In Queensland, you are required to provide a breath test if requested by police. Failing to do so is a serious offence that could result in the loss of your licence, substantial fines, or a prison sentence. If you have been charged with refusing a breath test, GC Traffic Lawyers can offer expert legal counsel.

What is a breath test?

Breath tests measure the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood. They are designed to accurately determine whether a motorist has exceeded the legal limit of alcohol permitted to be in their system. Breath tests can be used by police following a vehicle collision or at random. The police do not have to suspect you of drink-driving in order to request a breath test.

Is it an offence to refuse a breath test?

Under section 80(5A) of the Transport Operations (Road User Management) Act 1995, refusing a breath test is a serious offence, regardless of whether you have actually consumed any alcohol. The offence is called ‘failing to provide a breath specimen’ and carries more severe penalties than those you would face if you recorded a blood alcohol reading over the legal limit.

Penalties for refusing a breath test

As refusing a breath test is considered a serious breach of the law, penalties for this offence can be quite harsh.

Under Queensland law, these are the maximum penalties for refusing a breath test in Queensland:

  • (this offence applies to motorists required to maintain a blood alcohol concentration of 0.0, such as provisional or learner licence holders) – A licence disqualification of 3 – 9 months, an imprisonment term of 3 months, and a $1,827 fine
  • Over 0.05 but under 0.10 – A licence disqualification of 1 – 9 months, an imprisonment term of 3 months, and a $1,827 fine
  • Over 0.10 but under 0.15 – A licence disqualification of 3 – 12 months, an imprisonment term of 6 months, and a fine $2,611 fine
  • 0.15 and over – A minimum licence disqualification of 6 months, an imprisonment term of 9 months, and a $3,655 fine.

In addition to your blood alcohol concentration, the penalty you face for refusing a breath test may also depend on your traffic history. If you have been charged with drink-driving offences in the past, this could increase the harshness of your penalty.

Defences for refusing a breath test

It’s possible to defend a charge of refusing a breath test, but you’ll be required to provide evidence in support of your defence. For example, if you couldn’t take a breath test for medical reasons, you’ll require a certificate from your doctor.

If you can prove the test was somehow unlawful (for example, if police failed to follow correct procedures), or that it was unreasonable or unsafe for you to pull over when requested, this may also be used as a defence.

If you are thinking of contesting the charges being brought against you, GC Traffic Lawyers can advise you as to whether your defence will hold up in court.

Other FAQs

    Can a breathalyser detect marijuana?

    No, but other types of roadside tests are capable of detecting THC, the active ingredient in marijuana (saliva tests are commonly used in Queensland to apprehend drug drivers).

    Is it possible to beat a breathalyser test?

    No, it is practically impossible to beat a breathalyser. If police suspect you are trying to beat a breathalyser, they may charge you with refusing a breath test.

    How reliable are breathalysers?

    Breathalysers can usually be relied on to produce accurate results, but they’re not completely infallible. The accuracy of a breathalyser may be impacted by human error, incorrect calibration, software issues and environmental factors. As police use two types of breath tests before charging a motorist with drink driving, incorrect readings can usually be detected.

If you wish to contest the results of your drink driving charge, contact GC Traffic Lawyers today.