Immediate suspension for drink driving – What does this mean?

If you have been charged with a traffic offence such as drink driving, you may have your driver’s licence suspended immediately. What does this mean? Here at Drink Driver Lawyers, we know how stressful this time can be, so we’ve put together this post to share everything you need to know about an immediate driving suspension.

Here is a basic rundown of what happens when you get caught drink driving.

  1. The Police will ask you to provide a sample of your breath via a roadside breathalyser.
  2. If the breathalyser indicates that you are over the legal limit, you will be under arrest and transported back to the Police station.
  3. A second sample is taken of your breath using a more accurate breathalyser.
  4. You will be given a notice to appear in court and an immediate notice of driver licence suspension for either 24 hours or until your court date.
  5. You mustn’t drive home from the Police station, arrange for someone to come pick you up, as even sitting in your car while still over the legal alcohol limit can see you charged again.

Your charge

Whether you will be suspended immediately for 24 hours or until your court date will depend on the offence you have been charged with. Here is a rundown of some common scenarios:

Typically, when it comes to drink driving charges, your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately by Police for 24 hours. If you have been charged with a low-range drink driving offence, your BAC must have been over 0.00 but under 0.05 for learner or provisional drivers, and over 0.05 but under 0.10 for open licence holders. After the 24-hour suspension, you can resume driving as normal until your court date where the Magistrate will determine your official disqualification period and your fine.

You will be suspended immediately by Police if you have a mid-range or high-range BAC. A mid-range BAC is between 0.10 and 0.149, and a high-range BAC is 0.15 or over. The suspension will remain in place until your court date where you will be formally charged and suspended. The Magistrate will generally factor in how long you have already been without a licence when deciding on your disqualification period.

If the Police have pulled you over and you refuse to give a saliva, breath, or blood sample, you will be charged with a high range drink driving charge regardless of whether you are over the limit or not. Your driver’s licence will be automatically suspended until your matter is dealt with in court. This offence normally carries harsh penalties, and the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,000 or 6 months imprisonment.

Driving dangerously while under the influence of alcohol will result in an immediate suspension. It is considered a serious offence and more so if someone is injured or dies as a result. Hefty fines, penalties and even imprisonment are typically involved. If it can be proven that you have committed dangerous driving while under the influence, a minimum of 6 months disqualification period is expected, although it is generally longer.

Can I apply for a work licence?

If you need your licence while waiting to appear in court, you may be able to submit a Section 79E Application to the court to return your licence. If you would like to do this, it’s best to seek legal advice as soon as you can after your immediate disqualification to discuss your options and to start the process. Not getting on to this quickly will only see you without a licence for longer as it can take weeks to get this dealt with.

What happens if I am caught driving under Police suspension?

The court has very little tolerance for offences such as this. If you have been immediately suspended from driving and then drive and get caught, you will lose your licence for 2 years at the minimum, plus the additional time for your drink driving charge will be added to this. Not having a licence for years can have a huge impact on your ability to maintain employment and to complete everyday tasks such as going to the shops or visiting a friend. If you have been arrested for drink driving, make sure you clarify any uncertainties you have about your immediate suspension with the Police to ensure you aren’t breaking the law.

It’s not only a car you can get caught drink driving in

Many assume that you can only get charged with a drink driving offence if you are driving a vehicle however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Essentially, you can be charged with a drink driving offence for operating any mode of transport that has wheels. This includes bicycles, tractors and four-wheelers. Other modes of transport include driving a boat or jet ski.

If you have been immediately suspended from driving by Police for a drink driving offence, you don’t have to navigate your way through the legal process on your own. Our team here at Drink Driver Lawyers are experts in this area of the law and have successfully kept more than 1,500 Queenslanders on the road. We can help you understand the legal jargon and assist you with a work licence or submitting a Section 79E Application to ensure you get your licence back as soon as possible. Contact us today for more information!

Kai Alana

The author Kai Alana