Drink-driving penalties

Drivers face harsh penalties if they are caught drink-driving

Penalties for drink-drivers

If you are caught driving with a Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over the legal limit you will:

  • face heavy fines 
  • lose your licence
  • need to complete a compulsory Behaviour Change Program
  • have to get an alcohol interlock installed
  • have to drive with a zero BAC requirement for at least 3 years, and
  • for the most serious offences, risk going to jail.

The penalties for drink-driving differ depending on:

  • the type of offence you committed
  • when you committed the offence 
  • your age at the time of the offence
  • the licence or permit you held
  • if it wasn't your first offence.

On the spot suspension

The police have the power to immediately suspend your driver licence and/or learner permit if they charge you with certain drink driving offences. This suspension usually lasts until your charges have been decided in court.

Vehicle impoundment

The police also have the power to impound your vehicle for certain drink driving offences. More information about the offences that result in vehicle impoundment can be found here.

Alcohol interlocks 

In Victoria, alcohol interlocks are fitted to vehicles of drivers who have been disqualified from driving due to a drink-driving offence.

An alcohol interlock stops you from starting your vehicle if you have been drinking. You need to blow into the interlock every time you start your vehicle and at different times during the trip.

For more information about alcohol interlocks, visit drink and drug-driving offences.

Information for participants on the Victorian Alcohol Interlock Program

Guidelines and rules for participants on the Program differ depending on when the drink-driving offence was committed. To find out more about what you’re required to do to complete the Program, visit Alcohol Interlock Program rules.

Victorian licence holders caught drink-driving interstate

Since 31 January 2018, if you hold a Victorian licence and get caught drink driving interstate, the same rules apply as if you’d been caught here.

This means that your Victorian licence will get cancelled and you'll have conditions like driving with zero blood alcohol added to your licence. You'll also need to have an alcohol interlock installed to any vehicle you drive.

For more information, contact Driver Relicensing Services on 1300 723 790 or [email protected]

Offence description Penalties

BAC less than .05

You have a:

  • learner permit
  • P1 or P2 licence
  • full licence with a Z condition (or otherwise have a zero BAC requirement).
You will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least three months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least three months
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.

BAC between .05 and .069

You have a:

  • learner permit
  • P1 or P2 licence
  • full licence with a Z condition (or otherwise have a zero BAC requirement), or
  • full licence and you're under 26 years of age.
You will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least six months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
     

BAC between .05 and .069

You have a:

  • full licence that doesn’t have a Z condition (no zero BAC requirement), or 
  • full licence and you're 26 years of age or older.
 You will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for three months (if you were issued a traffic infringement notice [TIN])
  • be disqualified for at least six months (if imposed by the court) 
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
BAC between .07 and less than .10

You will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least six months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years
BAC between .10 and less than .15

You will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 10 - 14 months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years
BAC of  .15 or more

You will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 15 - 24 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
     
Non-BAC drink-driving offence 
(e.g. refusing to stop at a booze bus or refusing to be breath tested under the influence)

You will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period decided by the court
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 

Serious motor vehicle offences that involve alcohol:

  • manslaughter arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • negligently causing serious injury arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • exposing emergency or custodial workers to risk, arising out of the driving of a motor vehicle 
  • culpable driving causing death
  • dangerous driving causing death or serious injury.
 

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 18 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
Dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police, offence involves alcohol

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months 
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
Stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle, offence involves alcohol  

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the court
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 

Non road safety related offences that involve alcohol (Community Sentencing Reform under Sentencing Act 1991)

 
 

You will need to go to court and may:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the court

Offence description Penalties

BAC less than .15

You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 12 - 28 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of 12 months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 

BAC of .15 or more, refusal or driving while impaired

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 30 - 48 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program 
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.

Serious motor vehicle offences that involve alcohol:

  • manslaughter arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • negligently causing serious injury arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • exposing emergency or custodial workers to risk, arising out of the driving of a motor vehicle 
  • culpable driving causing death
  • dangerous driving causing death or serious injury.
  • Dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police, offence involves alcohol
  • Stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle, offence involves alcohol

 You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both 
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the court
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program 
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the 

Refer to Behaviour Change Program providers to arrange to complete the program.

Offence description Penalties

BAC less than .05

You have a:

  • learner permit
  • P1 or P2 licence.
You will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least three months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 

BAC less than .05

You have a:

  • full licence with a Z condition (or you’re otherwise subject to a zero BAC requirement).
You will receive:
  • a fine
  • 10 demerit points.

BAC .05 to less than .07

You have a:

  • full licence and are 26 years or older, and
  • you aren’t subject to a zero BAC requirement.
You will receive:
  • a fine
  • 10 demerit points.

BAC .05 to less than .07

You have a:

  • learner permit
  • P1 or P2 licence
  • full licence, and you're under 26 years old
  • full licence with a Z condition.

You will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least six months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  •  have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.
BAC .07 to less than .10 You will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least six months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.
BAC .10 to less than .15 You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 10 - 14 months
  • need to complete a Drink Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.
BAC .15 or more You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 15 - 24 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years.
Non-BAC drink-driving offence
(e.g. refusing to stop at a booze bus or refusing to be breath tested under the influence)
You will need to go to court and will: 
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the courts
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change 
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of six months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
Non road safety related offences that involve alcohol
(Community Sentencing Reform under Sentencing Act 1991)
You will need to go to court and may:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the court

Refer to Behaviour Change Program providers to arrange to complete the program.

Offence Penalties
Second BAC offence
Most recent BAC reading was less than .15
You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 12 - 28 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock period for a minimum of 12 months imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC requirement for a minimum of three years. 
Second BAC offence, where most recent BAC reading was .15 or more
You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 30 - 48 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.
Where the most recent offence was a non-BAC drink-driving offence (e.g. refusing to stop at a booze bus or refusing to be breath tested under the influence) You will need to go to court and will:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for period determined by the court
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  •  have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by VicRoads
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition. 

Serious motor vehicle offences that involve alcohol:

  • manslaughter arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • negligently causing serious injury arising from the driving of a motor vehicle
  • exposing emergency or custodial workers to risk, arising out of the driving of a motor vehicle 
  • culpable driving causing death
  • dangerous driving causing death or serious injury.

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 18 months
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.
Dangerous or negligent driving while pursued by police, offence involves alcohol


You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months 
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.
     
Stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle, offence involves alcohol

You will need to go to court and may:

  • receive a fine, or jail time, or both
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months 
  • need to complete an Intensive Drink and Drug Driver Behaviour Change Program
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed by the court
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.
Non road safety related offences that involve alcohol
(Community Sentencing Reform under Sentencing Act 1991)

You will need to go to court and will:

  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or learner permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for a period determined by the court
3 or more BAC offences You will need to go to court and may:
  • receive a fine
  • have your licence or permit cancelled
  • be disqualified from driving for period determined by the court
  • have an alcohol interlock for a minimum of four years imposed byVicRoads
  • have a zero BAC for the duration of the Interlock condition.

If your most recent offence happened before 1 October 2014, different rules and penalties apply to you.

If you’re eligible to apply for removal of your alcohol interlock condition by no later than 1 December 2020, then your assessment will be based on reduced Program rules. To find out more, contact the Alcohol Interlock Program Support Team - Driver Relicensing Services on 1300 723 790.

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