Western Australia Drink Driving Lawyers
Drink driving offences in Western Australia carry a variety of penalties, most of which will result in your licence being suspended.
If you’re breath tested, the legal BAC limit in Western Australia is 0.05, but it does differ for some licence holders. The legal limit is zero:
- for novice drivers who have less than two years’ experience
- if you have been recently disqualified
- if you are a holder of an extraordinary licence
- if you drive a taxi, bus, vehicle carrying dangerous goods, or
- if you drive a vehicle over 22.2t.
What is BAC?
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your body. A measurement of 0.05 BAC means that your body contains 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. After you stop drinking your BAC can continue to rise for a further 30 to 60 minutes.
Drink Driving Legislation in WA
The drink driving laws in Western Australia are governed by the Road Traffic Act 1974 and in particular sections 63 to 64AAA.
For first-time drink driving offenders with a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07 the penalty is a fine of up to $1,250, and between 3 to 5 demerit points. If it is your second offence, a fine of between $1,250 and $2,000 will apply as well as a mandatory license disqualification of at least six months.
For a subsequent offence, you will receive a fine of between $1,250 and $2,000 and a mandatory licence suspension of at least eight months.
For drink driving offences with a BAC level of over 0.07, the penalties are higher. The suspension periods can range from eight months to a life ban and fines range from $750 through to $7500, depending on your reading, and whether it is your first, second or third offence.
Western Australia has also taken a firm stance against Drug Driving with tough penalties being imposed. Section 64AB of the Road Traffic Act 1974, states that for a first offence conviction of driving while impaired by drugs you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of 10 months.
If it is your second offence you will lose your licence for 30 months and may receive 9 months imprisonment. For a third, or subsequent offence, you will be facing a life ban from driving and could face 18 months imprisonment.
The penalties are not as high for the offence of driving with drugs in your system, where the driver was not impaired by the drugs. These can range from a fine to a six-month suspension.
Having your licence suspended because of drink driving can have long-lasting ramifications for you personally and financially. If a person is in danger of losing their job because they cannot drive, they have the option of applying for an Extraordinary Licence.
There are waiting periods that apply before a person can make this application. These differ depending on the BAC reading, and the person’s previous drink driving history, though in every situation the person will be without their licence for at least 21 days. For driving under the influence with a BAC in excess of 0.08 but below 0.15, a person will need to wait between 1 to 3 months. For DUI offences above .015, they will need to wait between 2 and 4 months. It can then take a further 14 days after filing an application for the matter to be heard.
Extraordinary Licences are not an automatic right, and you need to show the court the hardship a licence disqualification will cause to you. You will also have to show that you are a fit and proper person and that you have addressed any alcohol issues that contributed to the offence.
If you are granted an extraordinary licence you will have strict conditions imposed outlining when and where you can drive. If you are caught driving outside of these conditions, you will be charged with an offence and your Extraordinary Licence will be cancelled.
Drivers who commit serious or frequent drink driving offences in Western Australia are ordered by the courts to participate in the interlock program in WA.
This program requires that the driver install a breath testing device in their vehicle. A breath sample that indicates a BAC in excess of the prescribed level will mean the vehicle cannot be started.
Being ordered onto this program will involve significant costs to the driver.