Drink Driving Penalties QLD
Queensland Drink Driving Penalties
It should be understood that serious Traffic and DUI Offences in Queensland are considered by the Parliament, the Court system and by the general Community to be very serious criminal offences. The main reason that these types of offences are considered so serious is quite simply due to the fact that they pose an extremely high risk of hurt, injury, damage and even death to other people and road users within our Community. Putting innocent people’s lives at risk is never taken lightly no matter what the criminal offence and for this reason Parliament has enacted strict and often at times quite complex laws to be applied to traffic and DUI offences in Queensland.
There are a variety of different penalties that the Courts have at their disposal to use in order to punish offenders and deter other from committing the same offence. Such penalties can include a monetary penalty, recording of a criminal conviction, licence disqualification, good behaviour bond, community service order, intensive corrections order and even include a full time period of imprisonment.
If you want to find out more information on what constitutes a DUI offence then click here – DUI Offences in Queensland.
Throughout this page you will find a detailed summary of the penalties and sentences that are in place for each respective charges for DUI in Queensland.
What is a DUI 1st Offence, 2nd Offence or 3rd Offence?
Prior to reading the information below you should understand that an offence is categorised as a 1st Offence when there are no prior or subsequent offences off a similar nature that you have been convicted of within the 5 years prior to the current offence appearing before the Court.
Where a person has been convicted on a 2nd Offence (of a similar nature) within the past 5 years then the current offence before the Court will be classed as a 2nd Offence.
Furthermore, where a person has 2 prior convictions within the past 5 years for same or similar offences then the current offence before the Court will be classed as a 3rd Offence.
The laws of Queensland makes it clear that where a person has been charged with a 2nd Offence or 3rd Offence then the penalties are to be increased and should be dealt with more severely compared to that of a 1st Offence.
Low Range Drink Driving Penalties
For the offence of Low Range Drink Driving in Queensland a person must have recorded a Blood Alcohol Reading (BAC) over 0.050 but under 0.100 limit.
Low Range DUI (1st Offence)
The maximum penalty for the offence of Low Range Drink Driving can carry a period of 3 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty equivalent to 14 Penalty Units for a first offence.
Upon a finding or plea of Guilty to Low Range Drink Driving the Court is obligated by law to disqualify the offenders drivers licence for a period of 1 month to 9 months.
Low Range DUI (2nd Offence)
The maximum penalty that a Court can issue for an offender charged with Low Range Drink Driving as a 2nd Offence is 6 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty of 20 Penalty Units.
In relation to a period of disqualification for a Low Range DUI classed as a 2nd or subsequentoffence then the Court can disqualify the offenders licence for a period between 3 months to 18 months.
Low Range DUI (3rd Offence)
For a Low Range Drink Driving offence where a person has been convicted of their 3 Offence within the past 5 years then the Court can issue a term of imprisonment for 9 months and also receive a monetary penalty of 28 Penalty Units.
Middle Range Drink Driving Penalties
Middle Range DUI (1st Offence)
Middle Range Drink Driving attracts a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty equivalent to20 Penalty Units for a first offence in Queensland. Should a person be found Guilty or decide to enter a plea of Guilty to Middle Range Drink Driving then Court is required by law to disqualify the offenders drivers licence for a period of 3 month to 12 months.
Middle Range DUI (2nd Offence)
When it comes to dealing with a second offence within the past 5 years for an offence of Middle Range Drink Driving then the same maximum penalties apply, that being 6 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty of 20 Penalty Units. However, when is comes to disqualifying a persons drivers licence when it is their 2 offence or subsequent with the past 5 years then the Courts of Queensland are required to issue a period of disqualification between 3 months to 18 months.
Middle Range DUI (3rd Offence)
If a person has been charged with a 3rd offence within the past 5 years then substantially more severe penalties and sentences must be applied. The Court can issue a maximum term ofimprisonment up to 9 months and also receive a monetary penalty of 28Penalty Units.
For a 3rd offence then the same disqualification period applies as if it was a 2nd offence which is a period between 3 months to 18 months licence disqualification.
High Range Drink Driving (aka DUI)
When is comes to dealing with the most serious categories of drink driving offences then High Range Drink Driving also known as Driving Under the Influence is considered the most serious type of alcohol related traffic offences in Queensland.
High Range Drink Driving offences are considered so serious due to the fact that is means that an accused persons Blood Alcohol Reading (BAC) was 0.150 or higher. This means that the persons ability to safety operate a motor vehicle would be significantly impaired and as such pose serious and real dangers to other road users.
High Range DUI (1st Offence)
The maximum penalty for High Range Drink Driving for a 1st offence in Queensland is up to 9 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty equivalent to 28 Penalty Units.
Where a plea of Guilty is entered or there is a finding of Guilt for a High Range DUI 1st Offence then the Court is obligated to disqualify the offenders licence for a period of at least 6 month but this period can be increase to any period higher and at the Courts discretion.
High Range DUI (2nd Offence)
When it comes to dealing with a 2nd Offence within the past 5 years for an offence of High Range Drink Driving then the maximum penalties is 18 months in prison and/or a monetary penalty of60 Penalty Units. For a 2nd Offence where the offence is a High Range Drink Driving offence then the Court must issue a period of licence disqualification of 1 year or more.
High Range DUI Offence (3rd Offence)
Where an offender appears before the Court with 2 or more offence (of a similar nature) within the past 5 years, in other words it it is their 3rd Offence or worse then the law says that some form of imprisonment must be issued. This doesn’t necessarily mean that full time custody would definitely be issued since the period of imprisonment may be wholly suspended.
Nevertheless, such repeat offenders certainly have a very strong chance of receiving a full time jail period. The maximum period of imprisonment for a 3rd Offence is 18 months and/or monetary fine of 60 penalty units. The law says that a person who appears before the Court on a 3rd Offence which is High Range Drink Driving must receive a minimum of 2 years licence disqualification. However, depending on the case before the Court the Magistrate has the discretion to increase this period of disqualification up to any period of time, including an absolute lifelong ban.
Immediate Licence Suspension
If a person have been charged with a Low Range Drink Driving offence then Police must issue a notice of suspension for at least 24 hours following the commission of the offence.
If a person is charged with either a Middle Range Drink Driving offence or a High Range Drink Driving offence (DUI) then Police have the power to issue the accused person with an immediate licence suspension until the Court decide how to deal with the charges in a Court of law.
This can come as a shock since there can be a significant period of time to wait until your matters is finally before the Court. For this reason there is an option of submitting a Section 79E application seeking the removal of the immediate police suspension.
Jail for DUI Offenders
Obviously a penalty of incarceration (jail time) is usually reserved for the most serious of Drink Driving cases that come before the Court. It is not uncommon however for repeat offender to be issued with a period of imprisonment if there prior traffic record shows the Court that they continue to disregard the law and continue to put people’s lives in danger.
Repeated DUI Offences - Cumulative Disqualification
For repeat DUI offenders it should be made clear that if more than 1 period of disqualification is imposed then these periods of disqualification must be run on a “cumulative” basis which means that each period of disqualification will not begin until the previous period of disqualification has come to an end. In other words multiple periods of disqualification will not be run at the same time.
For example where a person receives a period of 3 months disqualification and then before that 3 months disqualification expires they are issued with a further 12 months disqualification. Then this means that the new 12 month period of disqualification will commence once the initial 3 month disqualification period has been fully serve.