Clarity Law - drivinglaw.com.au

South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

Displaying items by tag: dui

Monday, 10 August 2020 09:42

Top 5 Drink Driving Myths

In this post, we discuss five of the most common drink-driving myths in Queensland and explain why they are exactly that – myths. As a law firm that focus soleoy on traffic law, we frequently represent people who believed that these myths would keep them safe from drink-driving charges. Sadly, part of our job is to explain why this is not the case.

We write this in the hope that you will not be the next person caught by these fables.

Myth #1 – You Cannot be Charged with Drink-Driving in Your Driveway

There are lots of reasons why this myth is wrong. Some of these reasons are discussed below but apply equally to this myth. However, most importantly, the legislation does not restrict where an alcohol- or drug-related offence can occur. In other words, you can commit these offences anywhere. You only need to be:

  • Driving a motor vehicle;
  • Attempting to put it in motion; or
  • In charge of it.

And with prohibited amounts of alcohol in your system, or an illegal drug in your system.

We have encountered cases where people have been charged with drink- or drug-driving offences where their car was:

  • Parked in a driveway;
  • Parked in a garage with the door shut;
  • Parked in a shopping centre or pub carpark;
  • Parked on the side of the road; and
  • Being driven on a dirt track on private property.

In short, there is no where you can legally drink and drive. If you are found driving or in charge of a car anywhere in Queensland, you can (and probably will) be charged with an offence.

What makes this myth persist is that other States in Australia have restrictions on police administering breath tests on people who are in their home. In New South Wales, this is known as the “home safe” rule. You must be careful when doing Google searches of drink-driving offences that the information you find relates only to Queensland, and not other jurisdictions. Google Lawyer should be approached with the same caution as Google Doctor.

It is important to keep in mind that drink-driving laws in Australia are not uniform across the various States and territories. It is crucial that you are getting information relating only to Queensland law, if you are planning to drive in Queensland.

Myth #2 – One Standard Drink per Hour will Keep You under 0.05 BAC

A long time ago, this myth was extensively advertised on television, on the radio, printed on posters, and printed on drinks coasters. Unfortunately, this advertising campaign was so successful that many, many people still think that this is a reliable rule of thumb to gauge whether it is safe to drive after drinking alcohol. Even more unfortunately, there are a number of mobile phone apps that you can download which record and count your drinks for you.

This myth is particularly seductive because it seems to have some basis in science. Blood-alcohol concentrations are the measure of the amount of alcohol that has been absorbed by your body, minus the alcohol that your body has metabolised, thus removing it from your system. The basis of this myth is that, if you keep the amount of alcohol you are putting in your system equal to (or less than) the amount of alcohol that your body processes, your blood-alcohol concentration should remain equal. While it is true that human bodies metabolise alcohol at a reasonably ascertainable rate, there are too many variables that are not taken into account by crude “drink counting” alone.

For example, the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream is affected by how much you have eaten prior to, and at the time of, drinking. It is also affected by the types of food you have eaten. Fatty foods, or carbohydrates will slow the rate of absorption compared to non-fatty foods. This is important because you merely delay when your blood-alcohol peaks. This is dangerous because your blood-alcohol could peak when you are driving; especially if you wait a considerable time after your last drink before driving.

Also, your metabolism is affected by many other variables, such as your age and your genetics. Smaller people are affected by alcohol more than their larger counterparts. Women process alcohol slower than men (for various, biological reasons). People with certain medical conditions (especially liver diseases) will metabolise alcohol slower than a healthy person. Lastly, experienced drinkers are less susceptible to the affects of alcohol than naïve drinkers, making them more at risk of judging themselves “safe” to drive.

Lastly, drinks are counted by reference to a “standard” drink. In Australia, a standard drink is one that contains 10 grams of alcohol. Many people try counting drinks where they are drinking at home, or at a friend’s home, where drinks are estimated, rather than measured. Also, heavy beers and premix spirits served in single-serve bottles or cans are almost always more than one standard drink.

None of these factors are accounted for by the drink-counting technique.

In short, counting your drinks is now considered a totally unreliable way to keep yourself under the legal alcohol limit for driving. You are unlikely to see this technique being advertised anymore. The only safe way to drive is to avoid alcohol completely if you know that you are going to drive. In other words, “if you’re going to drive, don’t drink. If you’re going to drink, don’t drive”.

Myth #3 – You can “Sleep it Off” in Your Car

As we have already discussed above, drink-driving offences are not limited to public roads. You can commit them anywhere that you can get a car. Furthermore, as we discussed, you do not need to be driving a car to commit an alcohol-related offence. You can also be charged with “attempting to put in motion” or “in charge” of a car while over the legal alcohol limit.

If the police find you sleeping in your car while over the legal alcohol limit, you will probably be charged with being “in charge” of the car while over the relevant limit. Being “in charge” of a motor vehicle has no precise definition in the legislation; however, there is case law which does provide such a definition.

In simple terms, being “in charge” has the underlying idea of being “responsible”. In Queensland, it seems that the courts consider someone must be responsible for cars parked on public roads. Therefore, you are in charge of your car until you give responsibility of your car to someone else. This notion is applied fairly broadly; for example, you can still be “in charge” of your car, even if it has been in an accident. Nevertheless, the legislation does provide for certain, very limited, circumstances where you will not be convicted of an offence even though you were found to be “in charge” of your car and were over the legal limit.

In short, if you plan to drink, you are best making other arrangements to get home and avoid going near your car altogether. An even better plan is to leave your car at home entirely if you plan to go drinking. How many times do “a few quite ones” turn into “a big night out”? These are the times when it is tempting to sleep it off in the car and drive home in the morning.

Myth #4 – You are Safe to Drive the Next Day

Speaking of driving the next morning, a common trap many of our clients fall into is driving the morning following a night of drinking, believing that they no longer have alcohol in their system. Regrettably, and depending on how much alcohol you drank the night before, this may not be the case.

As previously discussed, blood-alcohol concentration is the difference between the amount of alcohol you put in your system and how much alcohol your body processed out. If you drink alcohol at a faster rate than your body can process, your blood-alcohol will increase. Once you stop drinking, your blood-alcohol concentration will fall at a consistent rate. There is no other way to reduce your blood-alcohol concentration. Cold showers, drinking black coffee, drinking water, eating fatty foods, taking Berocca, sleeping, or throwing up, will not reduce your blood-alcohol concentration.

It follows then that, if you have a lot to drink, your body may not have processed all the alcohol out of your system by the time you wake up in the morning. What makes this particularly dangerous is that the effects of alcohol can be mistaken as a hangover.

It should be said that being mistaken about whether you are over the legal limit for driving is not a defence to a drink-driving charge.

Myth #5 – You Know a Trick to Mask Your BAC / Cheat a Breath-Test / Avoid the Police

No. You don’t.

Conclusion

In summary, there is a lot of misinformation about alcohol-related traffic offences. It is important that you have correct information so that you can make safe decisions about alcohol and driving. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences for you, your licence, your loved ones, and everyone around you.

 

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;

  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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Visit our main website or drink driving page

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:

This article is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

Published in Legal Blog
Tagged under
Sunday, 31 March 2019 13:45

Refusing a Breathalyser Test in Queensland

In Queensland, it is an offence to fail to provide a specimen of breath, or saliva for the purposes of determining a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Strictly speaking, there are two types of offences for failing to provide a specimen of breath or saliva. The first offence occurs when a person fails to provide a sample other than at a police station or in a booze bus. It is common for this kind of offence to occur at a roadside RBT, although it could happen somewhere else, such as a person’s home. The other offence occurs when a person fails to provide a specimen at a police station or booze bus.

Similarly high penalties attach to both offences.

The “roadside” failure offence attracts a maximum penalty of a fine in excess of $5,000 or 6 months’ imprisonment. Failure to provide a specimen of breath, after being taken to a police station or booze bus, is treated the same as a high-range drink-driving offence: the maximum penalty is a fine in excess of $3,500 or 9 months’ imprisonment and disqualification from driving for at least 6 months (for a first offence).

Work licences are available for anyone who is charged with a “roadside” failure to provide offence (as long as the person is eligible for a work licence). No work licence is available for the “police station” (or booze bus) failure to provide charge.

The word “fail” is broader than mere refusal (although it also includes refusal) – a person “fails” to provide a sample if that sample is insufficient to conduct the test or is not provided in such a way that allows for the test to be conducted. For example, if a person starts to breathe into a breathalyser, but stops before a sufficient sample is taken, that could amount to a “failure” to provide a sample, and the police could charge the person with failing to provide a sample. Similarly, if the person sucks in air, instead of blowing into the breathalyser, that person could also be charged with this offence.

 

Police Powers to Require a Sample of Breath, Saliva, or Blood

Police have the power to require someone to provide a specimen of breath, saliva, or blood for the purposes of determining that person’s blood-alcohol content. A police office may only make this request if the officer reasonably suspects that the person either drove a motor vehicle, attempted to drive it, or was in charge of the vehicle up to 3 hours prior (note that the definition of being “in charge” of a vehicle is quite broad – the person need only be in a position to be able to operate the vehicle without first taking control of the vehicle from someone else). The police may also require someone to provide a specimen of breath, saliva, or blood at the scene of a traffic accident that caused injury, death, or damage to property.

Once a police officer makes such a request, that officer may take the person to the nearest police station, or to some other place (such as a hospital) that has the necessary equipment for carrying out a breath or saliva test. The person may be taken there by force, if necessary. The police officer may require multiple samples of either breath or saliva (or both) if it is reasonably necessary to do so in order to complete testing.

 

Defences

It is a defence to the charge to prove that, at the time the request was made to provide a sample of breath or saliva, the person was suffering from an illness that made them incapable of providing such a sample. It is also a defence to prove that, at the time of the request, the person’s health could have been affected by giving the sample. Proof is provided by a medical certificate that the person carries with them and can show the police officer at the time of the request. Otherwise, the person must prove that they had such a medical condition in court, after they have been charged. Remember, however, that the police can ask the person for a different type of sample.

It is also a defence to prove, to the court, that the request was not made lawfully or that there was a substantially good reason to not provide a specimen (other than trying to avoid the results of the test).

 

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;

  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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Visit our main website or drink driving 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:

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

Published in Legal Blog

There seems to be some amount of confusion as to whether or not you can commit a drink driving charge in Queensland within a private area such as your driveway, or in a, say a private place such as a car park.

We are often contacted by people who believe they should not have been charged with a drink driving charge as they were not on a road at the time of the offence or worse have refused a breath test as they were in their driveway. 

 

The law

In Queensland the legislation is fairly clear when it comes to drink driving. The police have to essentially prove three things to obtain a conviction for a drink driving offence

  • the first is the fact that the person had alcohol in their system
  • the second is that they were the driver or in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence
  • the last thing that must be proven is where the offence occurred.

The legislation provides that a drink driving offence can be committed on or upon a road or elsewhere.  The word elsewhere is the key. Section 4 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act defines elsewhere to mean any place other than a road.

The Queensland courts have also been asked to confirm that a person can be breath tested in their driveway. In Jovanovic v Lucas [2009] QDC 138 a Mr Jovanovic had been driving home, he had stopped near a police car. The police thought this was strange and did a uturn and drove after the car. The police saw Mr Jovanovic drive into his driveway. The police approached him and asked him to provide a sample of his breath. Mr Jovanovic refused saying:

                “I’m in my driveway, you can’t get me”

Mr Jovanovic ultimately refused to submit to a breath test and was charged with failure to provide a specimen of his breath for analysis which under Queensland law is treated the same as a high range drink driving charge.

Judge Samios found the police could ask Mr Jovanovic to provide a specimen of his breath and his refusal was illegal and he was found guilty of the offence. Judge Samios stated that:

That the vehicle was parked at the time on private property involves a common misconception that the law relating to drink driving does not reach into private property… he could be guilty of these offences even though the police asked him on private property to undergo a breath test.

So in essence the definition where a drink driving offence can occur is on a road, or in any place other than a road. So you can see that there is no place where you can be driving and not be potentially charged with a drink driving charge.  

Interesting, a motor vehicle may still be considered a motor vehicle even if it is impossible to drive, although there are occasions where a person is caught in charge of a motor vehicle that is not actually driving a motor vehicle, but occupying the front seat of the vehicle, or being in charge by way of the fact that they have access to the vehicle and was shown intention to drive.

 

Conclusion

The situation may be different in states like New South Wales where you cannot be breath tested in your driveway but in Queensland can you be charged with drink drivng in your driveway or other private property? the answer is yes.

 

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;

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

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

Published in Legal Blog

We recently appeared in the Sandgate Court for a client facing the real prospects of a prison sentence. The client had been charged with unlicensed driving due to a previous court ordered disqualification and high range drink driving or driving UIL (also sometimes referred to as a DUI).

 

Making the situation much worse for the client is that he had, in the words of the Magistrate, a terrible history that included eight previous disqualified driving charges and seven previous drink driving (UIL) charges. In the previous five years there were two high range drink driving charges alone. As a result of the legislation where a person has three high range drink driving charges within five years, a prison sentence must form part of the penalty imposed by the Magistrate. This doesn't mean that a person will necessarily go to jail, but it means a jail sentence will be imposed and the question will then become whether or not they should get an immediate parole release date.

 

In our client's circumstance, we had to fight very hard to try and keep him out of jail. Specifically, we were seeking that the court impose a jail sentence for the drink driving charge with an immediate parole release meaning the client would be released from the court that day with a jail sentence hanging over their head should they breach their parole.

 

We also had to deal the disqualified driving charge and in that circumstance we sought a probation order so that in essence, the client would be on a parole and a probation order at the same time.

 

Ultimately, we were able to convince the Magistrate to do this given that the client clearly had a long standing alcohol abuse issues, even though he had never sought treatment in the past. One of the things that was the most concerning for the Magistrate was that he had spent time in jail for the exact same charges two years ago. Therefore, our job was made particularly difficult as we could not argue that a jail sentence with actual imprisonment was not an appropriate sentence because that had previously been imposed by an earlier court for the exact same charges.

 

The client did not help himself in that he failed to obtain the type of references that we had suggested that he obtain and had not done any of the driving courses that we had suggested. We did have the client assessed by the Probation and Parole Officer at Sandgate Court and ultimately they informed the court that there were courses and structures that could be put in place to try and minimise the likelihood that the client would reoffend. The Magistrate said that she was faced with a difficult task in that deterrence is the number one issue for the court. That is deterrence specifically of our client from committing these offences again and deterrence of anyone else committing this offence. If a too light a sentence is imposed then deterrence of our client may not be effective and deterrence of the general public committing the same type of offences would also be diminished.

 

Ultimately, we were able to convince the Magistrate not to send our client to jail. But it was perhaps the closest you can come to a potential prison sentence without actually being sent to jail. Our client will now be subject to quite close and strict supervision by Probation and Parole to try and ensure that he does offend again.  If he does offend in the next year he could be sent to prison for 28 days for breaching his parole order with further punishment likely.

 

There are some important lessons to learn from this type of offending and that is, it is important for a person to ensure that they have done everything prior to the court case possible to try and convince the Magistrate that they deserve a further chance by not being sent to jail. The other lesson to be learned is that disqualified driving especially where it combined with a drink driving charge (UIL) will be treated seriously by the Courts and there is a high possibly of receiving actual prison time for these types of offences, especially where like our client, the traffic history is poor.

 

If you need any information on drink driving offences or disqualified driving offences please contact us on 1300 952 255.  We appear in all courts in South East Queensland from Southport to Gympie.  

 

Published in Legal Blog
Monday, 29 May 2017 17:12

Three High Range Drink Driving Charges

Queensland law provides that where a person has two high range drink driving charges (a high range being above .15) and a person is again charged with another high range drink driving charge then the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment (all offences must occur within 5 years).  

In those circumstances the question becomes whether the person will actually spend time in jail.  Whilst the legislation says a term of imprisonment must be imposed, there are options other than a person spending time in jail.  Those options are either a wholly suspended sentence or an immediate parole release date.

A wholly suspended sentence involves a person being sentenced to a term of imprisonment but not being required to serve that imprisonment if they keep out of trouble for a length of time, usually 12-18 months.  This way a person can remain in the community with the prison sentence hanging over them for a period of time, if they behave no further action is taken, if they commit an offence that carries a jail sentence then they will be bought before the court to serve the original suspended sentence.

An immediate parole release date is where a person is sentenced to imprisonment but is released from court into the supervision of a parole officer.  They will be required to undertake courses and other programs but if they remain trouble free they will not have to serve the original sentence.

It is critical where a person is facing a high range drink driving charge especially for the third time that they get immediate legal advice.  It is essential that proper submissions are placed before the court by an experienced traffic lawyer to try and ensure that the court does not require the defendant to serve time in prison.

 

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;

  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. email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  4. Visit our main website or drink driving 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:

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

 

Published in Legal Blog
Tagged under

Often people are completely overwhelmed by the thought of attending the Brisbane Magistrates Court for a drink driving or DUI charge.  In Australia these types of matters are never televised and so people often have no idea what the process will be like or worse think it will be something like the American process they have seen on TV.

This article gives some idea what a typical Court appearance will be like for an unrepresented person in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.  It is important however to note that in almost all cases having a Lawyer represent you will result in a shorter disqualification period, smaller fine and much less stress. 

 

What will happen in Court?

Firstly you should arrive at least 25 minutes before your scheduled Court start time.  In the Brisbane Magistrates Court all drink driving matters begin at 9am and are generally heard in court 33 on level 7. 

The Brisbane Magistrates Court is located at 363 George Street.  There is another Magistrate Court in Brisbane known, very confusingly, as the Brisbane Magistrates Court – Roma Street.  It would be very unusual if your matter were to be held in the Roma Street Court as this is reserved for criminal matters.

When you enter the Brisbane Magistrate Court there is a security point which you must go through.  Once you have been through this on your right hand side is a number of electronic noticeboards which will list the Court number your matter will be heard in.  You should then take the elevator to the floor where the Court is.

Eventually a Police Prosecutor will arrive you should then go and speak to them in the Court room.  The Prosecutor will provide you the outline of the case against you, breath analyst certificate and your traffic history.  This document is generally known as the “QP9”.  The Police Prosecutor will only want to know whether you are pleading guilty, not guilty or seeking an adjournment.  Given the large amount of people waiting to see the Prosecutor they cannot and won’t be able to engage in any real discussion of your matter.

Check the QP9 while you wait for the Court to start to ensure it is correct.  If it isn’t go and talk to the Police Prosecutor.  If the details on the QP9 are wrong it might be appropriate to seek an adjournment.

The Court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk (the Magistrates assistant) or Police Prosecutor calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.

Typically those with Lawyers will go first and then those people seeking an adjournment will go next and finally those people who are pleading guilty will go last.  There may be 30-60 people on any given day in the Court so it is not unusual for a unrepresented person pleading guilty not to be heard until 11am or even later.

 

Wait for your matter to be called and then approach the table where the Police Prosecutor is.  You will stand to the far left of the table.  Remain standing while the Magistrate asks what you are doing.  At this point you must tell the Magistrate what you want to do.  Please ensure you address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”.  If you are pleading guilty the Magistrate will ask you to confirm this and then the Magistrate will then ask you to sit.

The Police Prosecutor will read a brief statement of facts and give the Magistrate a copy of your traffic history and breath analyst certificate.  All of these documents will be in the QP9 so you should have already seen them.

Once the Police Prosecutor finishes the Magistrate will read the traffic history and breath analyst certificate and if they have any queries they will ask you. If you have not already filed any character reference tell the Magistrate if you have some, the Police Prosecutor will take them from you and will give them to the Magistrate.  You then have an opportunity to explain to the Magistrate what happened with your drink driving charge and anything else you wish to raise.

Once you have finished speaking and when the Magistrate has no further questions for you they will impose the sentence.  Given that all drink driving charges in Queensland carry a mandatory period of disqualification then you will be required to surrender your licence to the Prosecutor.  Once this is done you may leave the Court.

If you are eligible to apply for a work licence and are choosing to do so your matter will be adjourned to another day to hear that work licence application.  You must apply for a work licence before the court imposes your sentence, you cannot apply afterwards.  More details about work licences can be found here

For more information about drink driving or DUI’s visit our drink driving website.

 

Getting representation

While you are free to represent yourself in Court, engaging Clarity Law to act for you has a number of benefits including;

  • We know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the lowest penalty
  • We have good relationships with the Police prosecutors meaning we can often have them support the penalty we are asking the Court to impose or make changes to what they will tell the Court 
  • We will be able to get a copy of your QP9 before the Court date
  • We are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in Court
  • Engaging us shows the Court you are taking your charges seriously
  • Your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 30-50 other matters to be heard before you
  • You will be fully informed of what is to happen in Court and what this means for you after Court
  • Unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests

We appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court several times for with people charged with drink driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the judges like we do.  We offer one of the most competitive prices for drink driving charges in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form,
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm

 

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  Its represents information about the law in Queensland and since publishing the law, the practice of the court or the interpretation of that law may have changed.

Published in Legal Blog
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:17

High Range DUI

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:

Low Range

.05-.099

Mid Range

.1-.149

High Range

.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.

Where the reading is particularly high or if a crash is involved the court may be looking to impose a penalty more than fine.  Typical options for a court would be probation or community service.

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;

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

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

Published in Legal Blog

A QP9 (Queensland Police Form 9 or police court brief) is a document prepared by the Police Prosecutions unit when someone is charged with an offence. The QP9 lists the exact charge with a brief description of the facts which the Police are alleging against you as well as attaching any criminal or traffic history. Depending on what Court your matter is to be heard in, and how busy the Police are, the document will be provided prior to your Court date or at Court.

It is essential to carefully go over the QP9 prior to entering a plea before the Court, as you are not only pleading guilty to the charge but also to all the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge that the Police allege in the QP9, this may include the way you acted towards the Police, things that you said or admitted or information recorded by the Police that you may believe is incorrect or inaccurate. This should be remembered when being charged as harsher penalties or less leniency can apply if the document states that you were rude, unruly, unhelpful etc. Also being aggressive when being charged can easily result in a further charge of resisting arrest or obstructing or assaulting police.

Obtaining the QP9 or having a Lawyer obtain the document for you and having a thorough look over the QP9 before you enter your plea is essential so that if there is any discrepancies they are looked into.

In Court the Police will read out the charge and a brief rundown of their version of events from the QP9. It is then that your Lawyer, or yourself if you are self-represented, can have your say to the Magistrate. If there are significant factors from the QP9 in which you disagree with it may be possible to draft submissions and put them forward to the Police Prosecutions asking them to reconsider the charge or amend what is written in the QP9. A Lawyer can advise you as to the possibility of making submissions and if what the likely chances of the Prosecutor accepting them would be.

Some examples of our success in getting the Police Prosecutions to lower or dismiss charges are:

  • 1.       Our client was charged with dangerous driving whist effected by alcohol and drink driving. A person cannot be charged with both offences, only one or the other. We addressed this with the Police Prosecutions and the result was the charge of drink driving was withdrawn.

 

  • 2.       Our client was charged with unlicenced driving. At the time that the letter had come from Queensland Transport telling our client his licence was suspended our client had been suffering an extremely traumatic string of events. On these grounds we were able to convince the Police to withdraw the unlicenced driving charge.

 

  • 3.       Our client was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, being the higher of the two drug driving charges. Upon receiving the drug analysis certificate and after going over the QP9 document we were able to have the Police agree to downgrade the charge to driving with a relevant drug in the client’s system.

 

In more serious matters it is possible to request a full brief of evidence. This document is like a QP9 but much more detailed and will include any witness statements, CCTV or audio footage. Where applicable it is also possible to request any Police body camera or police vehicle camera footage that may be available.

Needless to say engaging a Lawyer to represent you ensures that all avenues are explored to ensure all aspects are covered and you ultimately receive the absolute best outcome possible.

Here at Clarity Law we appear in the Courts with clients all over South East Queensland. It is this experience that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices for representation in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm.

 

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

 

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Published in Legal Blog
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 16:41

DUI Charges

When most people hear DUI they usually associate it with a drink driving charge. Whilst this is correct, as DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ it can in fact relate to either a drink or drug driving offence.

 

There are three levels of drink driving charges, being

 

Driving with a low BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .05 and .099. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving with a mid BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .1 and .149. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 3 month suspension of your licence.

 

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol charge is a result of a reading of .15 or above. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence.

 

A DUI drug charge means that you were charged with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. Drug tests search for traces of THC (active ingredient in marijuana), MDMA (speed or ecstasy) and methamphetamine.

There are two levels of drug driving charges, being:

 

Driving with a relevant drug present in your system

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system but they appear to be unaffected by the drugs or substance. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 24 hours. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving under the influence of drugs (“DUI”)

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system and/or the driver appears to be affected and impaired by drugs. This will be ascertained by the driver’s appearance (eyes, facials expressions etc), behaviour and mannerisms. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence. Whilst if you are sentenced to in excess of this period the Magistrate can take into consideration the length of time you have already had your licence suspended, if you receive the minimum of 6 months, this period will be served in full from your Court date.

 

Driving under the influence of drugs can be a result of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs (designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs) prescription drugs (Xanax, Valium) and even some over the counter medical prescriptions.  Anytime that you are effected by a substance which alters your abilities in any way you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

A roadside drug test is simply an oral swab which is tested immediately and will indicate if there is traces of drugs in your system. If the test indicates the presence of drugs you will need to undergo another drug test which is sent to a Government laboratory for testing.  You will receive a drug analysis certificate when it is available from laboratory testing. If your roadside drug test indicates no drugs in your system, the Police are still able to order you to undergo a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of a drug or substance.

We have been successful in the past in having some drug DUI charges downgraded to driving with a relevant drug in the drivers system by in putting forward to the Police Prosecutions submissions giving reasoning and information as to why the client should not have been charged with a drug DUI and have only received a driving with the relevant drug in their system charge.

Whilst with alcohol there are rough guidelines to how long the alcohol will take to be processed and out of your system there is no such recommendation for how long drugs may stay in a person’s system for. Many people find themselves being charged with driving with drugs in their system long after they have consumed or ingested drugs. Because each person responds to the consumption of drugs in a different manner based on their personal chemistry, past use, type of drug taken, amount of drug consumed, height, weight and other factors, unlike alcohol consumption there is no way in when to tell when the drugs have left your system.

It is important to note that you do not have to be driving your vehicle to be charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you could be charged if you are merely sitting in the driver’s seat.

Charges of low or mid BAC or a driving with a relevant drug in your system, depending on your circumstances and previous traffic history, can allow you to apply for a work licence to be issued to you for the duration of your suspension period. An alcohol or drug DUI charge however eliminates this option.

Here at Clarity Law we represent people charged with drink and drug driving offences in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

 

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;

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

This article general information only and not legal advice and is rewritten subject to our disclaimer that can be read by clicking here

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Published in Legal Blog