Drink Driving! Is this a criminal offence in Queensland?

Everyone’s heard of drink driving, and everyone knows it’s not something anyone wants to be caught doing, but is it a criminal offence here in Queensland? We’ve put together this post to share the answer and some other important information you may be interested in when it comes to drink driving here in Queensland.

Is drink driving an offence?

To cut to the chase, yes it is! Under the Transport Operations (Road Use) Management Act, it is a criminal offence to drive whilst over the legal alcohol limit.

Knowing the alcohol limits here in Queensland:

Knowledge is power, and if you know what is expected of you when you drive, you can then ensure that you don’t accidentally find yourself in hot water with a drink driving offence to your name. There are 4 general alcohol limits, including:

No alcohol limit 

A no alcohol limit is typically enforced for learner drivers and provisional drivers. This means that they cannot drive with any alcohol in their system. A blood alcohol concentration of over 0.00 would be regarded as driving over the legal limit.

General alcohol limit

The general alcohol limit is considered 0.05 or over. If you are caught with a reading over this but lower than 0.10, you will be charged with a low-range drink driving charge.

Middle alcohol limit

A middle alcohol limit is driving with a BAC of 0.10 or over. If you are pulled over and this range BAC, you will be charged with a mid-range drink driving offence.

High alcohol limit 

A high alcohol limit is a BAC of 0.15 or higher. This charge carries the heaviest penalties of all and is considered a serious offence here in Queensland.

Here is some more information on each of these limits to give you a better understanding and the possible repercussions of each:

No alcohol limit

Some licence types such as restricted licence holders and P1 and P2 licence holders are not allowed to drive with any alcohol in their system at all. The no alcohol limit also applies to those driving buses, taxis, limousines, tractors, and tow trucks.

Even having one drink or driving the morning after a few drinks can see you over the limit when the no alcohol limit applies to your licence type. The typical penalty for being charged with a low range drink driving offence is a disqualification period of 3 months minimum and a monetary fine. This can vary though depending on your driving history. Your licence will be instantly suspended for 24 hours, and you can usually keep driving until the day of your court date.

General alcohol limit

If you hold a full licence and are not driving a vehicle that requires you to have a no alcohol limit, you must ensure that you remain under the general alcohol limit if you plan on having a few drinks and driving. Everyone breaks down alcohol differently, and many factors come into play regarding this. If you know you are going to have a few drinks or you end up having a few drinks it’s simply not worth the risking driving. Low range drink driving charges are a one-month minimum disqualification period and a fine. Your licence will be suspended for 24 hours, and you can drive until your court date in most instances.

Middle alcohol limit

Having a BAC of 0.10 or over is a mid-range reading. This is a more serious charge than a low range drink driving charge and carries harsher penalties. As well as receiving a fine, the minimum disqualification period is 6 months. Your driver’s licence will automatically be suspended for 24 hours, and after this, you can normally drive until your court date unless you have been informed otherwise.

High alcohol limit

Driving with a high alcohol limit is deemed a serious offence here in Queensland, and you’ll find that many Magistrates take a no-nonsense approach to such charges. If you have been caught driving with a BAC of 0.15 or more, your licence will be disqualified for a minimum of 6 months, you’ll receive a fine, and your car may be fitted with an alcohol interlock device when your disqualification period has ended. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a work licence if you have been charged with a high range drink driving charge.

Can I have a drink of alcohol while I'm driving?

As outlined under Section 300A of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation, drinking alcohol while driving is an offence here in Queensland, it doesn’t matter if you’re under the limit or not.

Things that can affect your BAC

There are tonnes of factors that can affect your BAC, here are some of many:

  • How much you’ve had to eat
  • Your age
  • Your metabolism
  • Your sex
  • The type of body you have
  • How strong your drinks are
  • Your tolerance to alcohol

Possible penalties for a drink driving charge other than a disqualification period and fine, some include:

  • A conviction
  • Probation
  • A prison term
  • Alcohol interlock devicel

Will a drink driving charge go on my record?

The Magistrate will be the one to decide whether a conviction will be recorded against your traffic history or not. Have a chat with a traffic lawyer if this is something that you are worried about. They can offer feedback based on your situation.

For any traffic-related charge, drink driving included, contact the expert team here at Drink Driver Lawyer for professional advice.