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high-range drink driving in Queensland - the charges and penalties

In Queensland, high-range drink driving is a serious offence. Those found guilty could face severe penalties such as imprisonment, hefty fines, loss of licence, or other dire consequences.

What is high-range drink driving?

It is extremely dangerous and potentially harmful (not only for the vehicle operator but other road users) to drink and drive, as a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can seriously impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In Queensland it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC higher than 0.05%.

High-range drink driving is one of the higher-level offences when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol. The offence of high-range drink driving is applied when a BAC of 0.15% or more is recorded from the person operating a motor vehicle.

If found guilty of high-range drink driving, the offender could face severe penalties or punishments as a result.

What are the penalties for high-range drink driving?

Penalties for high-range drink driving can include immediate licence suspension, hefty fines of approximately $4,000, driver’s licence disqualification and a maximum term of imprisonment for 9 months (for first time offenders).

Alcohol Interlock devices can also be installed for those found guilty of a drink driving offence. “Alcohol Ignition Interlock" means a device that, when fitted to a motor vehicle, prevents the vehicle from being started unless the device is provided with a specimen of a person’s breath containing either no alcohol or less than a particular concentration of alcohol. (Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 – Sect 911)

Read more about alcohol ignition interlock programs in Queensland:

Further, the court could impose community service as a penalty.

Work or Special Hardship licences

After being charged with high-range drink driving, work or special hardship licences may not be as easily obtainable as it is with lower-level offences.

Work and special hardship licences are both a kind of restricted driver licence issued in certain circumstances, generally where the lack of a driver licence has had a direct impact on their livelihood.

Work Licences

You must meet these requirements to apply for a work licence:

  • you have been on an open driver’s licence at the time of the offence;

  • you had an alcohol reading no more than .149 at the time of the offence;

  • you have not had your licence suspended or cancelled in the past five years.

As the high-range drink driving offence Is set with a BAC of 0.15% or more – the work licence criteria will not have been met.

Special Hardship Licences

Special hardship licences are obtained under circumstances of exceptional hardship if they are unable to drive.

Having access to professional legal advice will greatly aid in your ability to obtain a restricted or special hardship licence. Certain time limits govern the ability to obtain these licences, so it is important to seek legal support at your earliest opportunity.

Been charged with high-range drink driving? Seek legal advice

If you or someone you know is facing high-range drink driving charges in Queensland, it is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Traffic and Criminal Lawyers in Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba and Roma

The traffic and criminal law experts at Creevey Horrell Lawyers are well equipped to provide you with the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to find out more. Visit

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