What is the offence?
It is an offence in Queensland to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) in excess of the permitted concentration levels. The actual concentration level depends on the type of licence held by the driver.
An open licence holder is permitted to drive with a BAC below 0.05% whereas all other licence holders must have a nil alcohol concentration (0.00%). Additionally, a person who holds a restricted licence must also have a nil alcohol concentration, even if it is an open restricted licence.
A person can also be charged with drink driving even if they were just ‘in charge’ of the vehicle while over the relevant BAC level. A common example of this offence is where a person drinks too much and then decides to sleep in their car until they are able to drive again. It is therefore not necessary for a person to actually be driving to be charged with a drink driving offence.
What is the penalty?
The penalty for a drink driving offences will depend on the seriousness of the offence, and in particular the alcohol concentration reading. At the very minimum, a person convicted of a drink driving offence will have their licence disqualified for at least one month and will receive a fine. In very serious cases (such as repeat drink drivers), a person can be given a sentence of imprisonment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I was caught drink driving and my licence was automatically suspended. Is this normal?
A: Unfortunately, yes. If you are the holder of an open licence and you were caught driving with a BAC between 0.05% – 0.10%, your licence will automatically be suspended for 24 hours. If your BAC was higher than 0.10%, your licence will be automatically suspended until your matter is finalised in court (usually the day that you are convicted by the magistrate).
Q: I was caught drink driving but I need my licence for work. Can I apply for a work licence?
A: In some circumstances, a person can apply for a work licence. Please visit the work licence page for more information.
Q: Is it an offence to refuse to supply a breath sample when requested by the police?
A: Yes, it’s a serious offence to refuse to supply a breath sample. If you do not supply the sample and you are convicted of this offence, you will be punished as if you had an alcohol reading of 0.15% or above, which is considered to be a serious drink driving offence. This will be the case even if you had not consumed any alcohol before being asked to provide the sample.
Please contact us if you have been charged with a drink driving offence.