Combined drink & drug-driving penalties
From 1 August 2015, drivers in Victoria face harsh penalties if they are caught driving while affected by both illicit drugs and alcohol over the legal limit.
There are strong penalties if you are caught driving while affected by a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol over the legal limit. These penalties reflect the seriousness of this offence and the increased dangers and risks posed by these drivers on our roads.
You can be given a penalty for:
- driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with an illegal blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) and the presence of any illicit drug in your blood or oral fluid.
- providing a blood sample containing an illegal concentration of alcohol and any illicit drug within three hours of driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle.
- refusing to cooperate with police.
You can be charged with combined drink & drug-driving whether the offence was detected at the roadside (through a screening test) or later through a blood sample.
On the spot suspension
The police also have the power to immediately suspend your driver licence and/or learner permit if they charge you with certain combined drink & drug-driving offences. This suspension lasts until your charges have been decided in court.
What happens if I fail a roadside test?
If you fail a roadside saliva screening test and/or a roadside breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test you may face penalties.
What is saliva testing?
Saliva testing is used for roadside screening of illicit drugs. To give a saliva sample you will be asked to place the collecting device in your mouth or to touch it to your tongue.
The sample is then tested for drugs. This takes about five minutes.
If the screening test shows there are drugs in your system, you will be required to have further tests. Your saliva sample will also be tested by a laboratory. If the laboratory results confirm that drugs were in your system you will be charged and face penalties.
There are different penalties depending on whether the offence is a first offence or not. The following tables explain the possible penalties.
Penalties for first combined drink & drug-driving offence
Penalties for second combined drink & drug-driving offence
Penalties for third or subsequent combined drink & drug-driving offence
The value of a penalty unit changes each financial year and is published on the website of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel
The value of a fine is the value of the penalty unit multiplied by the number of penalty units for the offence.
Refusing to cooperate with police
You will receive even harsher penalties if you refuse to cooperate with testing requirements or refuse to give a saliva, breath, blood or urine sample.
What is the difference between licence suspension and cancellation?
If your driver licence or learner permit is suspended, you cannot drive for a specific period of time (e.g. 3 months). When this period has finished, your licence or permit becomes valid again.
If your driver licence or learner permit is cancelled, you cannot drive for a specific period (e.g. 12 months) and you will need to apply to VicRoads to get your driver licence/learner permit back. You may need to get a Licence Eligibility Order from a Magistrates’ Court first.