via a Section 10 can be difficult to achieve and the right information has to be conveyed to a court in the right way.  For some drink driving offences a Section 10 will not be a possibility at all.

Section 32

In addition to Section 10, Section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 can apply to traffic offences, including drink driving offences.  Karen Weeks has made a number of successful Section 32 applications in relation to drink driving offences.  However, a Section 32 order is very difficult to achieve for such offences and is  not  a 'legal loophole'.  Click here for further information on Section 32 applications.


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