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Drink Driving Penalties in Victoria

Written by Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practiced law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practiced in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016. Fernanda has strong interests in Indigenous and refugee law, human rights and law reform.

Victoria has some of the strictest drink driving penalties in Australia. If you have a Victorian licence and get caught drink driving in another state, the same penalties apply as if the offence had occurred in Victoria. Significant fines and periods of disqualification attach to these offences as well as terms of imprisonment in serious cases. All drink driving offenders are also required to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program, which is a six-hour course conducted over two sessions. The course is offered by a number of providers approved by VicRoads.

A person caught drink driving in Victoria will be also required to use an alcohol interlock device when they resume driving. This is a device that stops a person from starting their vehicle if there is alcohol present in their breath. The offender must bear the initial cost as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining, and testing, the alcohol interlock device.

Drink driving offences in Victoria are governed by the Road Safety Act 1986.

What are the penalties for drink driving in Victoria?

First offences

The penalties that apply to first-time drink driving offenders are dependant on the type of license held and the BAC recorded. For offences committed after 30 April 2018, the below penalties apply. Please note that for offences committed before 30 April 2018, penalties may be different.

BAC below .05

If you were on a Learner’s Permit or a P1 or P2 license, or a full licence with a Z condition and were caught with alcohol in your system, you will receive a fine and be required to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of three months and will subsequently be required to use an alcohol interlock for at least six months. You will be subject to a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.

BAC of .05 to .069

If you were on a full licence and aged 26 or older, you will receive a fine and be required to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of three months if you were issued with a Traffic Infringement Notice or a minimum of six months if you were required to come to court. You will subsequently be required to use an alcohol interlock for at least six months. You will be subject to a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.

If you were on a learner’s permit, P1, P2, a full licence with a Z requirement or were aged under 26, you will receive a fine and be required to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will have your licence or permit cancelled. You will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of six months. You will subsequently be required to use an alcohol interlock for at least six months. You will be subject to a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.

BAC between .07 and .10

If you are caught with a BAC of between .07 and .10, you will receive a fine and have to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will have your licence or permit cancelled and be disqualified from driving for at least six months. You will then be subject to an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months and a zero BAC requirement for at least three years.

BAC between .10 and .15

If you are caught with a BAC of between .10 and .15, you will receive a fine, have to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will have your licence or permit cancelled and be disqualified from driving for between 10 and 14 months. You will then be subject to an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months and a zero BAC requirement for at least three years.

BAC of over .15

A person caught with a BAC of over .15 will be disqualified from driving for between 15 and 24 months. They will also be subject to the requirement to complete Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program, use an interlock device for six months and have a zero BAC requirement for at least three years.

Second or subsequent offences

Longer disqualification periods apply to the above offences if the offender has been caught drink driving in the past.

A person caught with a BAC of below .15 faces disqualification for between 12 and 28 months and must use an alcohol interlock device for 12 months. They must be subject to a zero BAC condition for three years.

A person caught with a BAC of over .15 will be disqualified for 30 – 48 months and must use an alcohol interlock device for a period to be determined by the court.  They must be subject to a zero BAC condition for the period of the interlock condition.

Non-BAC drink driving offences

Other drink driving offences will also require you to attend court. These include:

  • driving under the influence
  • refusing to provide a breath sample
  • refusing to stop at a breath testing station
  • negligently causing serious injury while using a motor vehicle where alcohol was a factor
  • manslaughter involving the use of a motor vehicle where alcohol was a factor.

The penalties for these offences vary depending on the severity of the offence, but will include a fine or term of imprisonment, a licence disqualification determined by the Magistrate, and the requirement to have an alcohol interlock installed at the end of the disqualification period.

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

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