Being charged with drink driving

If you’re caught drink driving, you will have to go to court.

A magistrate will decide the length of your licence disqualification and whether you will be fined or sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

The severity of the penalty will depend on your:

  • blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offence
  • traffic history, including whether you have been previously convicted of a drink driving offence.

Penalties for a first drink driving offence

The following table shows the maximum penalties that may apply for a first-time drink driving offence:

Blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC)Licence disqualificationMaximum fine amountMaximum term of imprisonment
Over 0.00, but under 0.05 BAC (learner, probationary or provisional licences, and drivers of particular motor vehicles) 3 to 9 months
3 months
0.05 and over, but under 0.10 1 to 9 months
3 months
0.10 and over, but under 0.15 3 to 12 months
6 months
0.15 and over Minimum of 6 months
9 months

24-hour suspension

A 24-hour licence suspension will apply where your BAC is less than 0.10. Your licence will be suspended for at least 24 hours from the time your BAC is confirmed as having exceeded the limit that applies to you.

Immediate suspension

Your licence will be immediately suspended if you:

  • have been charged with a low range drink driving offence (over 0.0 but under 0.10 BAC) while:
    • an earlier drink driving charge is still pending
    • you were the holder of a section 79E order and your replacement licence is subject to an X4 condition
  • have been charged with a mid range or high range drink driving offence (0.10 BAC and over)
  • fail to provide police with a specimen of breath or blood when requested
  • have been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence.

The immediate suspension will end when the drink driving charge has been dealt with by the court, is withdrawn or discontinued.

Penalties for repeat drink driving offences

If you are charged with a repeat drink driving offence, you may:

  • have your car impounded (if you have a BAC 0.15 and over or fail to provide a specimen of breath or blood)
  • have your licence disqualified for up to 2 years
  • be fined up to $9,288
  • be sentenced to a term of imprisonment determined by the court.

Getting your licence after your disqualification

When your disqualification ends you can apply to have your driver licence reissued. You will be issued with a probationary licence, which you must hold for at least 1 year. You may also need to complete a short online drink driving course or the repeat drink driving course. You may also be subject to the alcohol ignition interlock requirement once your disqualification ends.