Drink Driving in QLD

The Offence

Drink driving in Qld is one of the most complex collections of subsections of any piece of legislation. This is primarily because there have been so many changes and challenges to the legislation since its inception in 1995. Each it has been successfully challenged, the legislators either add or remove a subsection, with very complicated results.

Some of the offences you may be charged with under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act include:

  • Exceeding Prescribed Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or Prescribed Content of Alcohol (PCA);
  • Refusing to Accompany Police;
  • Refusing to Furnish a Breath or Blood Sample;
  • Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs

Exceeding PCA

Whether you have committed an offence will depend on the type of licence you hold.

Below is a table with the applicable BAC limits:

Licence class or ageBAC Limit
Holder of a learner, P1/P2 provisional or probationary licence
(regardless of age).
(no alcohol limit)
Holder of an open licence. (However, if you obtain
your class RE motorcycle licence, you must ride
with a zero BAC in your first year of riding,
regardless of your age or the class of vehicle licence
you hold).
Below 0.05
(general alcohol limit)
Holder of a licence when driving, or in charge of,
a truck (GVM over 4.5t), bus (built or fitted to carry
more than 12 adults, including the driver), articulated
motor vehicle, B-double, road train, vehicle carrying
dangerous goods, taxi, limousine, tow truck, pilot
vehicle, and public passenger vehicle or a vehicle
while it is being used by a driver trainer to give driver
training (or any driver supervising a learner driver).
(no alcohol limit)

Within the PCA offences, there are a number of other sub-offences for the reading obtained (for individuals held to the general alcohol limit), including:

  • Low Range – BAC reading in excess of the general alcohol limit of 0.05% but less than 0.10%
  • Middle Range – BAC reading of 0.10% but less than 0.15%
  • High Range – BAC reading of 0.15% or over

Driving Defence Lawyers of ZD Legal represent clients charged with the above offences on a daily basis, with offices just a short drive from both the Southport Courthouse on the Gold Coast and the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court in Brisbane.

If you have been charged with the above drink driving in Qld offences please call us today on 1300 333 669.

The Penalty

The following table shows the maximum penalties that may apply for a first time drink driving offence:

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)Licence disqualificationMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonment
Over 0.00, but under 0.05 BAC (learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles)3 to 9 months$1,8683 months
0.05 and over, but under 0.101 to 9 months$1,8683 months
0.10 and over, but under 0.153 to 12 months$2,6696 months
0.15 and overMinimum of 6 months$3,7369 months

24-hour suspension

If you are caught driving with a BAC reading less than 0.10, you will receive a 24-hour licence suspension. This means you will not lose your licence for longer than the 24-hour period until your matter is dealt with in court, and you should be aware that if you do not drive until you appear, this will not come off the time you are ordered to be disqualified for by the court.

Immediate suspension

Your licence will be immediately suspended if  you:

  • have been charged with a low range drink driving offence (over 0.0 but under 0.10 BAC) and:
    • you have a prior drink driving charge pending; or
    • you were the holder of a section 79E order and your replacement licence is subject to an X4 condition
  • have been charged with a mid range or high range drink driving offence (0.10 BAC and over)
  • fail to provide police with a specimen of breath or blood when requested
  • have been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

The immediate suspension will end when the drink driving charge has been dealt with by the court, is withdrawn or discontinued. Note that this does not mean that you will get your licence back once the matter is finalised in court, but that any disqualification ordered by the court will then replace this immediate suspension.

Repeat drink driving offences

If you are charged with a repeat drink driving offence, you may:

  • have your car impounded (if you have a BAC 0.15 and over or fail to provide a specimen of breath or blood)
  • have your licence disqualified for up to 2 years
  • be fined up to $8,007; or
  • be sentenced to a term of imprisonment determined by the court.

Getting your licence back

You can apply to have your driver licence reissued once your disqualification period ends, however you will be required to hold a probationary licence for at least 1 year before your open licence status will be reinstated (if you previously held an open licence when you were caught). You may also be subject to the alcohol ignition interlock requirement once your disqualification ends.

Can I Defend the Charge?

Whether you can defend the charge will depend on the circumstances of the case, however if pleading guilty you are always able to mitigate the penalty by preparing properly with an experienced traffic lawyer, who will help you get the best outcome in the circumstances.

This may involve preparing letters, supporting material, character references, or other relevant applications that may be available to you, such as a restricted Work Licence.

To find out what applications you may be eligible for, review our page on Work Licences or call us to speak to an expert in the field.