Driving under the influence here in Australia! Here is everything you need to know

Driving under the influence continues to be a prominent issue in our country. You may have heard of the term before but, what is it exactly, and what are the repercussions of doing so here in Australia? Throughout this post, we’ll share everything you need to know.

What is driving under the influence?

Driving Under Influence (DUI) is when a driver has drugs or an illegal amount of alcohol in their system. It is considered a serious traffic offence here in Queensland. It is important to know that drivers supervising an L-plate driver and those who aren’t physically driving while in a vehicle can still get charged with this offence.

How do you get charged with a DUI?

In most instances, you will get pulled over by the police or randomly asked to stop to provide a breath or saliva analysis to test whether you have drugs or alcohol in your system. If your test comes back positive, you’ll be accompanied back to the police station where you will take a secondary test. For driving under the influence of alcohol, you’ll provide another breath sample via a more advanced breath analysis machine. This will be your official reading. You will then be given a notice to appear in court, and your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately for 24 hours at the minimum. For driving under the influence of drugs, you will also be asked to provide another sample at the police station, if this comes back positive, it will be sent off for analysis at a laboratory. This analysis will be able to determine whether you were driving while under the influence of drugs or with drugs in your system. Driving under the influence of drugs is the more serious of the two charges. Once you have received your results back, you will be then charged accordingly. Police can also request to have urine or blood collected if needed to establish whether you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or not.

Do I 'have' to go to court?

Yes. A drink driving charge is a criminal offence, and you will have to physically attend court. If your case is adjourned, which happens quite often, you will have to appear a second time. This can give you time to organise necessary paperwork or to seek legal advice if needed.

What are the penalties for driving under the influence?

The penalty for a DUI charge can vary depending on the charge, and the severity. At the minimum, the offender will receive a fine and a disqualification period from driving. For more serious offences and serial offenders, part of the penalty can include a prison term.

Will I get a criminal conviction for a DUI charge?

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, you will likely have a criminal conviction recorded against you. This is normally recorded as a traffic offence, and it can have a negative impact on your employment or ability to travel to some countries.

Can I plead not guilty to a DUI charge?

There are very few instances where you would have a valid defence for being caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, however, if you believe you have a possible defence to your drink driving charge, it’s a good idea to obtain legal advice from an experienced traffic solicitor. They work in your best interest to reach an outcome that is most desirable given the circumstances.

Can I get a work licence if I have been charged with a DUI?

When you have been charged with driving under the influence of a drug or with a high-range drink driving offence, you will not be able to apply for a work licence. To be eligible, you must have a job, and you mustn’t have been convicted of a drink driving charge, drug driving charge or dangerous driving in the last five years. If you are facing a DUI charge and a work licence is important to you, ensure you speak to a traffic lawyer before your court date to help you with the process.

What happens if I refuse a drug or alcohol test?

Failing to or refusing to give a breath or saliva specimen for testing is a serious offence and the penalties for not doing so are typically harsh. In most instances, you’ll receive the same penalty as a high-range drink driving charge or driving under the influence of drugs charge regardless of whether you are or not. The maximum penalty for this is a fine of up to $5,514 and a prison term of six months. It is in your best interest to comply with the police to avoid being charged with more serious offences.

First steps after being charged with a DUI here in Australia

Being charged with a DUI can be a scary and overwhelming time, and the first thing you should be doing is speaking to a reputable traffic lawyer. They can advise you of the options available to you and the steps you should be taking to receive the most optimal result. Our highly skilled team of expert traffic lawyers here at Drink Driver Lawyer specialise in this area of law and can help. Give yourself the best chances of staying on the road by contacting us today.

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