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Drink driving in Queensland and Australia, in general, is a serious traffic offence. If you are caught driving with BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of certain levels, you will be charged and sentenced according to the law.
Drink driving cases in Queensland are handled in a QLD Magistrate court with the Queensland police authority as the prosecution team.
The charges and punishments for a drink driving offence depends on factors like;
If you receive a court summon to appear before the jury for a Drink driving offence, appear with a lawyer. It will be "suicidal" to think you can defend yourselves. In some cases the Magistrates may deny your submission if you appear without a lawyer.
Your best bet for arguing or pleading a drink driving charge is to employ or inform an experienced lawyer.
The penalty an offender gets follows the Queensland regulation on Traffic Offences. However, the prosecution team must prove to the jury that the offender drove or moved their vehicles with such BAC levels.
There are 4 levels of BAC and related punishments;
Learner, Probationary License holders and Drivers of particular vehicles;
Holders of these types of licenses with BAC levels between 0.00 – 0.05 face a license disqualification period of between 3 – 9 months.
The court can also find them a maximum amount of $1929, and impose an imprisonment term of 3 months.
Depending on the degree of the act, the court may impose all or parts of this punishment on the offender
BAC levels of (0.05-0.099)
If the court finds you guilty of driving within this BAC level, you may be looking at a license disqualification period between 1 and 9 months.
Also, the offender may be fined a maximum amount of $1,929 with/or a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months
BAC levels (0.10 – 0.1499)
All license holders guilty of driving with such BAC levels face a license disqualification period of 3 – 12 months. Also, the court can decide to slam them a possible $2,757 fine with/or a 6-month maximum imprisonment term
However, the punishments depend on the degree of the offence and other factors.
BAC levels (0.15 and over)
This is the highest level of drink driving offence in Queensland. All license holders driving with such BAC levels face a minimum license disqualification period of 6 months. The court may also decide to impose a fine amount of $3,859 with/or a maximum imprisonment term of 9 months.
If you are caught driving at BAC levels under 0.10, the Police have the power to suspend your license for a 24 hour period.
Your Driving license will also be suspended immediately if:
This immediate license suspension continues till the drink driving charge is completed in the court; withdrawn, acquitted or discontinued.
When considering a drink driving charge, part of the factor is whether the accused is a repeat offender. All non-first time offenders usually get stiffer penalties than first-time offenders. A repeat offender is a person who has had a drunk driving conviction within the last 5 years.
Those charged with a repeat drink offence may;
Have their car impounded, especially for BAC levels over 0.15 and/or fail to provide a blood/breath specimen)
Try as hard as possible not to get your license taken or seized from you. It includes engaging a good legal team and exploring all possible defence routes. However, if the court pronouncement is not in your favour, it means your license will be seized from you.
For the entire duration when your license is seized, you are prohibited from operating or driving a car. In some cases, this can even include moving your car within your property. It is a graver offence to operate a vehicle without a license or during a suspension.
If your license is suspended, and your appeal for a good behaviour period fails, you must wait out your disqualification period
You can apply for a re-issuance of your driver license once your disqualification period is over. However, you will initially get a probationary driver license for 12 months. This period is a no-alcohol limit period; you must not drink within/close to driving.
Also, the drivers will have to fit an interlock device to their car for 12 months if their BAC was 0.15 or greater, repeat offenders and drivers who refused to provide breath or blood samples.
An interlock device requires drivers to take a breathing test before driving their vehicle. People who must have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle cannot drive another within this period.
One of the drawbacks with having a Drink Driving conviction is that such records will show up on your Police Check in Queensland (QLD). A drunk driving charge will show up as a traffic offence on a police check.
A Police Check result contains details of an individual criminal history sourced from the national database. Convictions recorded in a police check are usually there for life, except if they become Spent.
A Police Check Queensland is an important document to most private or public employers and organisations. Most employers will reject a candidate with certain “related” convictions on their Police Check Queensland.
A drink driving charge is a serious matter at the magistrate. Your best bet is for your legal team to seek loopholes in the charges from the prosecution.
However, it is best to avoid intoxicating drinks or drugs hours before driving.
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