It’s tempting to think of low range drink driving as an offence that you don’t need to worry about. Despite the name though, low range drink driving in Queensland is treated seriously by both police and the Courts.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how low range drink driving works in Queensland, when it applies and what you can expect in terms of process and penalties.
What Is Low Range Drink Driving in Queensland?
You probably already know that the maximum legal alcohol limit for open licence drivers in Queensland is 0.05% blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Low range drink driving, in Qld, is the charge that you will receive if you are caught driving with a BAC of over 0.05% and under 0.10%.
So let’s put that in practical terms with some help from the BAC calculator over at HealthEngine. You could well be inside that blood alcohol range if you:
- are a 75kg male who has consumed 5 standard drinks in 2 hours
- are a 65kg female who has consumed 4 standard drinks inside 2 hours
- are a 95kg male who has consumed 6 standard drinks in 3 hours
- are an 85kg female who has consumed 8 standard drinks in 7 hours
Lots of variables there of course, but in short: it’s an easy range to fall into if you’re not paying attention.
What Happens to Your Licence with a Low Range Drink Driving Offence?
Your licence is going to get suspended immediately for 24 hours in a low range drink driving offence.
That 24 hours begins from when your BAC is confirmed by breath or blood.
If it’s your first offence and a Court convicts you of low range drink driving then you’re going to get a licence suspension somewhere between 1 and 9 months, as you’ll see in the table below.
If you’re found driving during that 24 hour immediate suspension period or any later Court-ordered period then that will be a further offence with a maximum penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment or 40 penalty units (as at August 2020 this is $5,338).
What are the Other Penalties for Low Range Drink Driving Qld?
Aside from the impact on your licence, low range drink driving also comes with a maximum fine of $1,868 and 3 months imprisonment, as set out in the table below:
Will You Have to Go to Court for Low Range Drink Driving?
Yes, a low range drink driving charge is going to involve a trip to the Magistrates Court.
Because of this, we really recommend not trying to deal with the charge yourself and engage a lawyer instead. Even in straightforward situations, a lawyer can help ensure that the Court is aware of any relevant factors that might affect any penalties, or potentially any issues that might get the charge dismissed entirely.
Does Low Range Drink Driving Result in a Conviction?
The starting position is that you’ll have a traffic conviction recorded if you are found guilty of low range drink driving charge.
This means that the offence may show up on searches by prospective employers, could impact overseas travel and sometimes you might need to disclose the conviction (for example, to bodies governing your professional membership).
In some cases, your lawyer might be able to argue that no conviction should be recorded, but that’s something on which you would need to get specific advice for your situation.
Things that Make the Penalty Worse
Above we’ve set out the likely range of potential outcomes where this is your first charge of low range drink driving and there are no agrevating factors. However, in some situations, the consequences can be worse. These include, for example:
- you refuse to provide police with a breath or blood specimen when asked to do so;
- you’ve been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence;
- if you have an earlier drink driving charge that hasn’t been heard yet; and
- you’ve been previously charged with drink driving within the last 5 years;
For repeated drink driving offences you might have your car impounded, your licence disqualified for an extended period, a larger fine, a Alcohol Ignition interlock or potentially a term of imprisonment. For these reasons it’s important you let your lawyer know if there is history of any kind that might impact your situation.
Been Charged with Low Range Drink Driving?
As you’d expect us to say, the first and best thing you should do is to get in touch with us so we can help you through the process.
We can also help you understand the potential to have the charge discontinued, no conviction recorded or possibly applying for a work or special hardship licence.
You can get in touch here, and we’d be happy to help.