DUI & Drink Driving

Drink Driving Lawyers Brisbane

In Queensland, it is an offence to drive while over the legal alcohol limit. These offences are known as ‘drink driving’ or ‘DUI’ offences and are treated very seriously by the courts.

The best way to defend yourself in court is to have an expert drink driving lawyer appearing in court by your side. At Harper Finch Lawyers, we specialise in drink driving and DUI offences and we know what to do to ensure you get the best outcome possible.

If you have been charged with a drink driving or DUI offence and you want to know more about your charges, read on to find out more about what penalties you might face, what options you have and more.

Alcohol Limits

There are four alcohol limits in Queensland, as follows:

Alcohol limits depends on a number of factors such as the type of driver’s licence you hold and the vehicle you are driving.

No Alcohol Limit

In some circumstances, a driver is not allowed to have any alcohol in their blood when driving.

This means that they can commit a drink driving or DUI offence even if they only have a very low alcohol reading.

Drivers who have to have a zero alcohol reading when driving include:

  • Learners, P1 and P2 licence holders and restricted licence holders;
  • Drivers of trucks, taxis, limousines, tow trucks and tractors.

It is very easy to commit an offence of driving over the no alcohol limit by mistake.

For example, many people will enjoy a few drinks during an evening meal and will then drive the following morning, thinking that all of the alcohol would have left their blood.

Unfortunately it is not possible to “sleep off” the alcohol in your body and many people only find this out the hard way, after they have been charged by the police with drink driving.

If you commit a DUI offence of drink driving while over the no alcohol limit, your driver’s licence will be disqualified for at least 3 months.

You cannot apply for a drink driving work licence if you are convicted of driving over the no alcohol limit.

General Alcohol Limit

If you hold a valid Queensland driver’s licence and you are not required to drive within the no alcohol limit, your alcohol limit will be 0.05%.

This is known as the ‘general alcohol limit’ and it means that you cannot drive if your alcohol reading is equal to, or greater than, 0.05%.

There is a commonly held belief that men will be under the general alcohol limit if they only drink 2 standard drinks within the first hour and 1 standard drink every hour afterwards. For women, the ‘rule’ is 1 standard drink each hour including the first hour.

In our experience, these guidelines are more dangerous than helpful as they do not take into account all other relevant factors such as the size of the person, how much alcohol they usually drink and how much food they ate before they started drinking.

If you are ever unsure about whether you might be over the general alcohol limit, the only way to protect yourself and your driver’s licence is to just not drive.

If you are sentenced for a DUI offence of drink driving over the general alcohol limit, your licence will be disqualified for a minimum of 1 month.

You may be eligible to apply for a drink driving work licence if you satisfy all other requirements.

Middle Alcohol Limit

An alcohol reading of 0.10% is known as the middle alcohol limit which means that you will commit a ‘middle-range’ drink driving offence if your alcohol reading is 0.10% or above.

Although this offence is very similar to drink driving over the general alcohol limit, the consequences are more serious.

In particular, a person who is convicted of drink driving over the middle alcohol limit will have their driver’s licence disqualified for a minimum period of 3 months.

Also, when you are charged with an offence of drink driving over the middle alcohol limit, your driver’s licence will be immediately suspended until the matter is finalised. If you are caught driving during this suspension period, you will commit the offence of unlicensed driving.

You may be eligible to apply for a drink driving work licence if you satisfy all other requirements.

High Alcohol Limit

The most serious DUI or drink driving offence in Queensland is driving over the high alcohol limit, which occurs when a person’s alcohol reading is 0.15% or above.

This offence is also known as ‘driving under the influence of liquor’ (or “UIL” for short) as it is legally assumed that a person’s ability to drive will be influenced by the amount of alcohol that they have drunk.

Like middle range drink driving offences, your driver’s licence will be immediately suspended until the matter is finalised and you will be committing an offence of unlicensed driving if you are caught driving during this suspension period.

Penalties for drink driving over the high alcohol limit are severe – the minimum disqualification period is six months with no maximum disqualification period.

It is therefore common for drivers to be disqualified for 12 months or more, depending on their alcohol limit and the circumstances of the offence. In more serious cases, such as where the person is a repeat offender, penalties can include probation, community service and even jail.

If you are convicted of a high range drink driving offence, you will also need to have an alcohol interlock device installed in your car before you can get your licence back after the disqualified driving offence ends.

Drink driving work licences are not available for high range drink driving offences.

DUI and Drink Driving Penalties

Magistrates have a number of sentencing options for drink driving offences.

In regards to DUI penalties, at minimum, a driver can expect to be fined and disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for at least 1 month.

In some cases, the magistrate might decide the probation is an appropriate penalty. Probation involves a probation officer meeting with the driver, usually once per week, to monitor their behaviour and to provide support and assistance if possible.

A magistrate may also decide that community service is an appropriate penalty. Community service requires a person to perform a specified number of hours of unpaid community service as a way of ‘paying back their debt’ to the community.

In more serious cases, magistrates have the option of imposing a jail sentence. For less serious (but still serious) cases, the magistrate may not require the driver to actually spend time in jail. This can be achieved by either suspending the jail sentence or granting immediate parole.

However in the most serious of cases, a magistrate can order that the driver must spend actual time in prison.

Imprisonment is normally only required for repeat offenders or for drivers who committed other serious offences at the same time (such as dangerous driving).

An expert dui and drink driving solicitor will be able to help you reduce any penalty you might receive.

Work Licences

As discussed above, some people may be eligible for a drink driving work licence which will allow them to continue driving for work purposes.

There are strict conditions that must be met before a person is even allowed to apply for a work licence.

For example, a person cannot apply for a work licence if they have a previous DUI conviction within the last five years.

If a driver is eligible to apply for a drink driving work licence, they will still need to convince the magistrate that they deserve to have the work licence.

When considering the application, the magistrate will look at whether your traffic and/or criminal history shows you to be a risk to the public or not. If you have a very poor traffic history, the magistrate may decide that you do not deserve a work licence.

The magistrate will also consider the hardship that you will suffer if you lose your licence, since work licences are only granted to people who rely on their licence for work.

Therefore if you live right next door to your office and you don’t need to drive for work, your application will be refused as the loss of your licence won’t impact your employment.

Work licences are not available for family or other personal reasons.

Harper Finch Lawyers have an outstanding success rate when applying for drink driving work licences. If you need your licence, contact one of our drink driving solicitors now!


DUI and Drink Driving Lawyers

If you have been charged with a drink driving or DUI offence in Queensland, it is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced drink driving lawyer.

Harper Finch Lawyers are Brisbane’s leading DUI and drink driving lawyers appear in courts throughout Queensland drivers just like you who have been charged with DUI offences. This means that we know what needs to be said and done to ensure that you get the best outcome possible.

Don’t take the risk of going to court alone – contact us now to obtain expert advice and representation from Harper Finch Lawyers, the leading drink driving and DUI lawyers in Brisbane.