In Tasmania, drink driving offences can be dealt with by way of Traffic Infringement or Court Summons and are governed by the Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970.
In certain circumstances the police will issue a traffic infringement to those drivers on an open licence with a BAC of less than 0.10. The traffic infringement will include an automatic disqualification of 3 months, loss of demerit points, and a fine.
If you are issued with a Court summons this means that no matter what the blood alcohol reading is you will need to attend the Court, and appear before the Magistrate for sentencing.
Drink or drug driving offences can include:
- refusing to provide a breath or blood sample
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- driving with an excessive concentration of breath or blood alcohol, or
- driving with a prescribed illicit drug in your blood.
Penalties for Drink Driving in Tasmania
The penalties for drink driving in Tasmania can mean the disqualification of your licence for a period of 3 to 36 months, with a possibility of a term of imprisonment of between 3 and 12 months, along with a hefty fine. The higher your reading the longer your disqualification will be. If it is your second or subsequent offence in a ten year period the disqualification can double, as can the term of imprisonment the Court can impose.
If you are required to have a BAC of less than 0.05, or you are on an open licence with a reading of 0.05 to 0.1, you may be disqualified for a period of 3 to 12 months. For a BAC level of 0.1 to 0.15 you may receive a disqualification of between 6 and 18 months. Any offences over 0.15 will receive a disqualification period of between 12 and 36 months.
Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Scheme
You may also have to participate in the Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program at the end of your disqualification period if you:
- had a BAC of more than 0.15
- have two or more drink driving offences in a five year period
- are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, or
- failed to provide a breath or blood sample.
Not only will you be responsible for the cost of the installation of the interlock device, but also the maintenance and removal. These costs can range from $3000 to $3500.
You will not be able to drive the vehicle until the interlock is installed, you have taken the endorsed application form to the Department of Transport, and they have issued you with a new licence with the condition ‘I’.
If you drive a work vehicle you may be able to get an exemption from the Court from having an interlock installed on that vehicle if you already have the interlock installed on your personal vehicle.
Mandatory Drink Driving Courses in Tasmania
If you commit a drink driving offence in Tasmania and hold a learners licence, or have held a provisional licence for a continuous period of less than 12 months, you will be required to undertake a drink driving course prior to being able to apply for your licence after the disqualification period ends. The course is designed to assist young people in making better decisions when driving by promoting an understanding of the risks involved.
Restricted Drivers Licences in Tasmania
If you have been charged with drink driving, you may be able to apply for a restricted drivers licence to allow you to drive in certain circumstances. You will not be eligible to apply if your BAC was greater than 0.15, you hold a learners or provisional licence, or you have committed a previous offence within 3 years.
To be successful you will need to prove to the Court that the disqualification will cause severe and unusual hardship for yourself or your family. Evidence of the hardship may include a letter from your employer stating that you may lose your job. In some circumstances your employer may need to attend court to give evidence.
You must also clearly outline the conditions of the licence you are seeking, and the driving times you want the Court to allow. The Court has the power to include conditions, such as:
- limiting the type of vehicle you are allowed to drive
- specifying the days and hours you can drive
- imposing a no alcohol condition
- limiting driving to certain routes, and
- requiring you to keep a log book of your travel which must be shown to the police if requested.
If you are granted a restricted licence, in some circumstances the Court will increase the period of your disqualification to up to twice the original period.