What is high-range drink driving?

What is high-range drink driving?

In Queensland, it is an offence to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% or over. Penalties range from a fine to a period of imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the charge. If you are charged with a drink driving offence, our Brisbane drink driving lawyers can help you understand how serious it is and what your options are.

The most serious drink driving offence under Queensland law is ‘high range drink driving’.

If charged, you will have to appear in the Magistrates Court closest to where the offence was, for example in Brisbane. Drink driving lawyers can appear on your behalf and help make your case to the court.

What is high range drink driving?

High range drink driving is the common term for the offence of driving a vehicle while over the ‘high alcohol limit’, defined as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or over.

High range drink driving is a serious offence, and carries serious penalties. If you collided with another vehicle and/or caused injury, while driving with a high alcohol limit, it is very possible that a period of imprisonment will be imposed, even for a first offence.

What happens if I am charged with high range drink driving?

If you are caught while driving while over the high alcohol limit, the police will immediately suspend your drivers licence. You will have to attend court to answer the charge of high range drink driving. Your licence will remain suspended until you attend court, which could be several months away. It is an additional offence to drive while your licence is suspended unless you make a separate application to the court to be granted permission to drive during the suspension period.

What happens if I am convicted of high range drink driving?

When you attend court, one or all of the following may be ordered.

Licence disqualification

Your licence will be disqualified for a given period. This period is a minimum of 6 months for a first offence, one year for a second offence and a minimum of two years for subsequent offences. The court can impose longer periods if they think it appropriate, including indefinite disqualification.

Once you get your licence back, you will be required to have an Alcohol Ignition Interlock device fitted to your car for the next 12 months.

Criminal conviction

Unlike some traffic offences, high range drink driving is considered to be a serious offence and is not expiable. A criminal conviction will be recorded against your name. This will show up in a standard employee background check, and may impact on your ability to find employment in the future.

In some professions, you are required to report any criminal convictions to your professional or regulatory body as soon as practicable, and this may affect whether you are allowed to carry on that profession.


If it’s your first offence, high range drink driving carries a maximum penalty of 9 months imprisonment, a fine of $3,859 and a licence disqualification of at least six months. If you’re convicted of a second instance of high range drink driving within 5 years, you could be looking at up to 18 months imprisonment.

If you are charged with high range drink driving, you should get advice from a drink driving lawyer in Brisbane as soon as possible. You are allowed to represent yourself in court, but given the seriousness of the offence, it can be very daunting and stressful. Our Brisbane drink driving lawyers can help guide you through the process and support you to the best possible outcome.