Drink Driving

Being charged with a drink driving offence can be a very traumatic experience. For a lot of people it is their first taste of the criminal justice system and they have no idea of what is likely to occur at court after being arrested for drink driving. This section of the site contains articles written by drink driving lawyers about all the different types of drink driving offences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Criminal Record?

Yes, drink driving is considered a serious offence in the ACT and is treated seriously in Court. The starting point for a Magistrate in a drink driving matter is to record a conviction, issue a fine and impose a licence disqualification period.

What does it mean to have a Criminal Conviction Recorded?

The consequences of having a criminal conviction recorded can be very serious. For example many employers will conduct a background check on potential employees as part of the standard recruitment process including a police check. A police check would reveal if you have a criminal conviction recorded against your name, and the charge for which it was recorded. This may impact the employer’s decision in whether or not to employ you.

For young people it is particularly important to be aware of the impact of a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction will stay on your record for a minimum period of 10 years.

In certain professions a criminal conviction may need to be reported to a regulatory body. For example a member of the legal profession must report any criminal convictions to the relevant law society who will then make a determination as to whether that legal practitioner should be allowed to continue to practice law.

A criminal conviction may also inhibit future overseas travel. Most countries require visitors to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. As part of the visa process, you will more than likely need to disclose any criminal convictions. Depending on the policy of the particular country for which the visa is being sought, your visa may or may not be granted based on the person’s criminal record.

Is it Possible to Avoid a Criminal Record?

Yes, it is possible to avoid a criminal record in limited circumstances. The Court may utilise their discretion and afford you the leniency of a non-conviction order under section 17 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005.

Is it Possible to Avoid a Disqualification Period?

Yes, it is possible to avoid a disqualification period if the Court affords you leniency under a section 17 non-conviction order. Once you are convicted a Court must issue a disqualification period.

Alternatively, if you have been disqualified by the Court, you may also be eligible for a restricted licence.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent me?

It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. If you are worried about a criminal conviction or loss of licence we would advise having a solicitor represent you. For someone who is unfamiliar with the Court system, having to navigate a drink driving charge can be daunting. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.

If you have any further queries about drink driving matters, call 1300 038 223 for more information.

The Offences

The following are major drink driving offences in the ACT (uncommon offences not included):



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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