NSW Police

NSW Drink Driving Rules


COMMENCING TODAY, the new laws surrounding drink driving have come into effect.

Under the new rules, ALL people caught drink driving, or driving with an illicit substance present in their blood, will lose their licence on the spot and be issued with a fine. This includes low range drink drivers, with a minimum fine of $561.

The blood alcohol limit for full licence holders, whether you drive a car or motorbike, is under 0.05.

For professional drivers, including bus drivers, taxi drivers, and heavy vehicle drivers, the blood alcohol limit is 0.02.

Learner and P Plate drivers must have a blood alcohol limit of zero.

These new laws are a key priority of the Road Safety Plan 2021. The Road Safety Plan is targeted at providing safer communities and safer country roads by utilising current technologies and implementing harsher penalties for drink and drug driving. 

Be sure not to drink drive or drive whilst under the influence of an illicit substance. If you find yourself in trouble with the law, contact our Criminal Law Department on (02) 4647 7577 or contact or 24 hour criminal law hotline on (02) 8324 7527.

If you have any questions or for further information contact:

Luisa Gaetani
Senior Lawyer
02 4607 2112




This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

New NSW Road Rule: Slow Down To 40km/hr For Flashing Lights

Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/nswpoliceforce/videos/slow-down-to-40/546373149125918/

Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/nswpoliceforce/videos/slow-down-to-40/546373149125918/

From 1 September 2018, drivers in New South Wales could face a fine of $448.00 and three (3) demerit points for exceeding the speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour whenever they pass an emergency vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road and flashing their blue and red lights. Drivers will also have to give way to any person who is on foot near the area of the emergency vehicle which is flashing their lights and to not increase their speed until they are safely past the area.

This rule applies to drivers passing near the area of a stationary emergency vehicle flashing their lights in both directions UNLESS the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road and is separated by a median strip. However, if the emergency vehicle is on the median strip then the rule will continue to apply to drivers travelling in both directions. It applies to all roads including motorways, highways and freeways. The new rule will be in place for a trail period of 12 months to evaluate the safety and traffic impacts and any other consequences there may be for having the new rule.

Driving 40 kilometres per hour near stationary emergency vehicles is being introduced to improve the safety of police and emergency workers as well as those people emergency services seek to help. It also provides drivers with greater direction as to how they should approach a situation when they see the flashing lights. Transport for New South Wales, Centre for Road Safety, said motorists should always start slowing down in a controlled manner as soon as they see blue or red flashing lights, taking into account the road conditions at the time and other road users.

Emergency service vehicles covered by the new rule are:

  • NSW Police Force Vehicles

  • Ambulance Service of NSW vehicles

  • Fire & Rescue NSW vehicles

  • State Emergency Services vehicles

  • Rural Fire Service vehicles

  • Volunteer Rescue Association vehicles

  • Traffic Emergency Response vehicles

If you require any further information or need assistance in determining your options after receiving a fine, please contact:

Carrie Alton
02 4036 3307

What you need to know about bail

Bail is the term used to describe the release of any accused person awaiting a trial. If you have been charged with an offence, Police must make a decision as to whether to release you on bail or keep you in custody.

If the police refuse to give you bail, they are required to take you to court as soon as possible so that you can make an application for bail to the court.

Will I get bail?

In order for the court to give you bail, it must assess:

1.       Whether you need to show cause

If the court determines you must show cause then this means you must satisfy the magistrate as to why locking you up is not justified.

2.       Bail concerns

The court must also consider:

  • Your background and criminal history;

  • Nature and seriousness of the offence;

  • Whether you will attend court when you are required;

  • Whether you will commit serious offences;

  • Whether you will endanger any person in the community;

  • Whether you will interfere with any witnesses or evidence; and

  • Any other factor the court considered relevant.

If the court is not concerned with any of the above matters then they may give you bail.

Will my bail be conditional?

The below are examples of conditions that may be imposed on your bail:

  • Report to Police daily, weekly, etc

  • Live at a certain address

  • Give up your passport

  • Not associate with certain people

  • Not go within a specific distance of certain places

  • Obey a curfew

  • Agree to submit to breath tests

How long will my bail last?

Bail will last until your court case in finalised.

What if my bail is refused?

If you have been refused bail then you can only ask for bail again in the same court if:

  • You were not represented by a Solicitor the first time you asked for bail;

  • You have new information that would impact the courts assessment;

  • You are under 18 years of age and the last bail application you made was on the first appearance of your offence

If your bail is refused then you may choose to apply to the Supreme Court to give you bail. Otherwise, you must wait until your trial or sentencing date for your court case to be completed.

What happens if I breach my bail?

If you breach your bail or any bail conditions then you may be arrested and brought back to court.

For any further advice or legal assistance on this issue, please contact us at Coutts on 1300 268 887.


Want to know your rights when dealing with NSW Police? From being approached by police, to being questioned by police, to being searched by police, to being arrested…

Approached by Police

If you are approached by police, they will generally request that you provide them with a copy of your identification. If requested, you SHOULD comply with this request from the police and provide them with your identification. You MUST legally comply with this request in the following situations:

  • If you are under the age of 18 years;
  • If you are suspected of committing an offence on a public train;
  • If police suspect on reasonable grounds that you may be able to assist them to investigate an indictable offence; and
  • In situations involving traffic offences.

Please note that if the police lawfully require you to provide photographic identification, they also have the power to ask you to remove any face covering to allow the police to see your face.

Police Questioning

ALWAYS obtain legal advice prior to agreeing to being questioned by police.

  • DO NOT answer any questions, except for providing your name and address;
  • DO NOT agree to be recorded;
  • DO NOT sign anything.

If you have NOT been arrested, you DO NOT have to attend the police station for questioning.

If you have been arrested, you generally have the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT and do not have to say or do anything.

You must answer police questioning in relation to traffic offences, with the following situations:

  • You have to provide police with your licence, including if you are accompanying a learner driver;
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident, you have to provide details about the accident to the police if they are called; and
  • If a vehicle is suspected of being used for a serious offence, the owner, driver and passengers must provide their details to the police.


The police can search you (including your car and possessions) under the following circumstances:

  • If you agree;
  • If you are under arrest or in custody;
  • If they have a search warrant;
  • If they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have in your possession, prohibited drugs;
  • If they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have in your possession, any weapon that may be used to commit a serious offence;
  • If they suspect that your car may have been used in connection with an indictable offence; and
  • If they suspect that you may have something stolen in your possession or obtained illegally.

If police are going to search you, they must:

  • Tell you why they are searching you;
  • The name and station of the person searching you;
  • They should not make you remove any clothing, except outer clothing, such as a jacket. In the event that they wish to strip search you, you are entitled to as much privacy as possible, in the circumstances.

As far as is practicable, police must use an officer of the same gender as the person being searched.

Drug Dogs - The police have dogs which have been trained to detect drugs. If a dog detects that you may have drugs, then the police may have a REASONABLE SUSPICION to perform a search on you and your possessions.


If you are arrested by police, you have the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. This means that you do not have to participate in an interview, answer any questions or participate in an identification parade.

The police can arrest you if:

  • They know or suspect on reasonable grounds that you have committed an offence;
  • There is a warrant out for your arrest;
  • They think you are about to commit an offence;
  • You are breaching the peace;
  • You have breached your bail conditions; or
  • An application for an AVO needs to be served on you.

When being arrested, the police must do the following:

  • Tell you why they are arresting you; and
  • Tell you their name, rank and place of duty.

If it is not reasonably practicable to tell you these details at the time of your arrest, they must tell you as soon as possible after your arrest.

Police must use REASONABLE FORCE to arrest you. Unreasonable force is considered to be assault.


If the police charge you with an offence, they must make a decision as to whether to release you on bail or keep you in custody. If the police refuse to grant you bail, they are required to take you to court as soon as practicable so that you may make an application for bail to the court.

Police can detain you for up to four (4) hours after arrest for investigation and questioning. At the end of this period, police must make a determination as to whether they will charge you and if so, whether you will be granted bail.

Luisa is an experienced criminal law solicitor and legal aid approved to give advice and act on criminal law matters. Contact her on the 24 hour emergency hotline 02 8324 7527.