If you have been charged with drink driving in Queensland, you should seek legal advice so you can determine the best way to proceed. You need to be made aware of the length of suspension you will receive, whether you are eligible for a work licence, and if there are any drink driver programs available in your area that can help reduce the length of your suspension.
All DUI matters in QLD go through the court system, and if you fail to attend a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
The Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 governs the drink and drug driving offences, and outlines penalties and procedures.
Penalties and Suspensions for DUI in QLD
The severity of your DUI penalty will depend on your BAC level measured during the breath test at the time of the offence, and your traffic history. If you have a BAC 0.05 and over but under 0.10, you will be suspended for a period of between 1 to 9 months. If you have a BAC between 0.10 and 0.149 you will be suspended for a period of between 3 to 9 months. For offences with a BAC of 0.15 or higher you will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months with a maximum of the Magistrates discretion. If you are required to have a zero alcohol reading, and your BAC is greater than 0.00 but less than 0.05 you will lose your licence for a period of 1 to 9 months. For repeat offenders you could lose your licence for a period of two years, be fined up to $6600, or sentenced with a term of imprisonment. Anyone who has been charged with a BAC less than 0.10 will receive an automatic 24 hour suspension.
You will receive an immediate suspension not allowing you to drive until your court date if your BAC was over 0.10, or you fail to provide a specimen of breath or blood to the police. When you have served your suspension period you must apply to the Department of Transport for your licence to be re-issued, and you will receive a probationary licence for at least 1 year, which will require you to have a zero alcohol limit. If your offence related to have a BAC greater than 0.15, you failed to provide a blood or breath sample, dangerous driving while affected by alcohol, or 2 or more driving offences in the past 5 years, you will be required to have an alcohol ignition interlock fitted to your car for a minimum of 12 months.
Work Licence Eligibility
Queensland is one of only a few states that offer DUI offenders the ability to drive for work when they have been charged with DUI. A Work Licence Application can be made at the time of your first court appearance, and must be done prior to sentencing. To be eligible you must have a BAC under 0.15%, be on an open QLD licence, were not driving for your job, and have no previous DUI or dangerous driving offence in the past 5 years. You must satisfy the court that if you are not able to drive for work you will lose your employment, which will cause undue hardship on yourself and your family. The application form must be accompanied by an Affidavit from your employer, and yourself.
The Affidavits must confirm your job description, the hours of work, that without a licence your employment will be terminated and the financial hardship you will suffer. The length of your work licence will depend on your BAC reading. In some situations you can also apply for a work licence if you have been charged with drug driving.
Drink Driver Programs in QLD
There are two main programs in Queensland; the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program, and the Under the Limit program. The first is a court diversion program, and the latter will form part of a probationary order. QTOP is an educational program, and is currently being delivered on the Gold Coast, and in Brisbane. The program is an educational court diversion program if you plead guilty to a traffic offence. You can commence the program as soon as you are charged, or obtain an adjournment from the court at your first appearance. To do so, you will have to enter a plea of guilty, and have the sentencing adjourned until after the course is completed. The course takes 5 weeks, and is held one evening per week. The Under the Limit program is designed as a rehabilitation program and you are referred to participate by the Court. The program is conducted at local TAFE colleges throughout Queensland for one night per week for an 11 week period.
Drug Driving in QLD
The police have the right to pull you over at any time, and administer an on the spot drug test by requesting a saliva sample from you. The saliva test will detect cannabis, MDMA (ecstasy), and methylamphetamine (ice). If one of these drugs is detected you will be charged with Drug Driving, and disqualified from driving for at least 6 months. If the police believe that your driving has been affected by drugs, either illegal or legal, you can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. The latter carries are far more severe penalty, which can include a term of imprisonment.