The penalties for drink driving in Tasmania can vary significantly, especially since the police have the discretion to issue an infringement notice for first offences for any reading below 0.10. An infringement notice can incur a much lesser disqualification period than if you are issued with a court summons, and the penalty is determined by the Magistrate. The situations in which the police are able to issue a traffic infringement are outlined in Section 18A of the Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970. It also sets the fines, and disqualifications that result from the infringement. If you are served with a summons to attend court then the minimum and maximum fines, and disqualification periods are outlined in Section 17 of the Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970.
The fines are all defined as penalty units. Currently a penalty unit is fixed at $140 until 30 June 2015, at which time it will be increased in accordance with CPI. The court can also impose a period of imprisonment under the Act. In some circumstances, especially for learner and provisional drivers, the Magistrate may also order that you attend a drink driving course at the end of your disqualification period. Tasmania also requires that any person who has been convicted with a BAC of 0.15 or higher, is a repeat offender, convicted of driving under the influence, or has failed to provide a breath sample will need to have an alcohol interlock device fitted to their vehicle at the end of the disqualification period.
Penalties for first time drink driving offences in Tasmania
For those drivers who are required to have a zero alcohol reading, and have a BAC of less than 0.05 will be summons to court. The likely penalties will be a fine of between 2 and 10 penalty units, and a period of disqualification of between 3 to 12 months. If your BAC was 0.05 to less than 0.10, and it is your first offence, the police may issue you with an on the spot traffic infringement. The infringement will consist of a fine of two penalty units, and an automatic 3 months suspension. If you receive a summons to appear in court, and your BAC was 0.05 to less than 0.10 you will receive a fine of 2 penalty units to 10 penalty units, and a minimum disqualification of 3 months to a maximum of 12 months. If your BAC was 0.01 to less than 0.15 you will receive a fine of between 4 to 20 penalty units, and a disqualification between 6 to 18 months. For a BAC 0.15 or higher you can expect to receive a fine of between 5 and 30 penalty units and a disqualification of between 12 to 36 months. For each of these offences the Magistrate also has the ability to order a term of imprisonment of 3 to 12 months depending on your BAC level.
Penalties for further drink driving offences in Tasmania
All drink driving charges, in which you have committed a previous drink driving offence in the past 5 years, will require you to attend court, and a summons will be issued. For those on a zero alcohol limit, and have a BAC of less than 0.05 you will incur a fine of between 4 to 20 penalty units, and a disqualification of between 6 to 24 months. If your BAC is 0.05 to less than 0.10 the penalty will be a fine of between 4 to 20 penalty units, and a disqualification of 6 to 24 months. BAC readings of 0.10 to less than 0.15 will result in a penalty of a fine of between 8 to 40 penalty units, and a disqualification of 12 to 36 months. All offences with a BAC 0.15 or greater will receive a fine of 10 to 60 penalty units, and a disqualification of 24 to 72 months. All of these offences also have a term of imprisonment of between 6 to 24 months, and can be ordered by the Magistrate instead of the fine, or in addition to the fine.
Penalties for non BAC drink driving offences in Tasmania
The two most common non BAC offences include failing to provide a breath sample, and driving under the influence. The penalties for first offences will include a fine of between 5 to 30 penalty units, and a disqualification period of 12 to 36 months. If it is your second or subsequent offence, then you can expect a fine of 10 to 60 penalty units, and a disqualification of 24 to 72 months. The Magistrate also has the ability to order a term of imprisonment of 12 to 24 months. These penalties are the same as if your BAC was higher than 0.15.