High-Range Drink Driving

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.   

What is High-Range Drink Driving?

It is an offence in Queensland to drive a vehicle whilst your blood alcohol is above the legal limit.  High Range Drink Driving is commonly known as driving under the influence or DUI for short.  You are found to be high range drink driving when you are driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.15%.  

High range drink driving is the most serious offence of its kind and holds a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment for a first offence or a fine up to 28 penalty units, currently being $3,736.6‬0. 

The penalties increase if it is a second or subsequent offence within a 5 year period. 

When charged with high range drink driving your licence will be immediately suspended until the charge against you is determined in Court. 

You are not eligible to make an application for a restricted work licence.  At the conclusion of your court disqualification you will have to have an alcohol interlock device installed in your car if you want to get your drivers licence back from Queensland Transport.   

What Is High Range Drink Driving 1

The Law:

Section 79(1) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld) states; 

Offence of driving etc. while under the influence Any person who, while under the influence of liquor or a drug— 

(a) drives a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or 

(b) attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or 

(c) is in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; 

is guilty of an offence 

Elements of the Offence:

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence.  Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  For the charge of Drink Driving the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant – The prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender;
  2. Did Drive or was in charge of a motor vehicle;
  3. A Vehicle – as defined under the legislation;
  4. On a Road or Road Related Area;
  5. Blood Alcohol Concentration – with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.150% 

Maximum Penalty for High Range Drink Driving:

High range drink driving is the most serious offence of its kind and hold a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment for a first offence or a fine of $3,080.00 

Any second, or subsequent offences within a period of 5 years carries a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment or a fine of 60 penalty units. 

For third and any subsequent offences within a period of 5 years of the first offence the law requires the Court to impose a sentence which includes imprisonment. This does not necessarily mean the individual is required to serve the full sentence. 

Disqualification: 

Upon convicting a person of high range drink driving a court is required to disqualify that them from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver’s licence for a minimum of 6 months for a first offence, a minimum of 1 year for a second, and a minimum of 2 years for any subsequent, offences. A court is empowered to disqualify a person absolutely (meaning they can never hold or apply for another Queensland driver’s licence) even for a first high range drink driving offence (though in practice this is rare). If more than one period of disqualification is imposed (for example for repeat offences), they must be served cumulatively (that is, each period of disqualification does not commence until the previous one has expired). 

Upon convicting a person of high range drink driving the Court is required to have an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device fitted to their nominated vehicle for a period of 12 months once they receive their licence back.  

Convictions: 

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Drink Driving – High Range, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time); 
  • Intensive Corrections Order; 
  • Probation; 
  • Community Service Order; 
  • Fines. 

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant. 

Possible Defences: 

There are a number of defences available to charges at law.  Not every defence is available to every charge.  You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge.  Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are; 

  • Necessity; 
  • Mistake of Fact; 
  • Public Safety; 
  • Self Defence or defence of another person; 
  • Intoxication; 
  • Provocation; 
  • Accident; 
  • Duress; 
  • Compulsion; 
  • Insanity; 
  • Automatism 

The charge Drink Driving – High Range will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland.  The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty.  There is no jury in the Magistrates Court.    

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer. 

Brooke Winter Solicitors

High-Range Drink Driving Lawyer

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over the phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court.  

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court. 

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