Penalties for Drink Driving in Victoria

The Transport Accident Commission states that about 1 in 5 road users killed in Victoria every year carried a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the prescribed limit of 0.05.

With the strong correlation between alcohol usage and poor judgment, it’s no wonder that Victoria, like many other states, imposes severe sanctions for intoxicated driving.

In this article our experienced drink driving lawyers will shed some light on the penalties for drink driving in Melbourne and Victoria and how to get the best outcome for yourself legally if you’ve been caught driving over the limit.

Types of Penalties

If you have been found guilty of drink driving, one or more of the below penalties might be set.

Cancellation of Your Licence
In most instances, the magistrate will cancel your licence and prevent you from driving for a fixed period. The sanction will vary according to your charge and when the incident occurred.

The law is cracking down on perpetrators. All drivers found drunk driving after 29 April 2018 must have cancelled any licence or permit they hold.

If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit, the penalty is calculated on the extent of your BAC.

The magistrate has the authority to prolong the disqualification duration, but they are not allowed to reduce it. If this is your second infringement within ten years, the minimum disqualification time is doubled.

Under no circumstances are you to drive during the disqualification period. No special licences exist that give you the right to drive while your licence has been revoked.

Behaviour Change Programs
All drivers guilty of this offence must undergo a behaviour change program before applying for another licence.

These programs vary depending on the extent of the BAC and whether you had been caught previously for drink or drug driving.

If required, VicRoads will send you a letter informing you about which program you must complete.

Fines
Typically, the magistrate can impose a fine of up to 20 penalty units if it’s your first offence.

Confiscating Your Vehicle
Your vehicle may be impounded if your BAC is at 0.10 or higher.

Other Penalties
Court proceedings may appear on your criminal record as a driving conviction. Generally, this will be listed in your VicRoads driving record, but there is a possibility that it will also be listed in your criminal record.

How To Get Relicensed
From 1 December 2019 onwards, most people found guilty of this offence must go to VicRoads to apply for their licence to be reinstated after completing the minimum duration of licence cancellation.

All people who have been disqualified from driving on a serious driving charge, such as dangerous driving that led to death or dangerous driving when pursued by law enforcement, have to approach the court to be relicensed.

Conclusion

Drink driving impairs your judgment and can have disastrous consequences. The penalties for this offence are severe and aim to deter people from engaging in this risky behaviour.

If you have been caught with a BAC over the legal limit, you can contact us so that we can advise you of your rights and how to proceed, given your circumstances.

Sources
https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/drink-driving
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/alcohol-and-the-law

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