DUI Attorneys Cape Town
Our attorneys do DUI cases. Do You require the services of a DUI Attorney? You have come to the right place. Our firm specializes in criminal matters with a special emphasis on Drunk Driving cases. We have an array of solutions to assist you with your upcoming driving under the influence of alcohol case. Do not hesitate, book a consultation with us at your convenience and acquire the assistance of an expert drinking and driving attorney.
What is DUI? What is Drinking and Driving ? What is the meaning of DUI?
DUI is an acronym for Driving under the Influence, similarly DWI is an acronym for Driving while impaired. Another term also commonly used is drinking and driving or drunk driving. All these terms refer to driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of a substance, which has a narcotic effect.
Being charged with DUI in South Africa or facing Drinking and driving charges is a term that loosely refers to a person who has been brought before court on DUI charges. Being accused of DUI in South Africa means you are charged with contravention of Section 65 of The National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996.
In other words DUI, DWI, Drinking and Driving or drunk driving, in legal terms = Contravention of Section 65 of Act 93 of 1996.
They are exactly the same thing. What this means in legal terms is that an accused person has contravened Section 65 of Act 93 of 1996.
What is the penalty for drunk driving in South Africa?
If found guilty of drunk driving in South Africa you may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding R120 000, which could be suspended in part or in whole at the court’s discretion or imprisonment of not more than 6 years. Your drivers license will be suspended for at least a period of 6 months, unless the court orders otherwise. You will also incur a criminal record on your name.
Do I need an attorney for a first offense DUI?
It is always worth your while to obtain an experienced DUI Attorney to assist with your DUI offense, even if it’s your first offense. An experienced DUI lawyer will know which loop holes to look out for and what procedures needed to be complied with during your arrest and processing. Discovery of any failures by the police to comply with requirements by law will result in the case being dismissed or thrown out.
An experienced DUI Attorney will also be able to make the necessary representations based on either merit or humanitarian grounds, which could substantiate a diversion or withdrawal of your matter. This will result in your case not continuing to trial and you not obtaining a criminal record.
In the event that you want to fight the drunk driving charges against you on trial, you will most certainly require the services of a well experienced DUI trial lawyer to lead evidence and argue your case professionally.
Even if you decide to plead guilty to the charges, an experienced drunk driving lawyer will be able to negotiate a much better deal for yourself than you would have been able to accomplish on your own.
Although there are many good reasons for this fact, one such fact we can mention is that Drinking and driving lawyers specialize in their field. This means that they deal with the role players, who are the decision makers in your case on virtually a daily basis. The experienced DUI attorneys have in almost all instances developed relationships with the individuals concerned over the years. This is an important factor, which comes to serve you to your benefit when you want your lawyer to negotiate for you.
The law - Driving Drunk , driving with too much blood alcohol or too much breath alcohol.
All 3 subsections of the act combat DUI in other words drinking and driving, but in different ways:
When the driver is clearly intoxicated
When a blood alcohol test were taken
When a breath alcohol test sample was taken
Section 65(1) – Which applies to a driver that is intoxicated. No alcohol blood test or alcohol breath test required in terms of this subsection.
Section 65(2) – Which applies to a driver who’s alcohol concentration in his blood specimen is more than 0,05 gram per 100 milliliters of blood
Legal alcohol blood limit = 0,05 gram per 100 milliliters
Section 65(5) – Which applies to a driver who’s concentration of alcohol in his breath sample is more than 0,24 per 1000 milliliters.
Legal alcohol breath limit = 0,24 per 1000 milliliters of breath.
What is Driving Drunk? A simplified explanation:
In Section 65(1) – The driver is clearly so drunk he cannot drive. You don’t need a blood alcohol test, anybody can see he is under the influence of alcohol. This driver would not be able to exercise the required control over his vehicle due to his level of intoxication. Not being able to have proper control over your vehicle will be a key test in this subsection.
Please note: that the act does not prescribe any blood alcohol limit, or breath alcohol limit to this subsection. It is therefore theoretically possible to satisfy the requirements of this section without having had any blood or breath tests done. The question of how this is established and proven in court is a discussion for another in depth article. Save to say that someone who falls out of his vehicle, in stead of properly exiting his vehicle, when he is pulled over by a traffic officer, will most probably resort under this section.
Important: In practice a conviction on the above subsection is more serious and in turn it will have an impact on the sentence as well as the term of suspension of the driver’s license.
What is driving while you over the blood alcohol limit? A simplified explanation:
In Section 65(2) – The driver does not have to be clearly drunk or under the influence of alcohol. The driver did however drink. The driver could even completely be able to drive his vehicle properly. The driver did have at least one drink too many, as the blood alcohol concentration test shows he is over the required limit.
What is driving while you over breath alcohol limit? A simplified explanation:
In Section 65(5) – The driver does not have to be clearly drunk. The driver did however drink. The same applies as to 65(2), only a different test. The driver did however have at least one drink too many, as the alcohol concentration in his breath shows he is over the required limit.
What happens to my drivers license if I am convicted of DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol?
Section 35 of Act 93 of 1996 prescribes that your drivers license will be automatically suspended for at least :
- 6 months, in a case of a first offender,
- 5 years, in the case of a second offender,
- 10 years, in the case of a third or subsequent offender.
What can be done to prevent the court from suspending my driver’s license after a DUI conviction?
In terms of Section 35(3) of Act 93 of 1996, the court may order that the suspension of your drivers license be suspended. The court will do so if it is satisfied that circumstances exist that does not justify the suspension or disqualification of your driver’s license.
In simple terms in practice what happens is that your DUI attorney convinces the court that circumstances exist that justifies the order for NOT SUSPENDING your drivers license.
What is a vehicle?
Simply put a motor vehicle in terms of the act will include any motor vehicle that is commonly driven on our road, be it petrol, diesel or electric. Vehicles propelled by pedals (Like bicycles) are also included.
Do I get a DUI criminal record, if I was charged for drinking and driving?
A DUI criminal record will only follow once you have been convicted of DUI in a criminal court. This can only happen in one of two instances because :
- Once you have pleaded guilty to the DUI charges, or
- Once you have been convicted after a trial on DUI charges.
You will not receive a record for Drinking and driving, if one of the following happened:
- You were arrested for DUI, brought to police station and then released. You furthermore never received a document to again appear in court. You also never appeared in court.
- The DUI case was withdrawn by the prosecutor in court, for whatever reason.
- The DUI case was removed from the court roll by the magistrate, for any reason.
- The DUI case was never enrolled on your first appearance at court. You were told by court staff to leave the court and informed that you will be notified in due course.