Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Friday, 24 May 2024 11:42

Imprisonment for Drink Driving in Queensland

Written by

Navigating the legal landscape after a drink driving charge can be daunting, with the consequences in Queensland being particularly severe. As a law firm dedicated to providing expert legal advice and support, Clarity Law is here to offer a comprehensive guide on what you need to know about imprisonment for drink driving in Queensland.  While imprisonment for drink driving is rare there are circumstances when the court might impose a prison sentence.


Understanding Drink Driving Laws in Queensland

In Queensland, drink driving offences are treated with utmost seriousness due to their potential impact on road safety. The penalties can range from fines and license disqualification to, in the most severe cases, imprisonment. Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone facing a drink driving charge.


Factors Influencing Penalties

Several factors influence the severity of penalties for drink driving offences, including:

  • BAC Level: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels play a significant role. Higher BAC levels result in harsher penalties.
  • Repeat Offences: Prior drink driving convictions can lead to more severe penalties.
  • Circumstances of the Offence: Aggravating factors such as causing an accident or having passengers in the vehicle can increase penalties.


When Does Imprisonment Become a Possibility?

Imprisonment is considered a last resort for drink driving offences, but under certain conditions, it can become a reality. These include:


High BAC Levels

If a driver has a BAC level significantly above the legal limit, particularly those classified under high-range drink driving (0.15% BAC and above), the courts may impose imprisonment, though usually if it is not the first offence or an accident was involved.


Repeat Offenders

For individuals with prior drink driving convictions, the likelihood of facing imprisonment increases. The court may impose a custodial sentence to deter repeat offences and protect public safety.

The law in fact mandates imprisonment must be imposed if this is your third high range drink driving charge in 5 years.


Aggravating Circumstances

Certain scenarios can aggravate the severity of the offence, leading to imprisonment. These include:

  • Causing an Accident: Drink driving leading to an accident, especially one resulting in injury or death, significantly increases the chances of imprisonment.
  • Driving with Passengers: Having passengers, particularly minors, in the vehicle at the time of the offence can lead to harsher penalties.


The Legal Process: What to Expect

Facing a drink driving charge can be overwhelming, but understanding the legal process can provide some clarity and preparation.


Initial Arrest and Charge

Upon being charged with drink driving, you will be required to appear in court. The specifics of this process vary depending on the severity of the offence and whether it is a first-time or repeat offence.

If you are charged with mid range or high range the police will also immediately suspend your drivers licence.


Court Appearance

During your court appearance, the magistrate will consider various factors, including:

  • BAC Level: The higher your BAC, the more severe the penalty.
  • Previous Convictions: Prior offences will weigh heavily against you.
  • Circumstances: Aggravating factors such as accidents or endangering passengers will be taken into account.


Legal Representation

Having expert legal representation is crucial. At Clarity Law, our experienced traffic lawyers will guide you through the process, ensuring your rights are protected and presenting the best possible case on your behalf.


Mitigating Factors: Reducing the Risk of Imprisonment

There are several ways to potentially reduce the severity of the penalty, including avoiding imprisonment:


Early Guilty Plea

Entering an early guilty plea can sometimes result in a reduced sentence. It demonstrates remorse and a willingness to accept responsibility for your actions.  Always seek legal advice before pleading guilty.


Character References

Providing character references from employers, community leaders, or other respected individuals can help portray you in a positive light, potentially influencing the court's decision.


Rehabilitation Programs

Participation in alcohol education or rehabilitation programs can demonstrate a commitment to addressing the underlying issues leading to drink driving. This can be a significant mitigating factor in sentencing.

Attending a traffic offenders program like QTOP is also strongly encouraged.


Will I go to prison for Drink Driving?

The main factors in determining if someone will be imprisoned for drink driving is the BAC reading, if an accident occurred or someone was hurt and the traffic history of the driver.

First or even second time offenders without a crash or very high reading generally wouldn’t be imprisoned.

The other factor is even if the court does sentence someone to imprisonment it doesn’t mean they will serve time in prison.  The court can decide to release the person immediately or suspend the whole of the imprisonment for the drink driving charge.


Professional Legal Advice

Engaging a knowledgeable traffic lawyer from Clarity Law can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. Our team will work tirelessly to present mitigating factors and argue for a lesser penalty on your behalf.


Conclusion: Navigating the Complexities of Drink Driving Charges

Drink driving charges, particularly those that can lead to imprisonment, are serious. However, with the right knowledge and legal support, you can navigate this challenging situation more effectively.

At Clarity Law, our mission is to provide expert legal guidance and representation to those facing drink driving charges in Queensland. Our extensive experience in traffic law ensures that you receive the best possible advice and support, tailored to your specific circumstances.

If you or someone you know is facing a drink driving charge, don't navigate it alone. Reach out to Clarity Law today for a confidential consultation and let our expert team guide you through the complexities of the legal process.


Contact Us

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you

  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

  3. Click here to select a time for us to have a free 15 minute telephone conference with you

  4. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  5. Send us a message on Facebook Messenger

  6. Click the help button to the right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide information to assist you, if you want to engage us then great, if not then you at least have more information about drink driving.

You won’t be chased or hounded to engage us.  Remember its critical you get advice before going to court, a drink driving charge no matter the reading will have an impact on you, your family and your employment or business.  


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.

www.drivinglaw.com.au/about-us/our-team/121-steven-brough.html | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.