In Queensland, it is an offence to fail to provide a specimen of breath, or saliva for the purposes of determining a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Strictly speaking, there are two types of offences for failing to provide a specimen of breath or saliva. The first offence occurs when a person fails to provide a sample other than at a police station or in a booze bus. It is common for this kind of offence to occur at a roadside RBT, although it could happen somewhere else, such as a person’s home. The other offence occurs when a person fails to provide a specimen at a police station or booze bus.
Similarly high penalties attach to both offences.
The “roadside” failure offence attracts a maximum penalty of a fine in excess of $5,000 or 6 months’ imprisonment. Failure to provide a specimen of breath, after being taken to a police station or booze bus, is treated the same as a high-range drink-driving offence: the maximum penalty is a fine in excess of $3,500 or 9 months’ imprisonment and disqualification from driving for at least 6 months (for a first offence).
Work licences are available for anyone who is charged with a “roadside” failure to provide offence (as long as the person is eligible for a work licence). No work licence is available for the “police station” (or booze bus) failure to provide charge.
The word “fail” is broader than mere refusal (although it also includes refusal) – a person “fails” to provide a sample if that sample is insufficient to conduct the test or is not provided in such a way that allows for the test to be conducted. For example, if a person starts to breathe into a breathalyser, but stops before a sufficient sample is taken, that could amount to a “failure” to provide a sample, and the police could charge the person with failing to provide a sample. Similarly, if the person sucks in air, instead of blowing into the breathalyser, that person could also be charged with this offence.
Police Powers to Require a Sample of Breath, Saliva, or Blood
Police have the power to require someone to provide a specimen of breath, saliva, or blood for the purposes of determining that person’s blood-alcohol content. A police office may only make this request if the officer reasonably suspects that the person either drove a motor vehicle, attempted to drive it, or was in charge of the vehicle up to 3 hours prior (note that the definition of being “in charge” of a vehicle is quite broad – the person need only be in a position to be able to operate the vehicle without first taking control of the vehicle from someone else). The police may also require someone to provide a specimen of breath, saliva, or blood at the scene of a traffic accident that caused injury, death, or damage to property.
Once a police officer makes such a request, that officer may take the person to the nearest police station, or to some other place (such as a hospital) that has the necessary equipment for carrying out a breath or saliva test. The person may be taken there by force, if necessary. The police officer may require multiple samples of either breath or saliva (or both) if it is reasonably necessary to do so in order to complete testing.
It is a defence to the charge to prove that, at the time the request was made to provide a sample of breath or saliva, the person was suffering from an illness that made them incapable of providing such a sample. It is also a defence to prove that, at the time of the request, the person’s health could have been affected by giving the sample. Proof is provided by a medical certificate that the person carries with them and can show the police officer at the time of the request. Otherwise, the person must prove that they had such a medical condition in court, after they have been charged. Remember, however, that the police can ask the person for a different type of sample.
It is also a defence to prove, to the court, that the request was not made lawfully or that there was a substantially good reason to not provide a specimen (other than trying to avoid the results of the test).
A QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9 or police court brief) is a document prepared by the Police Prosecutions unit when someone is charged with an offence. The QP9 lists the exact charge with a brief description of the facts which the Police are alleging against you as well as attaching any criminal or traffic history. Depending on what Court your matter is to be heard in, and how busy the Police are, the document will be provided prior to your Court date or at Court.
It is essential to carefully go over the QP9 prior to entering a plea before the Court, as you are not only pleading guilty to the charge but also to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge that the Police allege in the QP9, this may include the way you acted towards the Police, things that you said or admitted or information recorded by the Police that you may believe is incorrect or inaccurate. This should be remembered when being charged as harsher penalties or less leniency can apply if the document states that you were rude, unruly, unhelpful etc. Also being aggressive when being charged can easily result in a further charge of resisting arrest or obstructing or assaulting police.
Obtaining the QP9 or having a Lawyer obtain the document for you and having a thorough look over the QP9 before you enter your plea is essential so that if there is any discrepancies they are looked into.
In Court the Police will read out the charge and a brief rundown of their version of events from the QP9. It is then that your Lawyer, or yourself if you are self-represented, can have your say to the Magistrate. If there are significant factors from the QP9 in which you disagree with it may be possible to draft submissions and put them forward to the Police Prosecutions asking them to reconsider the charge or amend what is written in the QP9. A Lawyer can advise you as to the possibility of making submissions and if what the likely chances of the Prosecutor accepting them would be.
Some examples of our success in getting the Police Prosecutions to lower or dismiss charges are:
In more serious matters it is possible to request a full brief of evidence. This document is like a QP9 but much more detailed and will include any witness statements, CCTV or audio footage. Where applicable it is also possible to request any Police body camera or police vehicle camera footage that may be available.
Needless to say engaging a Lawyer to represent you ensures that all avenues are explored to ensure all aspects are covered and you ultimately receive the absolute best outcome possible.
Here at Clarity Law we appear in the Courts with clients all over South East Queensland. It is this experience that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do. We also offer the most competitive prices for representation in Queensland click here to see what we will charge. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm.
The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.
Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.
When most people hear DUI they usually associate it with a drink driving charge. Whilst this is correct, as DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ it can in fact relate to either a drink or drug driving offence.
There are three levels of drink driving charges, being
Driving with a low BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .05 and .099. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).
Driving with a mid BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .1 and .149. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 3 month suspension of your licence.
Driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol charge is a result of a reading of .15 or above. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence.
A DUI drug charge means that you were charged with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. Drug tests search for traces of THC (active ingredient in marijuana), MDMA (speed or ecstasy) and methamphetamine.
There are two levels of drug driving charges, being
Driving with a relevant drug present in your system
This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system but they appear to be unaffected by the drugs or substance. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 24 hours. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).
Driving under the influence of drugs (“DUI”)
This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system and/or the driver appears to be affected and impaired by drugs. This will be ascertained by the driver’s appearance (eyes, facials expressions etc), behaviour and mannerisms. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence. Whilst if you are sentenced to in excess of this period the Magistrate can take into consideration the length of time you have already had your licence suspended, if you receive the minimum of 6 months, this period will be served in full from your Court date.
Driving under the influence of drugs can be a result of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs (designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs) prescription drugs (Xanax, Valium) and even some over the counter medical prescriptions. Anytime that you are effected by a substance which alters your abilities in any way you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
A roadside drug test is simply an oral swab which is tested immediately and will indicate if there is traces of drugs in your system. If the test indicates the presence of drugs you will need to undergo another drug test which is sent to a Government laboratory for testing. You will receive a drug analysis certificate when it is available from laboratory testing. If your roadside drug test indicates no drugs in your system, the Police are still able to order you to undergo a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of a drug or substance.
We have been successful in the past in having some drug DUI charges downgraded to driving with a relevant drug in the drivers system by in putting forward to the Police Prosecutions submissions giving reasoning and information as to why the client should not have been charged with a drug DUI and have only received a driving with the relevant drug in their system charge.
Whilst with alcohol there are rough guidelines to how long the alcohol will take to be processed and out of your system there is no such recommendation for how long drugs may stay in a person’s system for. Many people find themselves being charged with driving with drugs in their system long after they have consumed or ingested drugs. Because each person responds to the consumption of drugs in a different manner based on their personal chemistry, past use, type of drug taken, amount of drug consumed, height, weight and other factors, unlike alcohol consumption there is no way in when to tell when the drugs have left your system.
It is important to note that you do not have to be driving your vehicle to be charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you could be charged if you are merely sitting in the driver’s seat.
Charges of low or mid BAC or a driving with a relevant drug in your system, depending on your circumstances and previous traffic history, can allow you to apply for a work licence to be issued to you for the duration of your suspension period. An alcohol or drug DUI charge however eliminates this option.
Here at Clarity Law we represent people charged with drink and drug driving offences in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients. Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do. We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice. If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.