Low Range Drink Driving
Driving a vehicle while over the “general alcohol limit” but not over the “middle alcohol limit”, commonly called low-range drink driving, is the charge which the Police will lay against a person who is found driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.05% but under 0.10%. Low-range drink driving carries a maximum penalty of 3 months imprisonment and/or a 14 Penalty Unit fine for a first offence.
A second offence within 5 years attracts a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and/or a 20 Penalty Unit fine. A third or subsequent offence in that period, carries a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment and/or a 28 Penalty Unit fine.
Upon convicting a person of low-range drink driving a court is required to disqualify them from holding or obtaining a Queensland drivers licence for between 1 and 9 months (for a first offence). Second and subsequent offences attract a mandatory disqualification period of between 3 and 18 months.
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).
People convicted of repeat low-range drink driving are required to have an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device fitted to their nominated vehicle for a period of 12 months after they get their licence back. More information about the Alcohol Ignition Interlock requirement.
What Happens To My Licence When I Am Caught Drink Driving?
If you are caught low-range drink driving, your licence is immediately suspended for 24 hours.
Driving during an immediate suspension period is an offence and carries a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment and/or a 40 Penalty Unit fine.
After being convicted by a court of low-range drink driving, your licence will be disqualified. Eligible people can apply for a restricted licence, sometimes called a work licence, which allows them to drive for the purpose of earning a living during the period of a court ordered disqualification.
Will I Have To Go To Court For A Low Range Drink Driving Charge?
Yes. All drink driving charges in Queensland are determined in a Magistrates court. Police do not have the power to issue on the spot fines, or infringement notices, for drink driving offences (even low-range drink driving).
Will I Get A Criminal Conviction For Low Range Drink Driving?
More than likely, yes. Low-range drink driving is considered to be a serious offence. The seriousness of the charge is heightened depending on the level of alcohol in the offenders blood or breath. While the penalty for a first offender is unlikely to include a custodial sentence, the recording of a criminal conviction against your name is possible, though not inevitable.
What Does It Mean To Have A Criminal Conviction Recorded?
The consequences of having a criminal conviction recorded can be very serious. For example, most employers will conduct a background check on potential employees as part of the standard recruitment process including a police check. A police check would reveal if you have a criminal conviction recorded against your name, and the charge for which it was recorded. This may impact the employer’s decision in whether or not to employ you.
In certain professions a criminal conviction may need to be reported to a regulatory body. For example, a member of the legal profession must report any criminal convictions to the relevant law society who will then make a determination as to whether that legal practitioner should be allowed to continue to practice law.
A criminal conviction may also inhibit future overseas travel. Most countries require visitors to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. As part of the visa process, the applicant will more than likely need to disclose any criminal convictions. Depending on the policy of the particular country for which the visa is being sought, the visa may or may not be granted based on your criminal record.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Represent Me On My Low Range Drink Driving Charge?
It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. In making this decision, however, you should consider the impact of any form of sentencing on both your life, and the lives of the people close to you. Low-range drink driving is a serious criminal offence, and you will be sentenced accordingly. Further, it can be very daunting for a person with no prior contact with the criminal justice system to find themselves before a court for this sort of charge. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.
WHERE TO NEXT?
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.