Traffic Law

Being charged with Drink Driving? Know your rights and back on your feet!

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What is Drink Driving?

A drink driving charge is determined based on the amount of alcohol content in your Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test.

If you are caught driving beyond the prescribed alcohol limit, you will be charged with a drink driving offence.

In Queensland, there are 4 alcohol limits. These limits are used to apply penalties if you’re caught drink driving. The limits are:

No alcohol limit: 0.00
General alcohol limit: 0.05 – 0.099
Middle alcohol limit: 0.10 – 0.149
High alcohol limit: 0.15 and above
Traffic Law

What are the penalties for Drink Driving?

First Time Drink Driving

Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration Licence Disqualification Period Maximum Fine Maximum Imprisonment Period
0 – 0.049 3 – 9 months 14 Penalty Units 3 months
0.05 – 0.099 1 – 9 months 14 Penalty Units 3 months
0.10 – 0.149 3 – 12 months 20 Penalty Units 6 months
≥0.15 Minimum of 6 months 28 Penalty Units 9 months

Repeat Drink Driving

Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration Licence Disqualification Period Maximum Fine Maximum Imprisonment Period
≥ 0.15 Up to 2 Years 60 Penalty Units Determined by Court

*Please click here to find the current value of the penalty unit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The police use a breathalyser to find out if you have consumed any alcohol. The breathalyser will show your Breath/Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

For below drivers, if your BAC is not zero, you are breaking the law:

  • You have a learner licence
  • You have a provisional, probationary or restricted licence (for example, a ‘P’ licence)
  • You have a class RE motorbike licence and you have held that licence for less than 12 months or you are learning to ride a class R motorbike
  • You drive a tractor or specifically constructed vehicle
  • You drive a truck, a bus, articulated vehicle, road train, a vehicle carrying dangerous goods, a tow truck, pilot vehicle, taxi, limousine or driving instructor vehicle

For all other drivers, if your BAC is 0.05 or more, you are ‘over the limit’ and you are breaking the law.

The short answer is no.

24-hour suspension

Your licence will be immediately suspended for the next 24 hours if:

  • the police pulled you over
  • you are over your legal BAC limit
  • the BAC is less than 0.10

If you drive within that 24 hours, even if it is just to go back to where you left your car and drive it home, you are breaking the law.

Immediate suspension

For some drink driving offences, you licence is suspended immediately, not just for 24 hours. If you drive any time before you go to court, you are breaking the law. These include:

  • Driving or in charge of a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.10 or more
  • Not giving the police a breath specimen or allowing them to take blood for it to be analysed
  • A second drink driving offence while you still have a drink driving charge to be finalised in court

The immediate suspension will end when the drink driving charge:

  • has been dealt with by the court
  • is withdrawn, or
  • discontinued

You may be eligible to apply for a special licence to allow you drive before you go to court. Contact our experienced traffic lawyers at Ascent Lawyers for more information.

No. A drink driving offence is a regulatory traffic offence. You will not receive a criminal record unless you are driving dangerously in addition to your intoxication, resulting in a police charge of dangerous operation of a vehicle.

It is possible for you to apply for a work licence if:

  • you held an open licence at the time of the offence
  • are charged with low or mid-range drink driving
  • had no suspensions of your licence in the last 5 years

This must be done at the time you appear in the Court to plead guilty. It cannot be done afterwards.

You cannot apply for a work licence if you are charged with high range drink driving (DUI).

You can be charged with drink driving if you were in charge of a vehicle which you had control of. For example, you were in the driver’s seat and had the keys near you even if you were not driving or had no intention to drive.

This normally occurs when people are in the car waiting to be picked up or sleeping.

It does not matter that the car was not on a road. You can be charged with drink driving even if the car was on private property such as a car park or driveway.

The disqualification starts immediately from the court date. You would not be able to drive once you leave the court.

If your licence was immediately suspended because you were a mid or high range drink driver, then the court may take into account the time you have been suspended.

Once your licence disqualification period has ended, you will need to attend to the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and reapply for your licence. You cannot simply start driving after the disqualification period has ended.

You will receive a Probationary Licence for a period of one year. This means that:

  • You only have 4 demerit points available
  • You have a zero alcohol limit

You do not need to re-sit any test to get your licence back if you already had a licence at the time of the offence.

The answer to this question will inevitably be “Yes”. Drink driving is one of the most serious traffic offences in Queensland. The consequences of not having a lawyer far exceed the cost of hiring one. It is better to have a lawyer at the beginning to minimise the penalty.

We often receive phone calls from people who represented themselves in court and received extremely harsh penalties and wants to appeal the decision. In most drink driving cases, it is not possible to appeal or will cost a lot of legal fees.

Engaging Ascent Lawyers gives you the best chance to obtain the lowest disqualification period and fine. If you are currently facing a charge, please do not hesitate to seek legal advice from our experienced traffic lawyers.

Engaging traffic lawyers at Ascent Lawyers gives you the opportunity to obtain the lowest disqualification period and fine. Some of the benefits include:

  • We can help you throughout the whole process
  • In most cases you will not have to say anything in court
  • The court will understand that you are taking your charges seriously by engaging Ascent Lawyers
  • We know what to say to give you the best outcome
  • We know what to say to give you the best outcome
  • Your matter will be heard early and before the self-represented offenders
  • You will be fully informed of what happened in court
  • We will explain the penalties to you in details

At Ascent Lawyers, we appear frequently in courts with people charged with drink driving. It is the experience that allows us to get the absolute best result for you.

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