This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Drink Driving Offences in Western Australia


A person charged with drink driving in Western Australia will receive either an infringement with demerit points, or a notice to appear in the Magistrates Court, where a penalty will be imposed. In WA, infringements are only issued to those who record a BAC of 0.05 to 0.079, and those who are on a zero limit and record a BAC of less than 0.02. All other drink driving offences require the offender to attend court and be sentenced by a Magistrate who will issue them with a fine and a period of licence disqualification.

If a person has a BAC reading of 0.08 or higher, they will receive an automatic disqualification until their matter is dealt with in court. A zero-alcohol limit is required for all novice drivers, holders of extraordinary licences, recently disqualified drivers, and taxi, bus and heavy vehicle drivers. 

The Road Traffic Act 1974 governs the different drink driving offences and associated penalties in Western Australia.

First offence of drink driving in Western Australia (infringement)

An infringement is only issued for drink driving in Western Australia if it is the person’s first offence. If the offender is on a zero BAC limit, and their BAC is over zero but under 0.02 then they will receive an infringement and fine of $100, and  three demerit points. All other drivers are required to have a BAC of less than 0.05.

If a person is charged with drink driving in Western Australia and their BAC was between 0.05 and 0.059 then they will receive an infringement of $400, and 3 demerit points. If their BAC was between 0.06 and 0.069 you will receive an infringement of $400, and four demerit points.

If a person’s BAC was between 0.07 and 0.079 they will receive an infringement of $400, and the loss of five demerit points. If they elect for the matter to go to court the maximum penalty the court can impose is $500.

First offence drink driving in Western Australia (summons)

If a person is caught drink driving for the first time and their BAC was 0.08 or higher they will be required to attend court. If they are on a zero alcohol limit and their BAC is over 0.02 but less than 0.05, they will receive a fine of between $150 and $300, and three months disqualification.

If a person’s BAC was between 0.08 and 0.09 they will receive a licence disqualification period of six months, and a minimum fine of $500. If their BAC was over 0.09 but less than 0.11 they will receive a seven month disqualification, and a fine of at least $550.

BAC readings of more than 0.11 but less than 0.13 will incur an eight-month disqualification, and a minimum fine of $650. If the offender recorded a BAC of more than 0.13 but less than 0.15 they will receive a nine month period of disqualification, and a fine of at least $750. BAC readings of 0.15 or higher will receive a licence disqualification period of at least 10 months, and a minimum fine of $900.

If a person is convicted of driving under the influence, failing to provide a sample, or dangerous driving causing bodily harm, serious bodily harm, or death, they will be ordered to participate in the alcohol interlock program.

Penalties for second and third or subsequent drink driving offences

All second and subsequent charges of drink driving in Western Australia will require the accused to appear in the Magistrates Court. Any previous drink driving offence the person has committed in the last 20 years will be taken into consideration at sentencing. The more offences a person has committed in that period the higher the fine is likely to be and the longer the disqualification period is likely to be. 

The fines and periods of licence disqualification courts must impose for drink driving offences are listed below. 

  • For a BAC between 0.05 and 0.69, the fine will be at least $500 and the driver will be disqualified from driving for between 6 and 8 months.
  • For a BAC of 0.07 to 0.079 the fine will be at least $600, and the driver will be disqualified for either 8 months or 10 months.
  • For a BAC was 0.08 to 0.089 you receive a minimum fine of $600 and disqualification from 8 to 10 months.
  • If your BAC was 0.09 but less than 0.11 you receive a minimum fine of $900, and a disqualification period of either 10 or 13 months.
  • BAC readings of between 0.11 and 0.13 will incur a minimum fine of $1200, and a disqualification period of 14 or 17 months.
  • If the driver’s BAC was between 0.13 and 0.149 they will receive a minimum fine of $1600, and a disqualification of either 18 months or 30 months.
  • For BAC readings 0.15 or higher the driver can expect to receive a minimum fine of $2100 and a maximum fine of $5000, as well as a disqualification period of 30 months for second offences, and a lifelong ban for third and subsequent offences. The Magistrate can also order a term of imprisonment for up to nine months for a second drink driving offence with a BAC of 0.15 or high and of 18 months for a third or subsequent drink driving offences with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

For second and third or subsequent drink driving offences committed within five years of the first offence, the court is required to impose an alcohol interlock order on the driver. The driver must bear all costs associated with complying with this order.

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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