Drinking alcohol reduces your ability to drive safely. Alcohol affects your judgement, vision, coordination and reflexes — increasing your risk of having a crash.

Queensland has 4 alcohol limits. These limits are used to apply penalties if you’re caught driving with an illegal blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) for your licence.

The limits are:

  1. ‘zero alcohol’ limit–you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is more than zero;
  2. general alcohol limit–you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.05;
  3. middle alcohol limit–you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.10;
  4. high alcohol limit–you will be over this limit if the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath is equal to or more than 0.15.
 
Your legal BAC depends on the licence you hold or the vehicle that you want to drive.

Breath testing

You can be stopped when operating a motor vehicle and tested by a police officer at any time of the day and night for a random/roadside breath test to see if you have alcohol in your system.

If your breath test is positive, you will need to provide another breath specimen for a breathalyser either at the roadside, if available, or back at a police station.

During this process you aren’t required to make any comment other than to provide your full name and address. The police will also ask to see your Driver’s Licence to confirm your identity.

What happens if I am charged?

If after the second test, you test positive, your driver's licence will be suspended for 24 hours. If your BAC reading is over 0.10% your licence will be suspended immediately.

Your licence will also be suspended if you fail to provide police with a specimen of breath or blood when requested or if you have been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

Once charged by the police, you will be provided with a ‘notice to appear’ which will outline:

  • What offence you have been charged with;
  • Your court date; and
  • The location of the court (this will usually be the Magistrates Court closest to where the offence was committed).

When should you contact your lawyer?

When you are released by the police, you should contact your lawyer to make an appointment to discuss your options.

You may be eligible to apply for a ‘work-licence’ to allow you to continue to drive your vehicle for work purposes (if your licence has been suspended), however there are certain conditions that need to be met.

Your lawyer will also outline the court process to you.

What happens at Court?

At your court hearing, a magistrate will decide the length of your licence disqualification, whether you will be fined and/or sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

The severity of the penalty will depend on:

  • Your personal circumstances;
  • Your blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offence; and
  • Your traffic history, including whether you have been previously convicted of a drink driving offence.
 
Each situation is unique, so we recommend that you promptly seek legal advice if you are charged with any driving related offence.