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  • Writer's pictureSam Kuhn


You’ve been out for a night drinking. Instead of taking the risk of driving home under the influence, you play it safe (or so you believe) and sleep the night in your car. No harm, no foul… right? Not quite. Something as simple as having the keys to ignition close-by or in your lap whilst sitting in your immobile vehicle is considered being ‘in charge’ of said motor vehicle.

If you have been found charged with a drink driving or similar offence, please do not hesitate to contact our professional team as soon as you can. Specialised legal services, guidance and representation is what will see you through what is to come.

First, here is what you need to know about being ‘In Charge’ of a motor vehicle and drink driving offences, as defined by the Queensland law.

What does it mean to be in charge of a vehicle?

Whilst there is no explicit definition outlined in the Act, a general meaning can be likened to having responsibility for the vehicle. What gauges responsibility can be as simple as sitting in your car, front or back seat, with keys readily available and the knowledge to drive.

It therefore does not matter where you are. If you’re found with a BAC of over 0.05% (for an open licensee), and are in charge of a motor vehicle, you can be found guilty of the offence even if you’re not on main road.

What does it mean to commit a drink driving offence?

To commit a drink driving offence means to have been drinking and be the person ‘in charge’ of a vehicle. (See below).

Offence of driving etc. while under the influence any person who, while under the influence of liquor or a drug— (a) drives a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or (b) attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or (c) is in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 28 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 9 months.

The Road Ahead

If you have been charged with a traffic related offence due to some similar circumstances as those above, or by any other means, it is crucial to obtain professional legal advice at this time.

Further, all cases will vary. While you may have gone through similar circumstances once before, or perhaps know someone who has; it does not ensure your outcome. What will significantly increase the chances of lessened penalties, securing unrecorded convictions and more- will depend on the representation you seek.

Speak to Creevey Russell Lawyers, Today for Traffic Offence Legal Advice and Support.

Our experienced traffic offence team can offer guidance through the following traffic offences and areas;

• Unlicensed Driving, Suspension and Disqualified Driving Offences

• Work license applications

• Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and careless driving

• Drink driving and drug driving offences

• Work license applications

• Special hardship license applications

• Application to remove license disqualification

We are a law firm with locations in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma. Our firm specialises in the following areas of law and help an extensive range of clients across Queensland and New South Wales. We're passionate about providing sensible solutions to our client’s legal needs and are focused on excellence in law, service and communication.

Call us on 07 3009 6555 OR Send through an email to



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