Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Sunday, 02 July 2023 17:32

The True Cost of a Drink Driving Conviction in Queensland

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Many people would be aware of the drink driving penalties that Queensland courts will impose like fines and periods of disqualification.  What perhaps is less well known is some of the other “costs” of a drink driving charge, some of those costs are financial, some of them are things that can affect a person's employment or the ability to drive even when the disqualification period has ended. Let's take a closer look at some of the less well-known costs that flow from a drink driving conviction.


Insurance costs

Most insurance policies such as car insurance carries with it an obligation to report to the insurer things that may affect that policy.  A conviction for a drink driving charge under most policies will require the driver to tell the insurance company about that conviction and then the insurance company can make a decision as to whether they do anything and if they do something what that might be.

For most people that might be an increase in their insurance premiums going forward but for other drivers it will be the cancellation of the policy or the impossibility to renew that policy once it comes to an end.


Property damage costs

Drink driving charges sometimes result in some sort of property damage being done. This might be for instance where someone has run into another car, has crashed into a fence or damaged property in some other way. It can also include the damage done to the driver’s car which in many cases can see that car written off.


There are few if any insurance policies that will cover the costs of that damage including to the driver's car where the driver is convicted of a drink driving charge.


We have seen clients with bills approaching $100,000 where they have to not only replace their own vehicle but also pay for the other vehicle that they have damaged. 


Interlock costs 

Queensland like most other states have introduced an interlock system. The interlock condition is not imposed by the court but are a requirement for high range and mid-range drink drivers when they go to get their licence back after the disqualification has ended.


The interlock also applies to low range drink driving charges where a person has had a previous drink driving charge in the last 5 years.


Interlocks are a device installed by an approved installer and requiring a person to provide a sample of the breath to ensure no alcohol exists when they commence driving as well as randomly during a drive.  The cost of the installation and monitoring of the interlock can cost around $2,000.


People may be tempted to not install an interlock however where no interlock is installed even though the disqualification has ended a person will not be able to get their licence for 5 more years.


Employment cost

We have previously written an article in regards to the recording of a conviction for a drink driving charge.


Briefly a drink driving charge is still a criminal offence however the recording of a conviction if done by the court goes on a person's traffic history and not their criminal history.


However for many people their traffic history is as important to their employer or potential employer as a criminal history.  Professional drivers for example are routinely asked to provide their traffic history and where a conviction is recorded this can result in the termination of the employment.


It is beyond the scope of this article to talk about the ways to try and have a court not record a conviction however check out our article about recording convictions for drink driving charges for more information.


Another less known cost for a drink driving charge when it comes to employment is the requirement to tell your employer about the conviction. Clarity law is not an employment lawyer however some employment contracts have a positive requirement to tell the employer where a driving charge has occurred. It's critical where this may apply to you to get legal advice from an employment lawyer as they'll be able to tell you whether the words under the employment contract require you to tell the employer or not tell the employer and importantly whether you have to tell the employer if a conviction is not recorded on your traffic history.

Last modified on Monday, 03 July 2023 17:52
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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