MCG Legal    FAQ    Drink Driving FAQ

We have included below some of our more frequently asked questions from clients regarding Drink Driving in Queensland. Click on each heading to expand.

For some drivers, you are breaking the law if you drive with any alcohol in your body. If:

  • you have a learner licence;
  • you have a provisional, probationary or restricted licence (for example, a ‘P’ licence), you have a class RE motorbike licence and you have held that licence for less than 12 months or you are learning to ride a class R motorbike;
  • you drive a tractor or specially constructed vehicle; or
  • you drive a truck, a bus, articulated vehicle, road train, a vehicle carrying dangerous goods, a tow truck, pilot vehicle, taxi, limousine or driving instructor vehicle

you are not allowed to drive with any alcohol in your body.

For all other drivers, if the amount of alcohol in your body is 0.05% or more, you are ‘over the limit’ and you are breaking the law.

You don’t have to be driving the car or other vehicle to be breaking the law as you may be what the law calls ‘in charge of the vehicle’ – that includes sleeping or just sitting in the car.

If you don’t drive but you try to start the vehicle or move it or you are sitting in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition or nearby, you may be breaking the law if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if the police haven’t seen you driving, just by being in the car under the influence of alcohol or drugs you risk being charged.

If you work in an industry which requires you to use a vehicle during work hours, you may be eligible to apply for a work licence. You will need to demonstrate to the Court that you will suffer a special hardship if you are not permitted to use your licence for work purposes. Most often, special hardship means that you will lose your job if you lose your licence. The flow-on effect being that you will be unable to meet your financial obligations.

You will be eligible to apply for a work licence if, at the time of being caught drink driving you:

  • held a current Queensland open driver’s licence for the vehicle you were driving;
  • had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15%;
  • were not driving for your job or already under a work licence; and
  • were not driving under a licence that required your BAC to be zero e.g. if you are on a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted license.

You must still have an open driver’s licence at the time of applying for your work licence so if you lose your licence for some reason between being caught for drink driving and appearing in Court, you will be ineligible to apply. You will also be ineligible to apply for a work licence if in the last five years:

  • you have been convicted of a drink driving offence;
  • you have been convicted of dangerous driving; and
  • had a licence suspended or cancelled (although there are some circumstances which still permit you to apply to the Court for a work licence.  You should seek legal advice about your eligibility to apply for a work licence if your driver’s licence has been suspended or cancelled in the last five years).

If you have been charged with driving ‘over the limit’, your licence will immediately be suspended for the following 24 hours. If you drive within that 24 hour period, even if it is just to go back to where you left your car and drive it home, you are breaking the law. If you are caught going back to get your car and are still over the limit, you can be charged again for drink driving and also with the more serious offence of driving with a suspended licence. Even if you go back to get your car and you are under the limit, you still risk being caught for driving while suspended.

For some drink driving offences your licence is suspended immediately, not just for 24 hours, and if you drive any time before you go to Court you are breaking the law. These include:

  • driving/in-charge of a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.10% or more (the high alcohol limit), or
  • not giving the police a breath specimen or allowing them to take blood for it to be analysed
  • a second drink driving offence while you still have a drink driving charge to be finalised in Court.

If the police think you may be under the influence of alcohol they can require you to:

  • give your name and address
  • show your driver’s licence
  • take a roadside breath test – this test must be done within two hours of you driving or being in charge of the vehicle
  • get a doctor to take blood from you for a blood test
  • take a breath test at a police station

It is an offence if you:

  • don’t give your name and address
  • refuse or don’t take a breath test (at the roadside or at the police station). This is called failing to provide a breath specimen.
  • refuse to allow a blood test (but you have no right to insist that there be a blood test).

The amount of the fine and extent of the period of disqualification is at the complete discretion of the Court and depends heavily on the individual circumstances of the case. However, we are able to provide a rough guide about what fine and disqualification period you might expect for a first time offender on an open licence:

Reading Potential Fine Disqualification Period
0.05 – 0.06 $200 1 month
0.07 – 0.08 $400 3 months
0.09 – 0.10 $600 4 months
0.11 – 0.12 $700 6 months
0.13 – 0.14 $800 8 months
0.15 – 0.16 $1000 10 months
0.17 – 0.19 $1200 12 months
0.20 + $1500 15 months

If you have been caught for drink driving previously, or are unlicenced, or under the age of 25 years, the fines and disqualification periods increase and you should seek legal advice about what fines and disqualification periods might apply.

Most importantly, you should seek legal advice. You should also ask about any traffic programs endorsed by the Court that might apply to your situation. The reason for completing Court endorsed traffic programs is the Court wants to know that you accept you made a mistake and you are doing something to prevent it happening again.

If you are unsure about your situation, you should always get legal representation. In particular, you should obtain legal advice if you:-

  • have been charged with your third or more drink driving charge within 5 years;
  • want to contest a drink driving charge;
  • need to know your prospects of success in appealing a decision of a Magistrate about the disqualification period; and
  • have more questions about applying for a work licence for drink driving.

Your solicitor will act as your advocate in Court, they will know the laws relating to drink driving and Court room procedures and will be able to best put forward the positive aspects of your situation. The Court appreciates that you have gone to the trouble of getting legal representation and will deliver a more favourable sentence as a result.

Back to FAQ’s

The team at MCG Legal have extensive experience in Traffic Law matters. If you’re facing a drink driving charge on the Gold Coast please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries.

Recent Articles

What if You're a Stay-at-Home Mum and Getting Divorced?

It is a sad fact that not all relationships last. For many couples, the assets they accumulate during their relationship represent their entire life’s savings. So you might be asking: is there any position more disadvantageous than that of the stay-at-home mum? Well, don’t despair – th...

Read More

The Best Co-Working Spaces on the Gold Coast

In recent years, the Gold Coast has become an entrepreneurial hub. As any entrepreneur would know, the flexibility associated with working for yourself is much better than the 9-5 grind of being chained to a desk. However, with freedom comes procrastination. Fortunately, there are plenty of great co...

Read More

Professional meet-ups on the Gold Coast

If you believe the old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” then you will appreciate the importance of meeting like minded people. Professional meetups have been around for quite some time, and people know of them as an excellent way to meet new people with similar interests. Howeve...

Read More

Tips to Remember When Purchasing a New Home

Purchasing property is often the most significant purchases you will ever make. It’s a complex process requiring many decisions. However, there is no need to panic! We help property buyers and sellers on the Gold Coast and throughout Queensland with this process all the time. The following ar...

Read More

Our Top Australia Day Activities

You can’t beat Australia day on the Gold Coast! Cold drinks, great surf and raucous backyard parties. It doesn’t matter where you turn, you’re in for a good time. If you need some fresh ideas on how to spend your Australia day, check out some of our favourite ways to celebrate Aus...

Read More

Nick's Story

Last month we gave you an insight into MCG Legal’s Principal and founder Matt Gill. This month we’re throwing the spotlight on Nick Harrison! Nick arrived at MCG Legal with a unique blend of theoretical and ‘real life’ experience. Before becoming a lawyer, Nick served the community for appr...

Read More

Everything you need to know about DNA & Paternity testing

In Australia, it is estimated that more than 10,000 people each year sign up to find out whether their child is, in fact, biologically theirs. While that number seems large, it isn’t compared to places like the United States, where there are about five times as many paternity tests per head as...

Read More

Updates On E-conveyancing in NSW

Times are changing, and technology is playing a more pivotal role in conveyancing and the property services industry as a whole. As a Gold Coast law firm that helps clients with conveyancing and property work, we wanted to highlight to all our clients in NSW the changes that have recently been made ...

Read More

Why You Need a Strong Advocate on Your Side

Having a strong advocate on your side is critical. In this piece we dive into why it is so important to get you the best possible outcome. You don’t want a piecemeal lawyer who can’t tell you directly what they believe your best course of action. Having clear advice helps put on the path...

Read More

5 Reasons To Keep Your Will Up To Date

A Will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever sign. Despite this, only 59% of Australians actually have a Will and many of those do not have a Will that reflects their current circumstances. You cannot overlook the importance of planning for your family’s future. If you do ...

Read More

How We Help Clients Referred To Us

For most professional service providers, a great deal of work comes through referrals. The reason for this is that most professionals focus their advice in a particular area, and as such, when questions come up that they cannot help with, they want to make sure their client gets the best advice from...

Read More

Matt's Story

Many of you will know that MCG Legal has been advising Gold Coast businesses for over a decade, but have you heard how we started out? Our Principal and founder Matt Gill started MCG Legal in 2009, but you may not know that before starting his life in law, Matt served for over a decade as a police o...

Read More