Saving Lives Together

Drink and drug driving

The information available on our website provides a simple interpretation of the law and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Full details of traffic offences and penalties related to drink and drug driving are contained in the Road Traffic Act 1974.

Drink Driving Penalties

If you are caught driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) equal to or above 0.05 and less than 0.08, you may either be infringed or required to appear in court.

The following table shows the penalties that will apply for a first offence of driving with a BAC of = 0.05 but < 0.08.

Table 1: Penalties
BACInfringementMaximum Court PenaltyDemerits
= 0.05 but < 0.06$400$5003
= 0.06 but < 0.07$400$5004
= 0.07 but < 0.08$400$5005

The following table shows the court penalties for drink driving offences. The penalties in these tables represent drivers who held a full licence at the time of the offence.

BACPenalty Type1st Offence2nd OffenceSubsequent Offence
= 0.05 but < 0.07MinimumSee Table 1$500$500
Disqualification6 months8 months
= 0.07 but < 0.08MinimumSee Table 1$600$600
Disqualification8 months10 months
= 0.08 but < 0.09Minimum$500$600$600
Disqualification6 months8 months10 months
= 0.09 but < 0.11Minimum$550$900$900
Disqualification7 months10 months13 months
= 0.11 but < 0.13Minimum$650$1,200$1,200
Disqualification8 months14 months17 months
= 0.13 but < 0.15Minimum$750$1,600$1,600
Disqualification9 months19 months30 months
> 0.15Minimum$900$2,100$2,100
Disqualification10 months30 monthsLife
Imprisonment 9 months18 months

* Option to max fine for second offence is 9 months imprisonment.
** Option to fine for third and subsequent offences is 18 months imprisonment.

Drink Driving Penalties for Zero BAC

A zero BAC applies to the following groups of drivers:

  • Novice Drivers
  • Holders of Extraordinary licences
  • Recently Disqualified Drivers
  • Drivers of:
    • vehicles exceeding 22.5 tonne GCM
    • vehicles carrying dangerous goods (when such goods are being carried)
    • buses (while carrying passengers where the vehicle is equipped to carry more than 12 adults including the driver)
    • small charter vehicles (when carrying passengers for hire or reward)
    • taxis (when carrying passengers for hire or reward)

The following table shows the penalties for a person subject to a zero BAC.


Drug Driving Penalties

Police have the power to stop drivers suspected of driving while impaired by any drug and those found with illicit drugs in their oral fluid can be charged with the offence of Driving with Prescribed Illicit Drug in Oral Fluid.

OffenceCourt Penalty
MinimumMaximumDemerits OR
Licence Disqualification
First OffenceN/A$5003 demerits
Second OR
Subsequent Offence
$500$1,0006 months minimum disqualification

Drivers found to be impaired by prescribed or illicit drugs will be prosecuted for a more serious offence; Drug Impaired Driving under the Influence of Drugs.

These offences apply where police have evidence of suspicious or erratic driving behaviour and where that suspicion is confirmed following a driver assessment and/or blood tests.

OffenceCourt Penalty
MinimumMaximumLicence Disqualification
First Offence$900$2,50010 months minimum
Second Offence$2,100$3,500 OR
9 months imprisonment
30 months minimum
Subsequent Offence$2,100$5,000 OR
18 months imprisonment