[First filed: Aug 30, 2010 @ 7:52]
In recent months, challenges to the ACT drink driving laws have created much hype in the ACT community. Off the back of this controversy, the ACT Government has released the Roadside Drug Testing Bill for public comment, ahead of its recent introduction into the Legislative Assembly.
Ben Aulich & Associates was the firm behind the recent successful challenge to the drink driving legislation in Canberra. The firm argued the breath testing device was not properly authorised because the Government failed to include an umlaut in the Notifiable Instrument, and successfully challenged the police officer’s authorisation to carry out the test. As a result, their client was found not guilty.
Ben Aulich established himself as one of Canberra’s leading criminal lawyers, practicing with one of Canberra’s largest law firms, Meyer Vandenberg. His success drove him to set up Ben Aulich & Associates in 2007, a specialist legal firm, practicing exclusively in criminal law. They are the only legal practice in town which is completely dedicated to criminal law.
Ben Aulich says “I work in criminal law because it’s what I enjoy, it’s what I am good at, and there is an ongoing stream of clients who need quality representation in the courts”. Ben says “At first glance, the Roadside Drug Testing Bill may look sensible, but when you scratch the surface, I have some real concerns”. Ben says “On the face of it, I am concerned that innocent people will be found guilty of things they have not done. There seem to be some big holes in the proposed legislation”.
Ben Aulich & Associates questions how police officers will properly exclude people who are driving after taking prescribed medication, or differentiating between people driving when they have consumed drugs, days and sometimes weeks before driving. Ben says “I consider it is the role of Ben Aulich & Associates to ensure that people’s rights are properly protected and to make sure that the police get it right when they charge someone”.
Ben says “Drink driving and drug driving legislation mandate strict penalties for driving under the influence. It is so important, given those penalties, for both the Government and the police get it right. The potential for innocent people to be found guilty is of great concern to Ben Aulich & Associates”.
The legal team of Ben Aulich & Associates comprises of Principal Ben Aulich, Sarah Avery, who has a commercial law background, Peter Woodhouse who came to Ben Aulich & Associates from the Aboriginal Legal Service in Wagga Wagga, and Bridie Devlin-Glass who has practiced solely in criminal law. Ben says “The business has grown enormously, mainly because our solicitors are excellent lawyers who contribute significantly to the overall success of the firm”.
“We provide straight down the line advice to clients so they know what to expect, including what the legal fees will be, as this can often be an important consideration for people”.
Ben Aulich & Associates’ expertise includes non-police prosecutions such as prosecutions involving the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Australian Taxation Office (ATO), WorkCover and Centrelink; white collar crime such as fraud, theft and obtain benefit by deception; drug offences including conspiracy and importation; sexual offences; assaults; protection and domestic violence orders; drink driving and other criminal matters.
Ben Aulich & Associates is the only law firm in Canberra exclusively dedicated to criminal law.