It is not uncommon for a person charged with a drink driving offence to ask us about whether their marine licence will also be disqualified upon conviction for a drink driving offence.
The law with respect to drink and drug driving in Queensland is contained in the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995. Section 79 of the Act provides several different offences which can apply to persons who consume alcohol or drugs and then drive vehicles, trams, trains or vessels. The relevant offence and the penalty that can be imposed upon conviction depends upon the quantity of alcohol or drugs in a person’s breath, saliva or blood at the time of driving and whether the person has previous convictions for drink or drug driving offences in the previous five years.
Section 86 of the Act sets out the minimum and maximum periods that a Court can order that a person will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence upon conviction for offence against section 79. The disqualification of a Queensland driver licence pursuant to section 86 does not automatically extend to the disqualification of a person’s marine licence.
A Court does have power under section 202A of the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 (TOMSA) to disqualify the marine licence of a person convicted of offences involving a ship or navigation of a ship if that person was in control of the ship and:-
- driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or with prescribed concentration of alcohol in blood or breath (Section 79, Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995)
- failed to supply a breath specimen for testing (Section 80, Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995)
- engaged in dangerous operation of a vehicle (Section 328A, Criminal Code).
The definition of a ship includes any kind of boat or other vessel used, or intended to be used, in navigation by water or for any other purpose on water.
The Court’s power to disqualify a person’s marine licence for the above offences is in addition to the power to disqualify the person’s Queensland driver licence under section 86. This means that if you are convicted of a drink driving offence while operating a vessel, you will be disqualified from holding both your Queensland driver licence and marine licence.
As with certain drink driving offences which relate to driving of vehicles, the Court has power to order that a person convicted of a drink driving offence while operating a vessel to be granted a restricted work licence which would allow the person to continue operating a vessel in order to earn their living.
If you are charged with a drink driving offence involving a Queensland regulated ship or navigation of a ship that you were in control of and need either a restricted driver licence (to drive motor vehicles) or restricted marine licence (to operate a vessel) to earn you living, you should contact our office for further advice.