A 36-year-old woman from the Gold Coast who was allegedly caught behind the wheel for high-range drink driving has told police she only had “two beers” after returning a breath test which saw her seven times over the legal alcohol limit.
The Coomera resident was stopped by police after she allegedly hit two parked cars at a Hope Island shopping centre on 23 March 2022.
Around 7pm, Queensland Police Service were called to the scene where they discovered the woman under the influence of alcohol.
Officers spoke to the woman who had been sitting in her Nissan X-Trail off Masthead Way and strangely told police that someone took her car.
“Now someone took my car, I don’t know why,” she said.
“In the last couple of days … I just haven’t reported it.”
With suspicion rousing, police then requested the woman to provide a breath test and asked her whether she had had any drinks that night.
To this, the woman replied, “Yeah, I had two beers”.
Oddly enough, when officers breathalysed the alleged drink driver, she returned a reading of 0.379 per cent – over seven times the legal blood alcohol limit to drive and one of the state’s highest readings.
The 36-year-old was charged with high-range drink driving under the influence of liquor.
She had her licence suspended and was handed a notice to attend Southport Magistrates Court the following month.
Woman’s Alcohol Breath Sample One of the Highest on Record in Queensland
According to a Queensland Police spokesperson, the woman’s breath sample of seven times over the legal limit presents as one of the highest readings recorded across the state.
Presently, it comes in at second place to an infamous 2015 incident in which a Gold Coast mother recorded a reading of 0.48.
The 42-year-old woman as allegedly found passed out inside a vehicle.
She was taken to the Gold Coast University hospital where her breath alcohol reading was taken and now stands as an Australian record.
The woman was charged with high-range drink driving and her licence was immediately suspended.
According to experts, at such a high level of intoxication, people are close to death, with the harm done to organs being enormous, including serious liver damage and the destruction of brain cells.
In fact, experts have said that even by a reading of 0.3, people can reach the point of being comatose.
Consequently, impaired driving can cause serious accidents to drivers and other road users.
Some of these can lead to paralysis, disfigurement, brain damage, and even death.
Specifically, alcohol causes changes in the areas of the brain that control motor skills, which results in slower reflexes and a decreased ability to safely steer or use the brake pedals appropriately.
It can also impair vision given alcohol relaxes the muscles that control the eyes.
Thus, blurred vision and a slower visual reaction time is likely to occur when driving under the influence of alcohol.
High-Range PCA Drink Driving Offences In New South Wales
Not only is drink driving unlawful, the crime also attracts substantial penalties which are enforced to both send the message that the courts take the offence very seriously and to deter road users from engaging in the dangerous conduct.
In NSW, the penalties for high-range drink driving will vary according to the circumstances in which the offence takes place.
If you are a first-time offender found guilty of high-range drink driving, the maximum penalty you can face is up to 18-months in jail, or a fine of $3,300, or both.
On top of this, a compulsory licence disqualification of 6-9 months is also enforced, along with an interlock period for a minimum of two years thereafter.
If you are a second-time offender or a subsequent offender, however, the penalties substantially increase. Here, the maximum penalty you can receive is up to two years in jail, a fine of $5,500, or both.
In addition to this, a compulsory licence disqualification period of nine months to one year applies, as well as a minimum interlock period of four years thereafter.
By Sahar Adatia.