Alcohol, cars and the law

by Kelsey Leahy

We all know that it is illegal to drink alcohol and subsequently drive a car, however, can you be under the legal limit and whilst driving, drink alcohol?

The answer is no.

In Queensland, under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road rules) Regulation 2009 (Qld), a driver cannot drink alcohol while driving a vehicle. The law also states that a supervisor of a learner driver cannot drink alcohol while being a passenger/supervisor of that driver.

Interestingly, the law in Queensland does not explicitly detail whether passengers in your vehicle can drink alcohol while you are driving. So what about if your car is turned off and you are drinking in the car or sleeping in your car after you have consumed alcohol. This may also be breaking the law. Under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld) you can be charged with an offence if you are under the influence of alcohol and are “in charge of a vehicle”. In charge of a vehicle does not relate to your intent to drive the car, but whether you had the ability to drive it, i.e. sitting in the driver’s seat with your keys in the ignition or the keys nearby.

If you have been charged with any of the above, contact our office today to discuss any possible defences or representation you may require.