WITH the festive season upon us, a Toowoomba solicitor is warning revellers to remember that one doesn't necessarily have to be at the steering wheel to be charged under drink-driving laws.

MacDonald Law principal Shane MacDonald represented a man in court this week who was convicted of drink-driving when his car had never left his property.

"He used his carport as an entertainment area for a party and had the car parked in his front yard," Mr MacDonald said.

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"After the party, he was putting the car back in the carport just as police arrived on a noise complaint. They hadn't been called for anything to do with his driving."

The man blew a breath/alcohol reading of 0.147 and was fined and disqualified from driving.

"You don't have to be driving on a road; you could be anywhere, as long as you are in charge of the motor vehicle," he said.

And, merely sitting in the car while drunk can get you into trouble.

"There was a case in Toowoomba of a man who got into an argument at a party and so went to sit in his car in the driveway for a while to calm down.

"The police arrived on a noise complaint to find him in the back seat listening to the radio and got him for being in charge of the vehicle (over the limit).

"Often people are caught sleeping it off in their car only to be charged.

"They think they're doing the right thing but as it turns out they are breaking the law.

Are drink driving laws too tough?

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"People need to know this, especially at this time of year."

Being a passenger in a car driven by a learner driver can also be trouble.

Even though the learner driver returns a zero breath/alcohol reading, the person sitting beside the driver is deemed to be in charge of the vehicle and, if over the limit, is charged.


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