Drink driving can come with tough penalties, not to mention that drink driving puts you, your passengers and other drivers at significant risk of harm. If you’re going out for a drink and you’re the driver, make sure that you know your approved alcohol limits.
Australian law allows police officers to stop any driver and request a breath test, even if there is no reason to do so (such as suspected drink driving). Check posts are set up across main roads in areas where there is high traffic, such as roads that may be leading in and out of town especially during an important event.
Refusing a breath test may lead to severe penalties, which may also include imprisonment.
Approved levels for alcohol while driving
The laws for drinking alcohol before or during driving in Australia compared to other countries are very strict.
Generally, the legal limit is set at 0.05 BAC (blood alcohol concentration) for regular drivers.
For drivers on a learner, probationary or provisional drivers licence, it is 0.00 BAC.
Penalties for drink driving
It doesn’t matter where you are in Australia, drink drinking is a very serious offence, and anyone found guilty of drinking before or during driving could face any of the following penalties:
- Suspension of your drivers licence.
- Disqualification or cancellation of your drivers licence.
- Loss of demerit points.
- Possible imprisonment.
Different kinds of penalties across Australia
While penalties regarding drink driving are similar across Australia, each state and territory may have their own specific variations. However, it is still considered very serious and there is a high chance that you may need to make an appearance before the court based on the nature and frequency of drink driving offences.
Drink driving penalties in New South Wales
Have a read of our detailed blog post “Drink Driving – Statistics, Law and Penalties in NSW”.
Drink driving penalties in Victoria
Penalties for drink driving in Victoria are harsher than some other areas of Australia. As a result, more drivers licences get suspended, while others may have to face heavy fines or even imprisonment.
Victorian drivers should keep in mind that the penalties may differ depending on the type of drink driving offence committed, the occasion of the offence as well as the driver’s age. In addition the type of drivers licence held by the driver, along with any history of repeated offences will also determine the nature of the penalty.
More information is set out in the blog post “Drink Driving in Victoria – Make Your First Offence Your Last”.
Drink driving penalties in Queensland
Being penalised for drink driving holds the possibility of landing offenders in court. Resulting suspension or disqualification of your drivers licence will depend on the magistrate and may even present the possibility of imprisonment for some offenders.
Currently, fines for drink driving in Queensland can range from $1594 to about $3188, depending on the level of BAC. On top of that, offenders may also get their drivers licence disqualified at the same time, which could range from temporary to permanent disqualification.
Drink driving penalties in Western Australia
Drink driving fines for first time offenders are up to $500, while for second time offenders the fine starts from $600 and can go up to $1000 depending on the level of BAC. Often novice drivers will have their drivers licence cancelled. For open licence holders, there is a higher chance of getting their drivers licence suspended.
If you’ve had more than a few drinks, it wise to just not drive, even if you believe that you’re under the limit.
If you are in trouble for a drink driving offence, seek legal advice as soon as possible.
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