Clarity Law

Specialist Traffic Law Firm Queensland
Friday, 15 September 2023 14:56

What Happens if You Crash While Drink Driving?

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A significant factor in sentencing someone for a Drink or Drug driving offence in Queensland is was there a crash?

This article will discuss what happens if you go to court for a drink driving charge where there was a crash or accident, how this affects the penalty for drink driving and what you can do to reduce the penalty.


Why is it relevant that a crash has occurred?

When you admit guilt to the charge you're facing in court, the prosecution will present the case's facts for the magistrate's consideration in determining the appropriate sentence.

The court is interested in hearing about any crashes as they play a crucial role in determining the final judgment of the offense. Specifically, if a crash has occurred, it highlights the increased danger associated with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The court will assess various aspects of the crash, including who was at fault, whether it involved one or more vehicles, and if anyone was injured as a result.


What does a crash mean for my penalty?

The court will increase the penalty if a crash occurred as drink driving causes approximately 30% of fatal crashes in Australia and doubles the chance of any crash according to research by the Queensland University of Queensland.  This might mean a more significant fine or a longer disqualification.

If a person has a history of drink and drug driving, this increases the likelihood that the court will consider penalties beyond a fine and disqualification.

Where a crash has occurred, our office will typically recommend that a person complete a traffic offenders program (we have written on these programs here), to show the court that they have taken the matter very seriously and elected to undertake additional driver education and rehabilitation.


What should I do if I have had a crash?

If you were involved in a crash, that increases the seriousness of the offence, which will be further aggravated by a high reading or a history of drink driving. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced traffic lawyer who can give you advice on the best way to prepare for your sentence.

An experienced traffic lawyer will give you the best chance to reduce the penalty and disqualification you are facing. Do not try and navigate these complexities by yourself.


How might a crash affect the Penalty?

Take the following two situations both have similar readings and a similar traffic history but the difference is a crash.

  1. Joe Bloggs was waived into a static roadside breath testing site and returned a positive reading of 0.103% BAC. Joe is a 27 year old man who is well employed and has a limited traffic history. Joe has completed a traffic offenders’ program and obtained good character references. Joe received a fine of $650 and a disqualification of 3 months.


  1. John Doe came to the attention of the police as a result of a single vehicle crash, where John collided with a traffic pole. John was driving in the middle of the night and there were no injuries caused. John had a reading of .10% BAC. John is a 25 year old man who has good employment, has a traffic history consisting of a few speeding fines and has not completed a traffic offenders program. John received a fine of $800 and a disqualification of 5 months.

These examples are based off previous matters that have been before the court. The relevant details have been changed and only serves as an example as to the significance a crash can have on overall outcome. They are not a one size fits all model and each case turns on the facts and the individual before the court.

Its critical to get a good traffic lawyer so they can properly address the crash with the magistrate.


Will my insurance cover the damage?

In almost all cases there will be a clause in your insurance contract that voids your insurance when you have been arrest for drink driving.  This means your insurance will not cover the damage to your vehicle and it will also not cover the damage to any other vehicle or property.

You will need to check with your insurance broker or check the conditions on your insurance.



  • Relevance of a Crash in Drink or Drug Driving Offense:

    • Courts consider the occurrence of a crash as a significant factor in traffic matters.

    • The presence of a crash helps the court understand the real danger associated with drink or drug driving.

  • Factors Considered About the Crash:

    • Impact of the crash.

    • Fault determination.

    • Type of crash (single or multi-vehicle).

    • Any injuries resulting from the crash.

    • The $ value of any damage done

  • Impact on Penalties:

    • Courts give more weight to cases involving a crash.

    • This may result in a higher fine, increased penalty, or longer disqualification period.

    • Prior history of drink and drug driving further increases potential penalties.

  • Recommendation for Offenders Involved in a Crash:

    • Complete a traffic offenders’ program as this demonstrates a serious approach to the matter and willingness to undergo driver education and rehabilitation.

  • Advice for Offenders with a Crash:

    • Important to consult an experienced traffic lawyer for guidance on sentence preparation.

    • Your insurance likely will not cover any damage

    • A skilled lawyer can increase chances of reducing overall penalty and disqualification.

  • Comparison of Two Scenarios:

Joe Bloggs:

    • Recorded a BAC of 0.103% after a static roadside breath test.

    • Limited traffic history, good employment, completed a traffic offenders’ program.

    • Received a $650 fine and a 3-month disqualification.


John Doe:

    • Involved in a single-vehicle crash, with a BAC reading of .100%.

    • Had a few prior speeding fines, no traffic program completion.

    • Received an $800 fine and a 5-month disqualification.

    • Note: These are illustrative examples and outcomes can vary based on individual circumstances.

  • Impact of a Crash not properly addressed with the court

    • An experienced traffic lawyer can provide advice and assistance in minimizing the impact of the crash for the best possible outcome.


How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

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 at the bottom right and leave us a message


We are a no pressure law firm, we are happy to provide free initial information to assist you.  If you want to engage us then great, we will give you a fixed price for our services so you will know with certainty what we will cost.  All the money goes into a trust account monitored by the Queensland Law Society and cannot be taken out without your permission.

If you don’t engage us that fine too, at least you will have more information on the charge and its consequences.


Need more information?

We have a range of articles on our traffic law blog.  Some of the most recent have included:


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Jack Marshall

Jack is a former soldier and now a traffic lawyer with Clarity Law.  Jack appears in courts throughout South East Queensland. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.