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Drink Driving and Penalties in South Australia

Updated on Dec 12, 2022 3 min read 528 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in May 29, 2015 Updated on Dec 12, 2022 3 min read 528 views

Drink Driving and Penalties in South Australia

If you are convicted of drink driving in South Australia, you will receive a fine and a licence disqualification period. You will also accrue demerit points against your licence. The amount of the fine and the length of the disqualification period imposed depend on the offence you are found guilty of and your driving history. This article outlines the drink driving offences that exist in South Australia and the penalties that apply to them under the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Drink driving offences

In South Australia there are three drink driving categories. These are category 1, where a driver records a PCA of 0.05 to 0.079; category 2, where they record a PCA of 0.08 to 0.149; and category 3 where they record a PCA of 0.15 or higher. The penalties that apply to each category of drink driving are set out in section 47B of the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Penalties for first offences

If you are charged with a category 1 drink driving offence, and it is your first offence, then you will receive an expiation notice with a fine and four demerit points.

If you choose to have a category 1 drink driving matter dealt with in court and are not successful, the court penalty is $1100 fine and three months disqualification.  

If you commit a category 2 drink driving offence then you can expect to receive five demerit points, a fine of between $900 to $1300, and a minimum disqualification period of six months. 

Category 3 drink driving offences will incur six demerit points, a fine of $1100 to $1600, and a minimum of 12 months disqualification.

Penalties for second, third and subsequent offences

For the purpose of penalty determination by the magistrate previous drink driving offences will be taken into consideration if you have committed a previous category 1 offence in the last three years or a previous category 2 or 3 offence in the last five years.

For a second drink driving category 1 offence the penalty will be a fine of $1100, and a disqualification of 6 months. For a third offence the disqualification is increased to 9 months, with it increasing to a minimum of 12 months for subsequent offences.  Category 2 offences will incur a fine of $1100 to $1600, and a 12 month disqualification. Third and subsequent offences will result in a fine of between $1500 to $2200, and a minimum disqualification of 2 years.  For second, third and subsequent category 3 offences the penalties will include a fine ranging from $1600 through to $2900, and a minimum disqualification period of 3 years. In addition to the fine and disqualification period you will also lose between 4 to 6 demerit points depending on your PCA reading.

Penalties for non-BAC drink driving offences

Other drink driving offences that do not rely on the PCA reading include driving under the influence (DUI) and refusing to participate in a breath analysis. Both of these offences will attract five demerit points, a fine of between $1100 to $1600, and a disqualification period of a minimum of 12 months (for a first offence).

Subsequent offences will result in a fine of $1900 to $2900, and a disqualification of a minimum of three years. For a DUI charge, the magistrate may impose a term of imprisonment of not more than three months for first offence, and up to six months for subsequent offences (instead of imposing a fine).

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

May 29, 2015

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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