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Drink Driving: Penalties & Disqualification Periods

Drink Driving: Penalties & Disqualification Periods

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Drink Driving: Penalties & Disqualification Periods

Cassandra Adorni-Braccesi
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18 August 2021

If you have been charged with drink driving, you will likely be issued a Notice to Appear by the Queensland Police Service which will require you to appear in Court.  You must attend Court on the date provided in that Notice.  Failure to appear at Court is an offence, and a warrant may be issued for your arrest if you don't attend.

Drink Driving Ranges

The penalty you will receive for drink driving is dependant on several factors, including your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).  Your BAC is the amount of alcohol in your system, measured by calculating grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood.  Your BAC will be obtained by the arresting officer through a breath test or blood test.

There are several drink driving offences, and your BAC will determine which offence you are charged with.  The categories of offences are:-

  • Low Range – BAC reading of 0.05 to 0.09
  • Mid Range – BAC reading of 0.10 to 0.14
  • High Range – BAC reading 0.15 or above

There is also an offence of driving while over the no alcohol limit and under the general alcohol limit (BAC 0.01 to 0.04).  This offence will only occur if your licence is subject to a condition that prohibits you from having any alcohol in your system when driving.  A probationary licence is an example of a licence that requires the holder to have no alcohol in their system when driving.

Drink Driving Penalties

The penalties for drink driving include the imposition of a fine or term of imprisonment and license disqualification.  The penalty you receive will depend on your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and whether you have been convicted of a similar offence in the five years prior to offending.  You can view the current penalties on the Queensland Government website.


There are mandatory disqualification periods for drink driving offences in Queensland.  This means that you will lose your licence automatically when you are convicted of a drink driving offence, as the Court does not have discretion to allow you to keep your licence in these circumstances.

The period of disqualification will be dependant on the BAC and whether you have been convicted of a similar offence in the five years prior to offending.

If you would like further advice on minimising the penalty and disqualification period you will receive for drink driving or advice on how to apply for a restricted licence, please contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.