Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Tuesday, 07 May 2024 17:05

Tickets for drink driving?

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A new bill introduced into Queensland Parliament would allow the police to issue penalty infringement notices (tickets) to people found low range drink driving.  The ticket carries with it two options, accept a mandatory 2 month disqualification or elect to go to court.


What the proposed law says

Currently if a driver is caught low range drink driving they are issued a notice to appear in court.    Low range drink driving is a reading between .05 and .099.

The court can currently disqualify a persons licence for between 1 and 9 months for a first offence and impose a fine plus a court levy will apply.

The Queensland Community Safety Bill 2024 proposes that the police instead of issuing a notice to appear in court will issue a ticket that carries a mandatory 2 month disqualification along with a fine set at 7.5 penalty units (currently $1,161).  If the driver accepts that ticket they will lose their licence for 2 months but not have to go to court.  The law calls this an Administrative Disqualification.

If the driver does not accept the ticket they can elect to go to court but in court the minimum disqualification period a court can impose will be increased to 2 months (the same as the ticket) and can be up to 9 months.

The driver would have 28 days after being served the ticket to decide what they want to do.


Why is the Queensland Government doing this?

In the explanatory note to the bill the Government says it is doing this to free up time and resources for the police and the courts.


What it means in practice

It is expected that unless the driver is seeking a work licence the overwhelming majority of people issued with a ticket for drink driving will accept the ticket, take the 2 month disqualification and not go to court.


Who can’t elect to accept a ticket for drink driving

The following people cannot be issued with a ticket for drink driving.

  • Open licence holders who have a previous drink driving offence in the past 5 years

  • Unlicensed drivers

  • P Platers or learner drivers

  • People driving heavy vehicles, taxis or other prescribed vehicles where the alcohol limit is zero.


How do I elect to take the ticket?

This isn’t entirely clear.  It could be through an online election or by not making an election to go to court within 28 days.


How do I elect to not accept the ticket

Details would be attached to the ticket.  It is anticipated that it would be through an online or written election.


When would the disqualification start?

The disqualification starts 28 days after the ticket is issued by the police.


Should I choose to take a ticket?

You would need to take legal advice for your personal circumstances.  If you don’t intend to or can’t apply for a work licence or don’t care if a conviction is recorded then taking the ticket might very well end up the best decision for most people as it avoids court and guarantees the minimum disqualification period will be applied.


When should I choose not to take a ticket?

If you choose to accept the ticket you will be disqualified for 2 months.  If you need to drive to get to work or for work this could be devastating.

If you need a licence to maintain your employment or earn an income you should look at electing court and applying for a work licence.

If you accept the ticket you CANNOT later apply for a work licence.

See our article on work licences for more information.


Will a conviction for drink driving be recorded?

The law states that a court can decide not to record a conviction for a drink driving charge if it would impact a person’s economic or social wellbeing or chances of finding employment.

Given if a person accepts the ticket then no court will be involved and therefore the conviction would be recorded.  This recording may affect a person’s;

  1. Ability to travel

  2. Ability to get work


Is giving tickets for drink driving a good idea?

The government has stressed that drink and drug driving is a major contributor to the road toll.  The road toll is increasing again so it is hard to understand how giving tickets for low range drink driving will help reduce the amount of people drinking driving but it certainly could free up more police or court time and certainly the government is under pressure to divert more police resources to domestic violence and youth crime

In our opinion the following factors confuse us in how this proposal will reduce the road toll;

  • Going to court forces a person to confront their actions and understand the seriousness of drink driving. Paying a ticket and accepting a disqualification just does not have the same impact.

  • The is a big difference when it comes to road safety between someone who is .051 and .099 and yet all low range drink drivers no matter the reading will get the same penalty

  • These proposed laws do not apply to drug drivers


Will the proposals become law?

The bill is currently before the Parliament.  Public submissions are currently open. 

You can make a submission in regards to the law by clicking here.

The key dates are as follows;

Submissions close:

Thursday 16 May 2024 at 10.00am

Public hearing:

Friday 24 May 2024

Report due date:

Friday 14 June 2024


Key points

  • The proposed law would allow the police to issue a ticket for low range drink driving charges

  • The disqualification period would be set at 2 months with a fine of 7.5 penalty units (currently $1.161)

  • The driver could elect to go to court but this is likely to be limited to those seeking a work licence or who need to try and have no conviction recorded.

  • A person must elect to take the ticket or go to court within 28 days (or it they don’t elect they are taken to want to start the 2 month disqualification and avoid court.

  • P Platers and people who have had a drink driving charge in the last 5 years must go to court

  • A conviction would be recorded if someone accepts the ticket


Last modified on Tuesday, 07 May 2024 17:17
Steven Brough

Steven Brough is the Founder of Clarity Law.  He is one of the most experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland having appeared in court many thousands of time throughout Queensland since 2010.  He has authored over 100 articles about every aspect of traffic law in Queensland.

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