You wouldn’t jump behind the wheel of your car and drive home after a few drinks, but did you know that simply sitting or sleeping in your car could lead to you being charged with drink driving?
Queensland law doesn’t draw a distinction between driving, attempting to drive or being “in charge of” a motor vehicle. If you are caught doing any of these things while over 0.05 (for open licences) you will be charged with drink driving.
So what does it mean to be “in charge of a motor vehicle”?
The traffic legislation does not require you to be driving a motor vehicle. A person is in charge of a motor vehicle if they appear, act or behave as the driver. Basically it looks at whether you are in a position to exercise control over the vehicle and will turn on the individual matter.
Some examples of where people have been convicted of being “in charge” include:
• Sitting in the driver’s seat while the engine is running
• Sitting in the driver’s seat while the car is turned off, with the keys
• Sleeping in the driver’s seat
• Sleeping in the passenger’s seat with the car keys
• Being outside the vehicle with the keys where they are in a position to drive it
A defence does exist to the charge. This can apply if:
• you were manifested an intention not to drive the motor vehicle
• you were not so intoxicated that you were incapable of forming an intention not to drive
• the motor vehicle was not parked a way in that was a danger
• and you haven’t been convicted of an alcohol or drug- related driving offence in the last year.
Mandatory periods of disqualification mean you will lose your licence for drink driving. It is important to speak with an experienced traffic lawyer to keep that disqualification as low as possible or to apply for a restricted work licence.
Have you been charged with being “in charge of a motor vehicle”? Could you have a defence available?
We are available at any of our local offices or by telephone or video-conference. Get the best representation and book a Criminal & Traffic Law Consultation for $149. Speak to our expert lawyers on 1800 999 529, email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an enquiry below.