Daily Archives: December 20, 2012

Drink driving - be safe over Christmas

Well the festive season is upon us and it is at this time of year that we can embark upon a little too much Christmas cheer. As is the case every year at this time, the police services of Australia will be out in force in an effort to reduce road traffic accidents and remove drink drivers from our roads.

Whilst we all are familiar with responsible consumption of alcohol and when we can and cannot drive, it is often the morning after a big night when offending drivers are caught out. You can feel fine to drive even if your blood alcohol limit exceeds that which is legally allowed.

We would like to remind readers that, depending upon certain criteria, if you are charged with a drink driving offence you may be eligible to apply for a work licence to enable you to keep driving.

In Queensland, a work licence may be granted in the following circumstances:

• Drink driving;
• Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit;
• Driving with cannabis, ecstasy or ice in your saliva or blood;
• Being in charge of a vehicle with a relevant drug in your saliva or blood; or
• Failing to supply a breath or saliva sample at the roadside (not at the police station).

Exceptions to this include any readings where your blood alcohol content is 0.15% or more or if you are the holder of a provisional licence. Further you must have been the holder of a current licence at the time of the offence and not been convicted of a drink driving, dangerous driving or similar offence in the last 5 years.

Also, your licence must not have been disqualified, suspended or cancelled in the previous 5 years, though if your licence was suspended by the State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) as a consequence of failing to pay a fine, then this will not prohibit your application from proceeding.
Importantly, if you wish to make an application for a work licence you must apply to the Magistrates Court of Queensland at your first appearance there, as it will be too late if you wait until the court disqualifies your licence. Therefore, once you are charged make sure you seek appropriate legal advice before your first court appearance to determine whether or not you fit within the criteria to make an application for a work licence.

If you do fall within the criteria, the other points which you will need to prove are as follows:

• You are a fit and proper person;
• You are without a licence;
• You and/or your family would experience extreme hardship if you are not able to drive;
• It is likely you would lose your job (if you are self-employed, that you would be unable to earn an income).

All of these particulars will be set out in affidavit material (sworn statements) that are submitted to the court for consideration together with submissions by your lawyer.

Hopefully you will not need to go down this path this festive season or thereafter, though it can never hurt to be aware of your rights if things don’t go to plan.