Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Sunday, 09 July 2023 16:24

Drink Driving: Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits in Queensland

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As a traffic lawyer providing legal services to individuals charged with drink driving offences in Queensland, I have witnessed the significant impact that exceeding the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits have in our legal system. In this blog post, we will explore the history of setting the BAC limits for drink driving in Queensland and provide an overview of the current alcohol driving limits in place.


History of BAC Limits in Queensland

The establishment of BAC limits in Queensland has evolved over the years in response to growing concerns about road safety and the dangers posed by intoxicated drivers. The introduction of BAC limits aimed to provide a clear legal framework and discourage individuals from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

The first BAC limits in Queensland were implemented in 1967, with a threshold of 0.08%. This meant that a driver with a BAC level of 0.08% or above was considered legally intoxicated. Over time, awareness of the risks associated with drink driving increased, leading to a reduction in the legal BAC limit to .05% for most drivers.


Current BAC Limits in Queensland

As of the time of writing, the BAC limits for drivers in Queensland are as follows:

  1. General Drivers: The general BAC limit for drivers holding an open licence, including those with a car or motorcycle licence, is 0.05%. This means that if a driver is found to have a BAC level of 0.05% or above, they are considered over the legal limit and can be charged with a drink driving offence.
  2. Learner, Provisional, and Probationary Licence Holders: Learner, provisional, and probationary licence holders face stricter BAC limits. For these drivers, the legal BAC limit is set at 0.00%. This zero-tolerance policy reflects the importance of prioritizing road safety for inexperienced drivers who are still developing their skills.
  3. Professional and Commercial Drivers: Professional drivers, such as those operating taxis, buses, or heavy vehicles, are subject to a zero alcohol limit.  The zero limit reflects the responsibility placed on these drivers to ensure the safety of their passengers and the public.

It is important to note that these BAC limits apply to both driving on public roads and in places that are open to the public, such as car parks, while operating a motor vehicle.


Future Limits

The Queensland government has released discussions papers that discuss reducing the .05 limit for open licence holders to .02.  There does not however appear to be much momentum for lowering the limit currently.


How the police test the BAC levels

It is important to first set out the types of testing that is done.  Typically two tests are undertaken the first is a roadside test typically using a handheld breath testing machine that gives a presumptive reading.  If that presumptive rating is over the limit for the driver then the police have the power to take another test using an approved machine for breath or a blood sample.

It is only this second test that is used in court (if the matter goes to court). 


Legal Consequences of Exceeding BAC Limits

Exceeding the prescribed BAC limits in Queensland can have serious legal consequences. If you are found to be over the legal limit, you can be charged with a drink driving offence. The penalties for such offences vary depending on the specific circumstances, including the driver's BAC level, prior convictions, and the type of licence held.

Penalties can range from fines and licence disqualification to imprisonment in severe cases. Repeat offences typically result in more severe penalties, as the legal system prioritizes deterring habitual drink drivers and protecting road users from potential harm.

We have a full article on drink driving penalties.


Seeking Legal Assistance

If you find yourself charged with a drink driving offence in Queensland, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a lawyer experienced in drink driving matters. A knowledgeable lawyer can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.



Understanding the blood alcohol concentration limits in Queensland is vital for all drivers to ensure compliance with the law and maintain road safety. It is crucial to remember that alcohol affects individuals differently, and it is always safer to avoid driving if you have consumed any amount of alcohol.

As lawyers, our role is to provide legal representation and support to individuals facing drink driving charges. By staying informed about the current BAC limits and making responsible choices, we can contribute to safer roads and the well-being of our communities.

Last modified on Monday, 10 July 2023 16:42
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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.