Drink Driving Lawyers Brisbane | Prices on the website

Lawyers for drink driving and DUI charges in the Brisbane Magistrates Court


Drink Driving Lawyers Brisbane

Thank you for considering engaging Clarity Law as your drink driving lawyers in Brisbane.  Whether you came to this page by searching for a Brisbane drink driving lawyer near me or for Brisbane drink driving lawyers it doesn't matter you have reached the right place. We have been representing people charged with drink driving offences in the Brisbane courts since 2010 and we are very familiar with every Magistrate that sits in Brisbane.

People are often worried about their reputation, what will occur in court and what affect a drink driving charge will have on their future.  Engaging Clarity Law for a drink driving charge will show the court that you are taking the charge seriously and want the best outcome.  We are one of the most experienced drink driving law firms in Brisbane.  We can also help work out if you can apply for a work licence to keep your ability to drive for work after the drink driving offence is dealt with. 


Engaging a lawyer in Brisbane for a drink driving charge

Engaging a traffic lawyer is a difficult decision, you need to be sure the traffic law firm you engage is both reputable, experienced and that you have certainty of your legal costs and the traffic lawyer they assign to your case is knowledgeable in the Brisbane Courts and knows what each Magistrate wants.  At Clarity Law we have appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court hundreds of times representing clients charged with drink driving or a DUI.  We also have fixed prices so you can be sure of your legal costs.


Levels of Drink Driving

In Queensland there are 4 levels of drink driving


I cannot understand how I was over the limit

Our clients can often be really confused how they can be over the limit.  This is especially true for first time drink drivers.  In our experience this is generally down to

  • Stress levels

  • Lack of Food

  • Drinking stronger non pre-mixed drinks

  • Losing track of the amount of drinks consumed

  • Miss-calculating the time it takes for the alcohol level to come down after stopping

  • Type of build/amount of body fat

  • Drinking quickly

We have had clients who followed the old guidelines of 2 standard drinks in the first hour and one every hour after that and were still over the limit.


I am charged with drink driving but need to drive during any disqualification

It may be possible for you to apply for a work licence if you held an open licence at the time of the offence, are charged with low or mid-range drink driving and had no suspensions of your licence in the last 5 years but this must be done at the time you appear Brisbane to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  You cannot apply for a work licence if you are charged with high range drink driving (driving under the influence). Please see our section on work licences for further information or check out the most comprehensive guide to apply for a work licence on the internet.

A work licence only allows you to drive for work purposes you cannot get a work licence or hardship licence to be able to drive for person reasons i.e. driving your children to school.  In Queensland a period of disqualification must be imposed and so if personal driving is critical all you can do is try and minimise the disqualification period as much as possible.

Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.  There are a number of factors that can lead a Brisbane Magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.


Can I get a work licence or special hardship order for driving under the influence?

Unfortunately, section 87(5)(da) of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 excludes someone convicted of driving under the influence from being eligible for a work licence.

A special hardship order is only applicable to someone whose licence is suspended (or is going to be suspended) by Transport and Main Roads due to the breach of a good behaviour driving period.


I wasn't driving the vehicle but I was arrested for being in charge of a motor vehicle

You can be charged with drink driving being in charge of a vehicle if you had control of the motor vehicle for example if you were in the driver's seat and had the keys near you even if you were not driving or had no intention of driving.  Often this occurs when people are in the car waiting to be picked up, in the car wanting to find something or just sleeping.

It does not matter that the car was not on a road.  You can be charged with drink driving even if the car was on private property such as a car park or driveway.


What do Police Have to Prove?

As always, it if for the police to prove you committed the offence. It is generally quite easy to prove a charge of this kind. Police have very wide powers to breathalyse people and most of the time a person charged with this offence will either be sitting in the driver's seat of a car before they were breathalysed, or had been driving a car before breathalysed.

The breath analysis instrument the police use at the roadside is only an indication of blood alcohol content (BAC). This means to get a BAC reading which would be sufficient to prove the charge against you, the police will need to take you to a police station to have your breath analysed by a special instrument, which is kept at most police stations. It is very common for the reading at roadside to be different from that at the station. It is always the reading at the station that the prosecutors will rely on in court. The police are required to produce a “breath analysis certificate” as proof of your BAC to the Court. The legislation is such that it is very difficult to challenge one of these certificates. We are unaware of any instances where a challenge to one of these certificates has been successful.


Are there defences to a drink driving charge?

Most defences to a drink driving offence have now gone.  The police must conduct the breath or blood test within 3 hours of you driving and it must be conducted in accordance with the law.

If you are charged with a failure to provide a breath sample then it is a defence to this charge to prove that due to a physical condition you were unable to provide a sufficient specimen of breath.  This is a very technical area of the law and if you think you have a defence you should contact us.  We have an article on defences to a drink driving charge that explains all possible defences.


Will I get a criminal record?

A Drink driving charge is a criminal offence but are not recorded on a persons criminal history.  The Courts are unlikely not to record a conviction on a persons traffic history unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. 

It should be noted however that overseas travel may be more difficult or impossible if a conviction for a DUI is recorded, especially to Islamic countries or the United States or Canada.  In addition many employers are now asking for a persons traffic history if they applying for a job that might include driving a company car.  See our article on criminal convictions for drink driving charges.

What will happen in Court?

In general terms, drink driving matters are dealt with “summarily”, which means that they are dealt with in a Magistrates Court.  The Brisbane Magistrates Court has a dedicated courtroom that only deals with traffic matters like drink driving, drug driving, disqualified driving etc. When you are charged, the police will give you a notice to appear in court or give you bail to appear in court on a specific date.  The notice to appear will likely be for Court 35 at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. In addition to the date, you will also be advised of what time you must be at court. Generally, you will be told to be at court at 8.30am or 9.00am. While you must be at court at this time, your matter will not be heard immediately. Instead, the court and the police prosecutor work together to decide the order in which matters will be heard that day.  As a rule, anyone who has legal representation will be heard first, followed by everyone who is representing themselves.

If you plead guilty, the court will usually deal with your matter immediately. The magistrate will read the charge to you and ask you how you plead. The magistrate may also ask you if you are entering the plea of your own free will. The police prosecutor will then read the outline of facts and give the magistrate copies of the drug analysis certificate, your criminal history and traffic history. The police prosecutor may also offer an opinion as to what penalties should be imposed on you.

After the prosecutor has spoken, the magistrate will give you an opportunity to speak. Your lawyer (or you if you don't have a lawyer) will then put explain what occurred, why it occurred, the positive things you have done since the offence, your general good character and the impact the penalty including the disqualification will have on you. This is done to support asking the magistrate to give you the minimum penalty that can be argued for on the strength of those facts and circumstances.

The court will also consider any other material you might have obtained that will help reduce the penalty such as character references or completing a driving course such at Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”).

Once your drink driving lawyers have spoken, the magistrate may seek further clarification of certain matter from the police, from your lawyer, or from both. The magistrate will then convict you, impose a penalty and disqualify you from driving for a certain period of time. That licence disqualification takes effect immediately.

If you have applied for a work licence, the magistrate will indicate whether the application is granted. If it is granted the magistrate will state the conditions on which the licence is granted.

Once you are disqualified, you must immediately surrender your driver's licence to the police prosecutor. It is an offence to be in possession of your licence after you have been disqualified from driving.


What factors will the court take into account?

As the peak drink driving lawyers in Brisbane, we know exactly what the Court wants to hear. The Brisbane Court will take into account, among other things the following to set drink driving penalties:

  • Your BAC

  • Whether you have prior drink driving offences

  • The extent of your traffic and criminal history

  • Your age

  • Your current work arrangements

  • Your family situation

  • How the disqualification will affect your work and family commitments

  • Any character references you provide

  • How early you pleaded guilty

  • Your participation in any courses (such as the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program)

  • How cooperative you were with police

  • Your financial circumstances

  • How the recording of a conviction might impact your future

  • How effective your drink driving lawyer is in their speech to the Brisbane court


When does the disqualification begin?

The disqualification starts immediately.  You would not be able to drive once you leave the Court.  If your licence was immediately suspended because you were a mid or high range drink driver then the court will take into account the time you have been suspended but the disqualification period the court sets starts from the court date.


Will I need to fit an Interlock to my car?

You will be required to have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for the period of one year once you are eligible to obtain your driver's licence back if you are charged with mid range or high range drink driving (DUI or UIL) or this is your second drink driving charge within 5 years.  The Court has no discretion to exempt you from an interlock if this applies to you as it is a Queensland Transport licencing requirement.  This is an area that is subject to constant change, for more information visit their website or see our article on interlock exemptions.


What happens if I refuse a breath test?

Refusing or failing to provide a breath or blood sample for analysis constitutes an offense, leading to a high-range drink driving charge (UIL). This refusal can prevent the possibility of obtaining a work license. The term "fail" encompasses more than just refusal, extending to instances where a sample is insufficient or improperly provided for testing. For instance, beginning but not completing a breathalyzer test could result in a charge for failing to provide a sample.

Law enforcement has the authority to request breath, saliva, or blood samples to determine blood-alcohol content if they reasonably suspect an individual operated a vehicle within three hours prior. This suspicion can also apply to individuals in charge of a vehicle without having directly operated it. In cases of accidents causing injury, death, or property damage, samples can also be requested at the scene. Upon such a request, individuals may be taken to a police station or a suitable facility by force if necessary. Multiple samples may be required if deemed necessary for testing completion. It's important to note that once a breath test is refused, a subsequent request for a blood test, or vice versa, is not permissible.

Two defences against the charge include proving the inability to provide a sample due to illness at the time of the request, substantiated by a medical certificate, or demonstrating that the request was not lawful or had a valid reason beyond evading the test results. The latter defence requires presentation in court after being charged.

See our article on refusing a breath test.


What happens after my disqualification period?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your licence.  You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended.  

After you have been disqualified for a drink driving offence you will be on a probationary licence for one year, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available

  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year

You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back if you were licenced at the time of the offence.  You will however need to complete a short course to get your licence back.  For first time offenders this is done online.  If you have 2 or more drink driving offences after 10 September 2021 then the course is longer and must be completed in person.  Details can be found on the Transport Department Website

During your disqualification you cannot drive any motor vehicle for any reason.  If you do drive then you can be charged with disqualified driving which is a very serious charge.


Where is the Brisbane Magistrates Court?

There are lots of courts located in Brisbane.  If you have been charged with drink driving then you will be in the Brisbane Magistrates Court located at 363 George Street Brisbane.  Court 35 on level 7 is the usual court that hears drink driving matters.

There is no parking onsite but Roma Street Station and Central Station are close.  If you need to drive we have found the King George Square carpark the best.

Brisbane Magistrates Contact Details

Phone: 1800 325 085

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


What other magistrates courts are in the Brisbane region?

Brisbane Magistrates Court

Cleveland Magistrates Court

Holland Park Magistrates Court

Pine Rivers Magistrates Court

Redcliffe Magistrates Court

Richlands Magistrates Court

Sandgate Magistrates Court

Wynnum Magistrates Court


Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do if Charged with Drink Driving for the First Time?

If you are facing a first-time drink driving charge, it is essential to seek legal representation immediately. Clarity Law will assess your case, explore potential defences, and guide you through the legal process.

Can I be charged with drink driving not on a road?

In Queensland you do not have to have driven on a road to be arrested for drink driving.  The legislation provides you can be charged with drink driving on a road or “elsewhere”.  Obviously “elsewhere” applies to private property, carparks and driveways.  This case shows how the court interprets the law -  Jovanovic v Lucas [2009] QDC 138

Can I change the court?

The court might agree to transfer the charge to another court in Queensland if you are pleading guilty and you have a connection to the new court.  For example if you lived 3 hours away from the court it might be possible to transfer it to the court closer to where you live. 

What is the difference between mid range drink driving and high range drink driving?

Mid range drink driving is a drink driving offence where your BAC is between 0.10 and under 0.15, while high range drink driving is a drink driving offence where your BAC is 0.15 or over. High range drink driving is considered more serious than mid range drink driving, and carries higher penalties and consequences.

Is drug driving treated the same?

In essence yes a drug driving charge has similar penalties and procedure in court.


Summary of the article

What is drink driving?

In Queensland, drink driving is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or more. Learner, probationary, and provisional licence holders are not permitted to drive after drinking any alcohol. They must have a zero BAC.

The law in Queensland defines drink driving as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit for your licence type. Your BAC is the amount of alcohol in your blood, measured in grams per 100 millilitres.

What are the legal limits for drink driving in Queensland?
The legal limits for drink driving in Queensland depend on your licence type and the type of vehicle you are driving. The following table shows the legal limits for different licence types:


Legal limit

Learner, P1 or P2 provisional, probationary or restricted licence  - Zero (no alcohol at all)

Open licence (car or light vehicle) - Under 0.05

Open licence (heavy vehicle or vehicle carrying dangerous goods) - Zero (no alcohol at all)

If you are a learner or provisional driver and you have any alcohol in your system, you are committing an offence. If you are an open licence holder and you have a BAC of 0.05 or above, you are committing an offence.


What are the penalties for drink driving?

The penalties for drink driving in Brisbane vary depending on the level of your BAC. For a first offence, the penalties for low range drink driving (0.05 to 0.09 BAC) can include:

  • A fine of up to $2,167

  • A licence disqualification of 1 to 9 months

  • A 24-hour licence suspension

The penalties for mid range drink driving (0.10 to 0.14 BAC) can include:

  • A fine of up to $3,300

  • A licence disqualification of 3 to 12 months

  • A 24-hour licence suspension

The penalties for high range drink driving (0.15 or more BAC) include serious penalties and can include:

  • A fine of up to $4,025

  • A licence disqualification of at minimum 6 months.

  • A 24-hour licence suspension

  • Imprisonment for up to 9 months

These are the penalties for a first offence within a five-year period. If you have a prior drink driving offence within five years, the penalties will be higher. For example, if you have a second high range offence within five years, you will face a minimum disqualification of two years, a maximum fine of $7,480, and a maximum imprisonment of 18 months. In addition to these penalties, you may also face other consequences such as

We can help you by:

  • Explaining your options and possible outcomes

  • Negotiating with the police and prosecution

  • Preparing your case and gathering evidence

  • Representing you in court and advocating for your interests

  • Seeking to reduce your penalty or avoid conviction

  • Providing you with expert legal advice and guidance

We have a proven track record of achieving excellent results for our clients. We have successfully helped many clients who were facing high range drink driving charges, repeat traffic offence, or other aggravating factors. We have also helped thousands of clients obtain work licences, which allow them to drive for work purposes during their disqualification period. We understand that every case is different and that you may have unique circumstances that need to be considered. That's why we offer a personalised and tailored service that meets your needs and goals. We will listen to your story, understand your situation, and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome. We are also affordable and transparent with our fees. We offer fixed fees for most drink driving cases, so you know exactly what you will pay and what you will get.


Links that may be of assistance

List of Queensland Courts and their contact details

Daily list of Matters in Brisbane Courts

List of Brisbane Magistrates

Court Calendar for Brisbane Magistrates Court


What Courts we appear in

We appear in all courts throughout Brisbane and the whole of South East Queensland including the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.


Brisbane office location

Bluedog Business Centre, Level 1/16 McDougall St, Milton QLD 4064

Phone(07) 3067 7017

Open 7am to 7pm – Monday to Sunday

Directions to our Brisbane Office Address - Please always phone ahead to book an appointment.


Our Lawyers

Every one of our lawyers is extremely experienced appearing in the Brisbane Courts every week representing people on a huge range of traffic, DUI and Drink Driving charges.

Steven Brough – Founder and Brisbane Traffic Lawyer (23+ years experience)

Russell Tannock – Brisbane Traffic Lawyer (8+ years experience)

Jack Marshall – Brisbane Traffic Lawyer (3+ years experience)

Jacob Purden – Brisbane Traffic Lawyer (8+ years experience)

Belinda Smyth – Client Services Manager (22+ years experience)

Between our lawyers we have appeared in court thousands of times representing clients with drink driving charges throughout Brisbane.


I will just use the duty lawyer at court, that's free

Unless you are facing the chance of imprisonment, which is not likely for drink driving, unless there is another charge like dangerous driving then the duty lawyer cannot act for you at court.  This means you will be facing the court and the prosecutor on your own.


A lawyer is not going to make any real difference

We have done 1000's of drink driving charges and other traffic offences throughout Queensland.  Having expert traffic offence lawyers on your side always makes a difference.  It doesn't have to be us but always have a lawyer handle your matter in court.  Even a month or two less disqualification is worth the price let alone the reduction in stress you will have with a lawyer by your side handling everything.  Just the cost of ubers and taxis to get around for the few extra months a lawyer can save makes it worth it, let alone the saving in stress and worry.

Remember in court only a lawyer is on your side, the magistrate and the police prosecutor are not.


Our Experience

Since 2010 we have been representing people throughout the Brisbane region who have been charged with a DUI or Drink Driving charge and need good drink driving lawyers to represent them.

Our client often come to us nervous, worried and needing answers.  This is not a time for uncertainty over your future nor the costs you will pay.

We strive to give you immediate comprehensive advice and a fixed fee so you can be sure of your legal costs and whether you qualify for a work licence.

Our Founder Steven Brough is one of the most respected and experienced traffic lawyers in Queensland.


Why should I choose you and not just represent myself?

Just some reasons include;

  1. we know the Magistrates and what they want to hear to give you the lowest disqualification period and penalty

  2. we have good relationships with the police prosecutors meaning we can often have them support a work licence application or minimum disqualification submission

  3. 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

  4. engaging us shows the court you are taking your charges seriously

  5. your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you

  6. you will be fully informed of what is to happen in court and what this means for you after court

  7. unlike the police or the magistrate, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests


Is this all going to be a hassle to engage you?

No, in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our Brisbane office.  We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.

Most of the information we require you can complete with an online form from your phone or tablet.

You will also have the direct email address and mobile phone number of your lawyer so you can ask any question you may have.  We believe in given client the very best experience possible and that starts with great communication and fast responses to your queries.  Our client services manager Belinda is also just a phone call or email away to answer any questions you have.


How to get in Contact with us if you need a Lawyer?

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 call you back for a short free conference

  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

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.  


What do you charge?

We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. You can have an experienced lawyer by your side for cheaper than you think.

We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you.  Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our prices include;

  • full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty

  • Contacting the prosecution unit to obtain your traffic history, charge documents and a copy of the prosecutor court brief (QP9) so we know what the prosecutor will tell the court occurred

  • drafting submissions for the court

  • arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)

  • all telephone calls, faxes emails and meetings with you

  • detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards

  • appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge


For first time drink driving offences we charge

Low range              $1,499

Mid range              $1,599

High range             $1,699

Work Licence*         $2,200

(includes price of guilty plea)

If you aren't a first time drink driver we are happy to provide a fixed price quote.


If I contacted you what would occur?

If you contact us then Steven Brough the firm's founder or our office manager Belinda Smyth will take the call or receive the email. They have 45 years legal experience between them, we can provide immediate legal assistance and answer any questions you have. We will discuss your case, provide guidance and send a quote by email with additional relevant information about your drink driving charge, all at no cost.

If you want to engage us then it's easy, there is a form you can complete and email back or complete online. If you don't want to engage us or want to engage another firm that's fine, you won't be hassled and at worst you will just have more information about your charge. Once engaged one of our lawyers will go through your matter and contact you to discuss what the best way forward is to achieve the best results. Every one of our lawyers are very experienced with thousands of courts appearances between them and they know the Brisbane courts and the Magistrates and Judges. 


More Drink Driving Information

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


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What our clients say about Drink Driving Lawyers Brisbane