This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom - Content Editor - Brisbane

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She has also completed a Master’s in Writing and Literature. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

Drink Driver Education Programs (ACT)


Drink driver education programs in the Act are delivered by the Road Ready Centre, which offers a program for serious drink driving offenders and another one for minor drink driving offenders. This article outlines the drink driver education programs available in the ACT and who is required to complete them.

Know The Risk

Know the Risk is a six-hour program that is designed to inform drivers of the risks of mixing alcohol or drugs with driving. It is provided in person as well as online.

A person is eligible to participate in the Know The Risk program if:

  • They have been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a drink driving offence with a BAC over 0.08;
  • They have been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a disqualifying offence under the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977 more than once.

Think Ahead

Think Ahead is a two-hour program for ACT drivers who have been charged with a drink driving offence. It is provided online as well as face to face.

A person is eligible for Think Ahead if:

  • They have been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a drink driving offence with a BAC below 0.08;
  • It is the first time they have been charged with, convicted or found guilty of a disqualifying offence under the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.

The Think Ahead course aims to provide participants with an understanding of the physical, social and behavioural effects of alcohol and other drugs and how they can impact driving and general health and the risks they pose to society. It also aims to build awareness of the potential consequences of drink and drug driving and to help participants to effectively plan to avoid reoffending.

Costs

The Know the Risk program costs $255 or $178.50 for concession holders. The Think Ahead program costs $100, or $70 for concession holders.

Participants experiencing financial hardship may enter into a payment plan.

Are drink driver education programs compulsory?

Any person in the ACT who is found guilty of a drink driving or drug driving offence after 25 November 2011 must complete a drink driver education program before they can be issued with a restricted or probationary license.

Offenders who are required to complete a program are those found guilty of:

  • Driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol in the blood (Section 19);
  • Driving with a prescribed drug in the blood (Section 20);
  • Refusing to provide a breath sample (Section 22);
  • Refusing to provide an oral fluid sample (Section 22A);
  • Failing to stay for drug screening test (Section 22B);
  • Refusing a blood test (Section 23);
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Section 24);
  • Driving while intoxicated (Section 24A).

When no disqualification period imposed

If a person is found guilty of one of the above offences but the court did not impose a license disqualification period, the person should complete the relevant drink driver education program and provide evidence of completion to the road transport authority within six months of the finding of guilt. Failure to do so will result in the person’s licence being suspended.

When disqualified and granted a restricted licence

If a person was disqualified from driving and granted a restricted license, they must complete a drink driver education course and provide evidence of completion to the road transport authority.

They will then be eligible to be issued with a restricted license. They must attend a Canberra Connect shopfront to be issued with a restricted license.

When disqualified and not granted a restricted licence

If a person was disqualified from driving and not granted a restricted licence, they must complete a drink driver education program and provide evidence of completion to the road safety authority before the end of their disqualification period.

After providing this evidence, they will be eligible to be issued with a probationary driver’s licence at the end of their disqualification period. They must attend a Canberra Connect shopfront to be issued with a probationary license.

Completing the drink driver education program early

If a person chooses, they can complete a drink driver education program after being charged with a relevant offence but before their matter has been finalised by a court. If a person does this and the court agrees to grant them a restricted license, the license may be issued right away.

Exemptions

A person may be granted an exemption from completing a drink driver education program if there are exceptional circumstances. A person can apply for an exemption by writing to the road transport authority, outlining the reasons for seeking an exemption and providing supporting documentation.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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