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DUI Offences

Drink driving laws are different between the Australia states and Territories. The process, options and penalties differ depending on where the offence took place. Victoria has some of the strictest drink driving rules in Australia.

What should you do if you are charged with drink driving?

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, to have the best opportunity to avoid a conviction and possible imprisonment you should seek professional legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer immediately.  Some of your options will have time limits.  A legal representative will provide you with the best course of action to achieve the desired outcome.

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If convicted of a drink driving offence in Queensland, your licence will be disqualified for a minimum period of one month and you will also likely be fined.  The length of disqualification will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offence.  Where the reading is very high or a repeat offence you may even face the possibility of jail.  There are four alcohol limits in Queensland.  The presence of alcohol in your blood or breath concentration (BAC) is used to measure if you have exceeded these legal limits.  The limits are used to determine the specific penalties when you are caught driving in excess of these limits.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)Licence disqualificationMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonmentSubject to alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.001-0.049* 3 to 9 months $1,868 3 months N
0.05-0.099 1 to 9 months $1,868 3 months N
0.100-0.149 3 to 12 months $2,669 6 months N
0.15 and over** Minimum of 6 months $3,736 9 months Y
Subsequent Offence
Any Up to 2 years $8,007 Determined by the court Y
* applies to learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles
**includes refusal to provide sample

In order to avoid licence disqualification in Queensland, you may be eligible to apply for a work licence or appeal a decision and seek removal of the disqualification period.

If convicted an automatic licence suspension applies as well as mandatory fines.  Work Licences are not available in NSW.  The minimum licence disqualification periods can only be obtained through a special court order.  Imprisonment is also a possibility in more serious cases.

Prescribed concentration of alcohol (PAC)Licence disqualificationAutomatic disqualification periodMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonmentSubject to alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.001-0.049* 3 to 6 months 6 months $2,200 N/A N
0.050-0.079 3 to 6 months 6 months $2,200 N/A N
0.080-0.149 6 months to unlimited 12 months $2,200 9 months Y
0.15 and over** 12 months to unlimited 3 years $3,300 18 months Y
Subsequent offence within 5 years
0.001-0.049* 6 months to unlimited 12 months $3,300 N/A Y
0.050-0.079 6 months to unlimited 12 months $3,300 N/A Y
0.080-0.149 12 months to unlimited 3 years $3,300 12 months Y
0.15 and over** 2 years to unlimited 5 years $5,500 2 years Y
*applies to learner, P1 or P2 drivers
**includes refusal to provide sample

A possible way to avoid licence disqualification in NSW may be the submission of a Section 10 request for the court to not record a conviction on a guilty plea for suitable candidates.

If convicted of a drink driving offence in Victoria, there is a mandatory cancellation of your licence for set periods.  A licence cancellation differs to suspension as at the conclusion of the cancellation period the driver will need to apply to get the licence back and may require a Licence Eligibility Order from the Magistrates Court.  There will be a fine imposed as determined by the court.  It is also a requirement in all instances that disqualified drivers complete a behaviour change program before they will be eligible to apply for another licence and all disqualified drivers will be subject to installation of an alcohol interlock on their vehicles for a period when they return to driving.  For serious offences there is also the possibility of imprisonment.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)Minimum licence disqualificationMinimum subsequent zero BAC requirementMinimum period of alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.001-0.049* 3 months 3 years 6 months
0.050-0.069 6 months 3 years 6 months
0.050-0.069** 3 months*** 3 years 6 months
0.070-0.099 6 months 3 years 6 months
0.100-0.149 10-14 months 3 years 6 months
0.15 and over 15-24 months 3 years 6 months
Non-BAC drink-driving offence decided by the court 3 years decided by the court
Subsequent Offence
0.001-0.149 12-18 months 3 years 12 months
0.15 and over 30-48 months for period of interlock decided by the court
*applies to learner, P1 or P2 drivers, full licence with a Z condition
**full licence, over 26 years old and no Z condition
***if issued a traffic infringement notice 6 month minimum disqualification applies if imposed by the court

There are no work licences available in Victoria, neither are diversions an option due to the fixed penalties in relation to drink driving offences.

In South Australia you will face severe penalties if caught drink driving.  If charged with high range drink driving, or a second or subsequent drink driving offence you will lose your licence on the spot.  Penalties for drink driving in South Australia include heavy fines, licence disqualification, demerit points, wheel clamping, impounding or forfeiture of a vehicle and vehicle interlocks.  Imprisonment is also a possibility in more serious cases.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)minimum licence disqualification periodMaximum fine amountDemerit pointsSubject to alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.050-0.079 (0.001-0.079*) 3 months $1,100** 4 N
0.080-0.149 6 months $1,300 5 Y
0.15 and over*** 12 months $1,600 6 Y
Second offence
0.050-0.079 (0.001-0.079*) 6 months $1,100 4 N
0.080-0.149 12 months $1,600 5 Y
0.15 and over 3 years $2,400 6 Y
Third or subsequent offence
0.050-0.079 (0.001-0.079*) 9 months $1,100 4 N
0.080-0.149 2 years $2,200 5 Y
0.15 and over 3 years $2,900 6 Y
*applies to learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles
**An expiation notice will be issued, and a fee of $743 fee is payable.  If you decide to pay the fee and not challenge the offence there is no licence disqualification or conviction recorded
***includes refusal to provide sample

In South Australia penalties for drink driving include demerit points.  This can complicate matters for drivers that exceed their points limit as a result of their drink driving offence, additional periods of licence suspension will be imposed.  Work licences are not available in South Australia.  There are limited circumstances where a reduction to the minimum disqualification period can be sought from the court.

Like many of the states, there are tough penalties for those charged with a drink driving offence in Western Australia including loss of licence, fines and even imprisonment in the most severe cases.  Those committing a drink driving offence in Western Australia may also be subject to an alcohol interlock scheme, especially if it is a second or subsequent BAC offence.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)minimum licence disqualification periodMaximum fine amountDemerit points
First Offence
0.001-0.019 N/A $300* 3
0.020-0.049 3 months $300 N/A
0.050-0.059 N/A $500* 3
0.060-0.069 N/A $500* 4
0.070-0.079 N/A $500* 5
0.080-0.089 6 months $1,500 N/A
0.090-0.109 7 months $1,500 N/A
0.110-0.129 8 months $1,500 N/A
0.130-0.149 9 months $1,500 N/A
0.15 and over*** 10 months $2,500 N/A
Second offence
0.050-0.069 6 months $1,000 N/A
0.070-0.079 8 months $1,000 N/A
0.080-0.089 8 months $1,500 N/A
0.090-0.109 10 months $1,500 N/A
0.110-0.129 14 months $2,000 N/A
0.130-0.149 18 months $2,500 N/A
0.15 and over 30 months $3,500** N/A
Third or subsequent offence
0.050-0.069 8 months $1,000 N/A
0.070-0.079 10 months $1,000 N/A
0.080-0.089 10 months $1,500 N/A
0.090-0.109 13 months $1,500 N/A
0.110-0.129 17 months $2,000 N/A
0.130-0.149 30 months $3,000 N/A
0.15 and over Life $5,000*** N/A
*An infringement notice will be issued and a lesser fee is payable.  If you decide to pay the fee and not challenge the charge there is no conviction recorded
**option of 9 months imprisonment in place of maximum fine
***option of 18 months imprisonment in place of maximum fine

In order to avoid licence disqualification in Western Australia you may be eligible to apply for an Extraordinary Drivers Licence.

Penalties for drink diving offences in Tasmania can be severe, your licence will be disqualified for a minimum period of three months and you will also be fined.  The length of disqualification will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offence and imprisonment is an option that the courts can exercise at their discretion.  More serious and repeat offences attract participation in the Mandatory Interlock Program.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)Licence disqualificationMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonmentSubject to alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.001-0.049* 3 to 12 months $1,680 3 months N
0.05-0.099 3 to 12 months $1,680 3 months N
0.100-0.149 6 to 18 months $3,360 6 months N
0.15 and over** 12 to 36 months $3,736 12 months Y
Subsequent Offence
0.001-0.049* 6 to 24 months $1,680 6 months Y
0.05-0.099 6 to 24 months $1,680 6 months Y
0.100-0.149 12 to 36 months $3,360 12 months Y
0.15 and over** 24 to 72 months $3,736 24 months Y
*applies to learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles
**includes refusal to provide sample

In Tasmania you may be able to apply for a Restricted Drivers Licence in certain circumstances.  There is also the opportunity in certain situations to apply to the court for a reduction of the licence disqualification period.

In the ACT your licence will be immediately suspended if you commit a drink driving offence, the suspension is automatically 90 days for ACT drivers.  It is likely that a conviction will be recorded when charged with a drink driving offence along with a fine and disqualification of your licence for a nominated period.  Higher range offences attract the possibility of a period of imprisonment and high range and repeat offences also require participation in a mandatory alcohol interlock program.

Prescribed concentration of alcohol (PAC)Minimum licence disqualificationDefault licence disqualificationMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonmentSubject to alcohol interlock
First Offence
0.001-0.049* 1 month 3 months $800 N/A N
0.050-0.079 2 months 6 months $800 N/A N
0.080-0.149 3 months 12 months $1,600 6 months N
0.15 and over 6 months 3 years $2,400 9 months Y
Refuse to provide sample 6 months 3 years $4,800 9 months Y
Subsequent Offence
0.001-0.049* 3 months 12 months $1,600 N/A Y
0.05-0.099 3 months 12 months $1,600 N/A Y
0.100-0.149 6 months 3 years $1,600 6 months Y
0.15 and over 12 months 5 years $3,200 12 months Y
Refuse to provide sample 12 months 5 years $4,800 12 months Y
* applies to learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles

It is possible to apply to the court for a stay on the licence suspension notice.  If convicted in the ACT, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to apply to the court to have no criminal conviction recorded which would remove the licence disqualification period and any imposed fine.  It is also possible, where an offender is eligible, to apply for a restricted licence or voluntarily participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program to be able to keep driving.

In the Northern Territory there is a mandatory licence disqualification period if convicted of a drink driving offence.  Where an infringement notice is issued, and you pay the fee and do not contest the charge there will be no conviction recorded and you will keep your licence.  It is not possible to apply for a work or restricted licence in the Northern Territory.

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)minimum licence disqualification periodMaximum fine amountDemerit pointsMaximum term of imprisonment
First Offence
over 0.000* 3 months $785 N/A 3 months
over 0.000** N/A $785*** 3 3 months
0.050-0.079 3 months $785*** 3 3 months
0.080-0.149 6 months $1,178 N/A 6 months
0.15 and over*** 12 months $1,570 N/A 12 months
Subsequent offence
over 0.000* 6 months $785 N/A 6 months
over 0.000** 3-6 months $1,178*** 3 6 months
0.050-0.079 6 months $1,178 3 6 months
0.080-0.149 12 months $3,140 N/A 12 months
0.15 and over 18 months $3,140 N/A 12 months
*applies to under 18, learner, probationary or provisional licences or unlicensed drivers
**applies to drivers of certain vehicles such as carrying dangerous goods or commercial passengers
***an infringement notice will be issued and a $400 fee is payable.  If you decide to pay the fee and not challenge the charge there is no conviction recorded.

Have you been charged?

To avoid tough penalties & jail you need an experienced Lawyer to defend you. For the best possible outcome in your case, speak with David.

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