As the holiday season draws closer the celebrations occur more frequently Police are out in force conducting random breath tests on those behind the wheel on our roads. If you choose to drink and drive than you should be aware of the penalty you may face if you are caught.

For those on the following licences, you must have a blood alcohol concentration of zero (0), meaning you cannot have any alcohol and operate your vehicle:

  • A learner licence;
  • A provisional, probationary or restricted licence;
  • A RE motorbike licence that has been held for less than 12 months or if you are learning to ride a R motorbike.

For most fully licenced drivers you cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of above 0.05%. This is the general alcohol limit.

The following table outlines the different charges for the different BAC levels, the maximum penalties that individuals can face and the range for the disqualifications the court can impose.

Charge BAC Range Maximum Penalty Disqualification
Low Range Drink Drive Did Drive Over the General Alcohol Limit but not over the middle alcohol limit 0.05 – 0.099 A fine of up to 14 penalty units or 3 months imprisonment 1 month to 9 months
Mid-Range Drink Drive

Did drive over the middle alcohol limit but not over the high alcohol limit

0.10 – 0.149 A fine of up to 20 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment 3 months to 12 months
High Range Drink Drive

Driving while under the influence

0.15 or higher A fine of up to 28 penalty units or 9 months imprisonment Mandatory minimum 6 months to lifetime disqualification


For those with a prior drink drive in the five (5) years prior to the date of their offence, the penalty and disqualification will increase. These individuals will also be unable to apply for a work licence.

Our team specialize in criminal defence. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.