In Queensland, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is an offence under section 79 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.
The offence of DUI can attract a fine of up to 28 penalty units or imprisonment for up to nine months, for a first offence.
If a person commits a DUI offence within five years of being found guilty of a DUI offence, or an indictable offence involving a motor vehicle, they are liable to a penalty of a fine of up to 60 penalty units or imprisonment for up to 18 months.
If a person commits a DUI offence within five years of being found guilty of two other drink driving offences, they are liable to a penalty of a fine of up to 60 penalty units or imprisonment for up to 18 months.
What must be proven for DUI?
For a person to be found guilty of DUI, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the:
- Drove a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or
- Attempted to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel;
- Were in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel;
While under the influence of liquor or a drug.
Drink driving or DUI?
For a person to be found guilty of a drink driving offence such as driving while over the general alcohol limit (section 79(2)) or driving while over the middle alcohol limit (section 79 (1F), the person must be proven to have registered a blood alcohol content of above the relevant limit. This evidence is usually in the form of the results of a breath test administered by the police.
Conversely, a person charged with DUI does not have to be proven to have had a particular blood alcohol content. All that is required to find them guilty is evidence that they were affected by liquor or a drug.
Drink driver education programs
When a person is found guilty of a drink driving offence, they may be required to complete a drink driver education program prior to having their license reinstated. When a person is charged with DUI or another drink driving offence, they may also wish to undertake a drink driver education program voluntarily prior to being sentenced. The successful completion of such a program may be used to support a person’s submission to the court that they have shown remorse for their offending and taken steps to avoid similar offending if the future.
Pleading guilty to DUI
When a person has been charged with DUI and is planning to plead guilty, they should do the following in preparation for court:
- If they are suffering financial hardship, prepare evidence of their income and expenses so that the court may take this into account when determining the amount of any fine it imposes;
- Obtain evidence of any particular hardship that a license disqualification will cause them. For example, if they require their license for work or care obligations, provide evidence of this so that the court can bear this in mind when determining any license disqualification period;
- Obtain character references to tender in court from people who know them well and are aware of the charges;
- Consider participating in a drink driver education program;
- Provide their lawyer with instructions as to the circumstances of the offence and why they were driving;
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.