Getting you on the road to resolving your drink driving dilemmas
A motorist’s ability to successfully drive their vehicle is significantly impaired when they are under the influence of alcohol. According to Queensland Police, anyone with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.15 is at least 22 times more likely to become involved in a crash.
Still, driving under the influence of alcohol is a common traffic offence. According to the Brisbane Times, over 3 million random breath tests are conducted by Queensland Police every year. The tests result in more than 17,000 offences.
Drink driving is a serious offence. If you are caught drink driving, it is essential to seek the advice of a Brisbane drink driving lawyer.
I’ve been caught drink driving — now what?
If you are in control of your vehicle and asked by police to take a breath test, you must comply. Failure to do so will result in immediate suspension of your licence, with the suspension lasting until you go to a Magistrate’s Court. You must also provide your name, address and driver’s licence. The breath test provides immediate results. If you test negative for alcohol, you may continue on your way.
If you test positive — if the breath test shows your blood alcohol level to be above legal limits — you’ll be asked to take a second test either at the roadside or at the police station. Again, you must comply. You will be allowed to contact a traffic lawyer, though. A drink driving charge has long-lasting implications. It is wise to seek guidance from drink driving lawyers to better understand your situation and comply with rules.
If you do test positive, your licence will be cancelled; you should hand it in. Penalties and fines for drink driving in Brisbane and Queensland are meted out at the Magistrate’s discretion, aside from mandatory jail time for anyone caught committing certain high-range drink driving offences. Your Brisbane drink driving legal advisor will help you understand how this process works; we know that the legal system can be intimidating and feel opaque, particularly for first-time offenders.
Possible penalties and your licence
Penalties and fines for drink driving in Queensland vary. The type of driver’s licence a person holds, as well as their blood alcohol content and previous driving record, all have different implications.
First, when drivers hold a learner’s permit or provisional driver’s licence, their alcohol limit is zero. Testing positive for any alcohol will result in an immediate 24-hour suspension of your driver’s licence. The same holds true for drivers of busses, trucks, tow trucks, taxis, limousines or driving instructor vehicles. A Magistrate may disqualify your licence for between 3-9 months and you may be fined up to $1,929 or go to jail for 3 months.
For most other drivers, driving with a BAC of .05% will put you over the limit and is considered a crime. When police find you to be over the limit, a 24-hour suspension of your driver’s licence will be issued. Do not drive during this period. If your BAC was less than .10%, you may ultimately have your licence suspended for up to 9 months and be fined up to $1,929 or go to jail for three months.
Should you have more than 0.10% BAC, your licence will be suspended immediately and remain so until your court date. This type of disqualification from holding a driver’s licence is also applied for those who refuse a breath test and anyone committing a second drink driving offence while waiting for the court to hear their first offence.
You may also be fined up to $2,757 or go to jail for 6 months, with your licence suspended up to 12 months.
Drivers found to have a BAC of 0.15% or more are considered to have committed a major offence. Maximum penalties include a $3,859 fine or 9 months imprisonment. Fines and imprisonment are assigned by the Magistrate. But anyone convicted of three major offences within a 5-year period must spend time in jail. The Magistrate’s Court is required to assign jail time in this instance.
Repeat offenders may also have their driver’s licence disqualified up to 2 years and be fined up to $8,271.
ppearing in a Magistrate’s Court can be a nerve-wracking experience. A drink driving lawyer can help you understand what will happen in the courtroom as well as what steps you should take to prepare. We’ll also help you understand and adhere to any requirements after court, too.
Special hardship licence and rehabilitative courses
Licence disqualification is a potential outcome of drink or drug driving. If your licence is suspended or disqualified, you may be able to apply for a restricted licence, which is often referred to as a work licence. A Brisbane drink driving lawyer can help you with this process, as it does have some complexities. The application must be presented after a Magistrate finds you guilty and before disqualifying you from holding or obtaining a licence.
Not all motorists will be eligible for a restricted licence. You’ll be required to demonstrate that you need a driver’s licence to earn a living and that your family would suffer extreme hardship without your income. Many additional considerations apply to this complex area of law, so it is indeed best to hire a drink driving lawyer to assist you.
If you and your lawyer decide it is in your best interest to plead guilty, you may be able to attend the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program, or QTOP. It is a recognised educational program for first and second time offenders. While there is a fee, completing the multi-day course may be to your advantage in court — and will make you a safer driver. It is available online when the pandemic prevents in-person instruction.
One of the more serious traffic law charges is known as dangerous operation of a vehicle. This charge can be levied against anyone who:
(a) at the time of committing the offence is adversely affected by an intoxicating substance; or
(b) at the time of committing the offence is excessively speeding or taking part in an unlawful race or unlawful speed trial; or
(c) has been previously convicted either upon indictment or summarily of an offence against this section.
Penalties for dangerous driving offences are serious, particularly if someone has been injured or killed. If your drink driving offence also involves dangerous operation of a vehicle, it is essential that you contact a lawyer.
Russo Lawyers can successfully represent any offenders, helping them through their encounter with our legal system. We know this may be unfamiliar territory for you, but we represent clients involved in all kinds of traffic offences around Queensland. We are experts in interpreting the law and helping you move safely forward. Contact us today so we can help you figure out what’s next.