Is Drink Driving a Criminal Offence in Queensland?

Is Drink Driving a Criminal Offence in Queensland?
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Have you recently been charged with drink driving or drug driving and it’s putting your driver’s licence ownership in jeopardy?  Australia is a nation of law and order. Among the tens of thousands of regulations established and codified by the Australia Government, few are more comprehensive than traffic laws. The penalties are also wide ranging. From disqualification from road use for unlicenced driving to stiff fines for excessive speeding, they’re designed to keep motorists in check so everyone gets to their destination safely.

 

But few offences are more serious — or harshly penalised — than drink driving. It’s a criminal offence that is subject to a variety of consequences that can dramatically affect your freedoms. If you believe you were falsely accused, but tests suggest you were under the influence, it’s important to retain representation who will fight for your interests in a court of law. This is especially important these days, as more draconian penalties are set to go into effect September 2021.

 

What is considered drink driving in Queensland?

In Queensland, there are gradations of penalty as they pertain to drink driving and drug driving. The higher your blood alcohol concentration level, the harsher the punishment, both in terms of licence disqualification, as well as fines.

 

For example, if you’re pulled over by a police officer in your motor vehicle and the breathalyzer testing shows your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.10, licence disqualification can range from 1 to 9 months, according to the Queensland Government. You can also be fined up to $1,929 and potentially serve a prison sentence of up to three months.

 

But if your BAC is higher than 0.10, the penalties are typically more severe. A BAC of 0.15 and over can result in a licence disqualification of no less than six months and a maximum fine of $3,859. You may also go to jail for up to nine months. If your blood alcohol concentration is between 0.10 and 0.15, licence disqualification is a minimum of three months, the prison sentence is a maximum of six months and a fine can be up to $2,757.

 

Licence suspension is immediate
While there’s no way of knowing what the prison sentence or fine will be until your appearance in court, what is 100% certain is licence suspension. Even if you test 0.01, it results in immediate licence suspension, although the length of time may not be as long compared to those who tested 0.10 or were tried and convicted of drink driving previously. Repeat drink driving offenders must relinquish their licence right away and may not be able to drive again for up to two years. In addition to disqualification from road use, offenders can also be fined, requiring them to pay as much as $8,271. 

 

Once the disqualification period ends, those convicted of the offence won’t simply receive their licence back. They must apply to have it reissued. Should the request be granted, they’re given probationary status for at least a year. This condition may prevent drivers from using their motor vehicles as freely as they would like.

 

The severity of these penalties are designed to deter motorists from drink driving when behind the wheel of their motor vehicle. On average, close to 50% of deaths each year on Queensland roads are attributable to drink driving or drug driving, according to Queensland Police.

 

In an effort to further dissuade Queensland road users from operating their motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, Queensland Government will begin enforcing new stipulations related to the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program. Starting 10 September 2021, those whose BAC is above 0.10 will now be required to participate in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program. Participation is required and those who refuse won’t be able to apply for licence renewal for at least five years after their licence disqualification period concludes. Previously, people who did not take part in the Alcohol Ignition Interlock Program and were convicted of drink driving were forbidden from driving for two years after their driver’s licence suspension sentence ends. 

 

If you’re new to Queensland, have questions about your rights as a citizen or have reason to believe you are being falsely accused of a driving offence or licence disqualification, Russo Lawyers may be able to help; we specialise in criminal defence. Contact us today. If your driver’s licence was taken away unjustly, our team can help make it right by bringing the truth to light. Visit our blog for the latest news you can use. 

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