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Drink Driving

Drink driving is a criminal matter that is taken very seriously by the police. Alcohol is well-known (and scientifically proven) to impair driving skills. If you consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel, you will likely have slowed reaction times and an increased tendency to take risks on the road.

Drivers who have their full license are required by law to have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of no more than .05, if a driver exceeds this amount they will be charged with drink driving. Drivers who have their provisional or learner driver’s license must have a BAC of 0.0. If a driver on their provisional or learner driver’s license exceeds this, their license may be suspended on the spot.

Drink driving (especially high range) carries significant penalties. These include fines, demerit points and even jail time depending on the severity of the offence. Further, recent legislation has meant that driver’s caught drink driving may have their cars fitted with a device which can detect if they get into their car whilst intoxicated

Strict Liability

Strict liability means that in order for a person to be found guilty of an offence, they do not need to have intended to commit the offence. The police in this sense merely need to prove that the offence occurred. Many driving offences (including drink driving) are considered offences of strict liability, meaning that they can be harder to defend.


Laws in relation to drink driving (and criminal law in general) is governed by state legislation. The police of each state or territory enforce these laws as follows:

  • In New South Wales – Road Rules 2014
  • In Queensland – Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009
  • In Victoria – Road Safety Road Rules 2017
  • In Tasmania – Road Rules 2009
  • In South Australia – Road Traffic Act 1961
  • In Western Australia – Road Traffic Code 2000
  • In the Northern Territory – NT Traffic Regulations 1999
  • In the Australian Capital Territory – Road Transport (Road Rules) Regulation 2017

What is a Drink Driving Lawyer?

A drink driving lawyer is a criminal lawyer that focuses on defending action brought against clients for drink driving. Drink driving is also known as driving under the influence (DUI) and in Australia will occur where an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.05% whilst operating a motor vehicle. DUIs occur often, and a drink driving lawyer works to provide legal advice regarding the rights of drivers and will represent them throughout court process.

Why do I need a Drink Driving Lawyer?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it is always recommended to seek legal advice from a drink driving lawyer. Their expertise is derived from years of experience in this field of criminal law and will therefore effectively advise you on your rights and the most appropriate course of action.

In most cases of drink driving, an offender is required to attend Court. In this sense, it is helpful to have a lawyer act on your behalf.

What will a Drink Driving Lawyer provide?

A drink driving lawyer will provide you with expert legal advice and guidance. Their expertise in the field will usually give an affordable and effective solution that can be implemented in a reasonable time. Further, a drink driving lawyer will also provide legal representation in the courts.

How Much Will a Drink Driving Lawyer Charge?

Drink driving lawyers like most criminal lawyers will charge on an hourly basis. Some lawyers may charge on a fixed price basis and will generally cost upwards of $2000 for consultation and appearances in court.
The costs involved in defending drink driving charges can be expensive, whilst this is the case, for many individuals it is an appropriate and important measure for the prospect of keeping their drivers licence and even avoiding incarceration..

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of a Drink Driving Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.

What can a Drink Driving Lawyer legally charge?

Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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