Next Morning / Day Drink Driving Offences

Many drivers believe that they’re obeying the law by not driving home after having a few drinks, only to get caught with a high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) reading the following morning or day after. As law enforcers are increasingly setting up random breath tests early in the morning, more drivers are finding themselves in a lot of trouble for “morning after”, “next morning”, or “next day” drink driving offences.

Why you may be charged with drink driving the morning after

Your liver typically breaks down only a small portion of the alcohol you consume in one standard drink every hour. Contrary to popular belief, sleeping, taking cold showers, strong coffee, or vomiting will not reduce your BAC level. If you’ve consumed a few glasses of alcoholic beverages the night before, it’s highly possible for your body to retain most of the alcohol by the time you wake up and drive home. Only the passage of sufficient time from your last drink can lower your BAC level. So it’s vital to avoid driving when you’ve had some drinks regardless what time you actually get on the road.

Factors affecting BAC

BAC refers to the concentration of alcohol in your breath or blood, measured in grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Not everyone will have the same BAC even if they consume the same type and quantity of alcoholic drinks at the same time. Your BAC will depend on several factors such as:

  • Your weight;
  • Your fitness level;
  • The volume of alcohol you consume;
  • The period over which you consume alcohol;
  • Your gender;
  • How often you consume alcohol;
  • Your liver’s condition;
  • The type of drinks consumed.

BAC limits for specific licences

Depending on where you are, the legal BAC limits will depend on the type of licence you hold and the vehicle you operate. Holders of learner and probationary (P) licences generally have a lower BAC limit than full licence holders. If you are caught with blood alcohol concentrations beyond the legal limits that apply to you, you will face corresponding charges for drink driving.

Penalties for drink driving offences

A charge of drink driving should be taken seriously. Depending on the type of licence you hold and the BAC level taken at the time of your arrest, you can face:

  • Automatic licence suspension;
  • Steep fines;
  • Impounding of your vehicle;
  • Licence disqualification for a minimum to automatic periods;
  • Participation in interlock device program; and even
  • Jail time.

Facing court trial for drink driving

Anyone charged with drink driving, even if they are apprehended the next day following a big night, will have to go to court and defend the charge. When you do, it’s important to check the police report and BAC certificate and see whether the date and time indicated on the certificate are consistent with the time of your arrest. You may also find inaccuracies in the police report and explain to the judge what really transpired at the time of your arrest. If police present a copy of your criminal record, you must also ensure that it is, indeed, yours.

Sentencing factors for drink driving

Upon viewing the evidence and hearing your case, the court will ordinarily consider several factors in arriving at the appropriate penalty, such as:

  • Whether you were stopped due to erratic or dangerous driving or detected by a random breath test (RBT);
  • Specific reasons for choosing to drive;
  • Whether you were under the belief that you were not over the limit when you drove;
  • Your prior driving history;
  • The length of the intended journey at the time you were apprehended;
  • Any adverse effect that a licence disqualification may have on your employment and your daily expenditure;
  • Likelihood of re-offending; and
  • Whether or not anyone was placed at risk by the next day driving offence.

Defences for drink driving offences

Existing drink driving laws do not specifically provide more relaxed sentences for next day or next morning offences. But you may be able to make submissions to the magistrate, stating circumstances that may warrant leniency such as:

  • The interval of time between your last drink and your apprehension;
  • Special reasons for driving at the time;
  • Importance of a driver’s licence for work, particularly what may happen to your job if you are disqualified for a long period;
  • Other reasons why you need a driver’s licence.

Importance of experienced criminal defence lawyer

A conviction for drink driving offences can have a severe impact on your future, particularly if it is not your first offence. Raising all possible criminal defences in your situation is necessary for you to avoid serious penalties that can destroy your job and your personal life.

We invite you to call an experienced lawyer at Boorman Lawyers for legal advice and help. Our team of qualified and seasoned solicitors may be reached at 1300 941 900. We will evaluate your case in a free first case consultation.


Speak to our DUI Lawyers Ph: 1300 941 900

Our DUI Lawyers can be contacted at:

Boorman Lawyers NSW & QLD Solicitors

Sydney NSW 2000
Bundall QLD 4217
1300 941 900
Next Morning or Day Drink Driving Offences was published by Josh Boorman a Drink Driving Lawyer.