Victoria has the toughest drink driving penalties in all of Australia, with many offences incurring an automatic disqualification without even going to Court. Professional drivers such as truck, bus and taxi drivers, along with probationary and learner drivers, have a zero blood alcohol concentration (BAC) after a breath test. All other drivers must stay under 0.05. Our drink driving lawyers Victoria advise that offenders caught driving over the limit will face heavy fines, and loss of licence. More serious offenders may also find themselves with a custodial sentence.
Drink driving laws also include driving under the influence, refusing a breath or blood sample, and being over 0.05 while accompanying a learner driver. The Road Safety Act 1986 is the legislation that governs drink driving offences in Victoria.
DUI Offences and Penalties in VIC
If it is your first time being charged with a drink driving offence in Victoria, and your BAC is below 0.15 then you will receive an infringement notice, which will outline your fine and suspension period. You can elect for the infringement notice to be dealt with in court, but if the court finds you guilty then more serious penalties may apply. All subsequent drink driving offences, and those with a reading over 0.15, will receive a summons to attend court where the Magistrate will suspend your licence for a period of between 5 to 48 months. If you are required to have a zero BAC, and your reading is less than 0.05, you will receive a 10 demerit point loss. If your reading was 0.05 to 0.069, and you are required to have a zero BAC, or you are on a full licence but under the age of 26, you will automatically lose your licence for 6 months. Full licence drivers, 26 and over with a BAC of 0.05 to 0.069 will lose 10 demerit points. All drivers with a reading of 0.07 to 0.14 will have their licence disqualified for a period of between 6 to 14 months depending on the BAC level. If your BAC was greater than 0.10, or you are a repeat offender, then the police will suspend your licence on the spot. On top of a suspension period you will also receive a fine which increases with your BAC level. Repeat offenders may also find themselves serving up to 18 months in prison.
Getting your Licence back in VIC
In Victoria, drink driver offenders have to apply to the Court to get their licence back after they have served the disqualification period. This will depend on the offence, and whether the licence was suspended, or cancelled. A suspension means you cannot drive for a specified period of time, and once completed the licence becomes valid again. A cancellation of your licence means that you cannot drive for a specific period of time, and once complete must attend VicRoads to reapply for your licence. To reapply for your licence after a drink driving offence you will need to take a Licence Restoration Order from the Courts to VicRoads. This will involve you completing a driver education program, which can be done anytime during your suspension, and making an application to the Court for a Licence Restoration Order. A ‘Z’ licence condition will be placed on your licence which means you must have a zero BAC level for 3 years. Some drink driving offences will also have an ‘I’ condition on the licence, which will require an interlock device fitted to the car.
Alcohol Interlock Devices
Depending on the drink driving offence, the Licence Restoration Order may require you to have an alcohol interlock device wired to the ignition of your car. This will mean that you can only drive the car that has been nominated, and only with device fitted. You will be required to blow into the interlock before the car will start. The car will only start if it does not detect any alcohol on your breath. All young offenders under the age of 26, or on a provisional licence, at the time of the drink driving offence will require an alcohol interlock for 6 months. All other drivers with a reading of 0.07 to 0.149 may incur an interlock condition for 6 months, but this is at the discretion of the Magistrate. If it is your second offence there is a mandatory 6 month alcohol interlock requirement. If your reading was 0.15 or over, or you have been charged with driving under the influence, or failing to provide a breath sample, it is mandatory for an interlock to be fitted for at least 6 months with a mandatory 4 years if it is your second offence.