The Law
In Queensland, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for open license holders is 0.05%. However, for learner licence holders and provisional licence holders (P1 and P2), the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.00%. Open licence holders instructing learner drivers must also have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00%.

Similarly, drivers are not permitted to drive if they have consumed illicit drugs that would impair their ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Rights & Obligations
As a driver, you are obligated to submit to a random breath test if you are directed to do so by a police officer. If you refuse, you could be held liable for failure to obey a police officer and be subject to penalties.

When you are pulled over for blood alcohol concentration testing, usually the first test administered is a breath test. Failing the roadside breath test is not enough to charge you with driving under the influence of alcohol; a secondary test will be administered either at a police station or a mobile station using a more accurate device.

If the secondary test shows that you are over the legal limit, you will be given a Notice to Appear in the Magistrates Court and at that time your license will be immediately suspended, either for 24 hours or until your matter has been dealt with in Court, depending on a range of circumstances.

You need to be prepared to face some very serious consequences if you are caught driving under the influence. The range of penalties able to be imposed on you will depend on how far above the legal limit your blood alcohol concentration is and your previous traffic history, particularly any previous driving under the influence convictions.

For a low range offence, your licence can be suspended for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 9 months; you could be fined an amount up to $1,766 and potentially spend 3 months in jail. For a mid-range offence, your licence can be suspended for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months; you could be fined up to $2,523 and potentially spend 6 months in prison. Finally, if you fall within a high range offence, your licence can be suspended for a minimum of 6 months; you could be fined up to $3,532 and potentially spend 9 months in prison. You may also fall into the alcohol ignition interlocks program if found to have a high blood alcohol concentration reading. Needless to say, this could have a devastating impact on your life.

Driving under the influence not only puts your own life at risk, but it puts the lives of others at risk – a fact that Court does not take lightly. Therefore, it is always important to consider whether you are legally capable of driving after the consumption of alcohol before getting into the vehicle. On the other hand, in case you are caught driving over the limit, engaging a solicitor can assist you in presenting yourself in the best possible light before the Magistrate and the Court. This will help to ensure you are getting the best possible outcome in your individual circumstances.

If you’ve been issued a notice to appear on a drink driving charge, make an appointment to see BELAW as soon as possible to discuss your matter and your options to proceed with one of our friendly solicitors.

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