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

Fernanda Dahlstrom has 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 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 Driving Offences And Penalties


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

A person caught drink driving in Victoria will be also have to use an alcohol interlock device when they resume driving. An alcohol ignition lock is a device that stops them from starting their vehicle if there is alcohol in their system. The offender must bear the initial cost of the device as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining and testing it.

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

First offences

The penalties that apply to first-time drink driving offenders in Victoria are dependant on the type of license they hold and the BAC they record. For offences committed after 30 April 2018, the below penalties apply. Please note that offences committed before 30 April 2018 may carry different penalties.

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 got caught with alcohol in your system, you will receive a fine and will have to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will be disqualified from driving for at least three months and will subsequently be required to use an alcohol interlock device for at least six months. You will be subject to a zero BAC requirement for at least three years.

BAC of .05 to .069

If you were on a full driver’s licence and aged 26 or over, you will receive a fine and be required to undertake a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will be disqualified from driving for at least three months if you received a Traffic Infringement Notice or a minimum of six months if you had to come to court. You will subsequently be required to use an alcohol interlock for a minimum of 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 below 26, you will get a fine and have to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will have your licence or permit cancelled. You will be disqualified from driving for at least six months. You will subsequently have to use an alcohol interlock for at least six months. You will be subject to a zero BAC condition 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 will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of six months. You will then be subject to an alcohol interlock requirement 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 and will have to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program. You will have your licence or permit cancelled and will 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

An offender 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 condition of completing Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program, using an interlock device for six months and having a zero BAC requirement for at least three years.

Second or subsequent offences

Longer disqualification periods apply to the above offences if the defendant has been caught drink driving before.

A person caught with a BAC of below .15 faces license 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 requirement 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 set by the court.  The person must be subject to a zero BAC condition for the period the interlock condition applies

Non-BAC drink driving offences

Other drink driving offences will also require the accused 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 a motor vehicle where alcohol was a factor.

The penalties for the above offences vary depending on the seriousness of the offence but will include a fine or term of imprisonment, a licence disqualification set by the Magistrate, and the requirement to use an alcohol interlock device 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 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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