A high range drink driving is one of the most serious charges a person who has likely never been to court in Queensland can commit.
There are three different levels of drink driving for a Queensland open licence driver:
.15 and above
If you are charged with a high range drink driving charge in Queensland (also known as DUI or UIL) the mandatory minimum disqualification, for a first time offender, is 6 months and the court can impose a disqualification of anything up to an absolute disqualification. Obviously your penalty will vary based on your exact alcohol reading, your traffic history, personal circumstances and the Magistrate handling your case. This article is written to give someone facing a high range drink driving charge some idea of the court process.
What penalty will the court impose?
It is a given that someone charged with a high range drink driving charge is going to get a more severe penalty than that of a low or mid-range offender. The law states that the licence disqualification period cannot be less than 6 months and will be imposed no matter what other penalties are also imposed. The court will also almost always impose a substantial fine.
If you have similar offences on your traffic history then the court might be looking at whether imprisonment should be imposed.
What can I do to minimise the penalty?
You should always engage a traffic lawyer to represent you if charged with high range drink driving. Your lawyer can work out what things you need to do to reduce your penalty especially considering what Magistrate might be hearing your case. In general we have found the following things useful in trying to reduce the penalty:
- Character references
- Attending a driving course like Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). We are a proud sponsor of QTOP and believe it is one of the most powerful things people facing a high range drink driving charge can do before their court date.
- If you have any alcohol or mental health issues then obtaining appropriate medical help
Will I go to prison?
Generally first time offenders would not be likely to be sent to prison however this depends on a number of factors including;
- Was there a crash
- Was any other cars or property damaged
- Was anyone injured
- What the blood alcohol reading was
- If the person has a poor traffic history
- Which Magistrate hears the matter
Only an experienced traffic lawyer can advise if a prison sentence is likely, even if it the courts have the option of potentially suspending that sentence. If you are worried about a prison sentence then get legal advice.
DUI, UIL and high range drink driving what’s the difference?
In practice DUI, UIL and high range all refer to the same thing. DUI is driving under the influence, its term more associated with America rather than Australia but has been gaining more popularity over the years.
UIL means under the influence, it is largely being replaced by the term DUI but it is the more correct term used in Queensland and the term used in the law and in court.
High Range drink driving is a term commonly used in the court and by lawyers and prosecutors. It can be used interchangeably with UIL.
I’m being charged with refusing a breath test
The police can charge you if you refuse to give a breath or blood test. The law then treats the offence like a high range drink driving charge with the same type of penalties. This is a complicated area of the law. We have an article that can provide some more information, that article can be found by clicking here.
Can I apply for a work licence?
No, Work licences can only available to low to mid-range drink drivers. Regardless of your situation there is no way around this. There are other requirements you must meet to be eligible but if you are charged with high range drink driving you cannot apply for a work licence nor any other licence such as a special hardship licence
If you are facing a high range drink driving charge it is important to have an experienced traffic lawyer and traffic law firm represent you to ensure you obtain the absolute shortest disqualification period and fine possible.
Will I be subject to an Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device?
Anyone charged in Queensland with a high range drink driving charge (or 2 low or mid-range drink driving charges within 5 years) will be subject to having an alcohol ignition interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the conclusion of their suspension. The alcohol ignition interlock device is similar to a breath test device and is connected to your vehicles ignition. You must blow into with a zero alcohol limit before your vehicle will start. You will need to have the alcohol ignition interlock device for a minimum of 1 year.
The alcohol ignition interlock device needs to be installed by an approved provider and costs vary depending on your vehicle size and if you are a pensioner. You will incur the costs associated with the rental, installation, servicing and removal of the interlock from your nominated vehicle.
If at the end of your suspension period you decide not to have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will be unable to drive for a further 2 years from the date your Court suspension ended.
Whilst there are grounds for an exemption, there are few and it is difficult to obtain. Grounds of exemption can be if you are residing in a remote location (over 150kms from an alcohol ignition interlock installer) or living on an island, have a medical condition preventing you from being able to use the device or you have extenuating circumstances. Please note that extenuating circumstances cannot be that you are unable to install the interlock for employment or financial reasons.
It’s important to note that the court does not impose an interlock condition, it is a requirement imposed by Queensland Transport to get your driver’s licence back. More information can be found on the Queensland Transport website.
How do I get more help or engage you to act for me?
We have been operating since 2010 and undertaken 1000’s of drink driving charges throughout South East Queensland.
If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;
- Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
- Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
- Visit our main website or drink driving or work licence page
We cover all courts in South East Queensland from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba. We have 6 offices in South East Queensland to assist people. 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.
Need more information?
We have a range of articles on drink driving on our blog. Some of the most recent have included:
- Top 5 Drink Driving Myths
- The Essential Guide to Obtaining a Work Licence
- Drink Driving on a Lime Scooter
- How Drink Driving Matters are Heard in Queensland
- What happens after your drivers licence is disqualified?
- Refusing a Breathalyser Test in Queensland
- Can you commit a drink driving offence in your driveway?
- Immediate suspension for drink driving
- Case Study - High Range Drink Driving and Disqualified Driving
- Three High Range Drink Driving Charges
- Special Hardship Orders v Work Licences
- High Range DUI
- Going through a drink driving charge in Brisbane Magistrate Court
- DUI Charges
This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here