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Home Blog DUI Penalties across Australia

DUI Penalties across Australia

A number of road accidents and deaths in Australia are caused by Driving Under Influence (DUI) /Driving Whilst Intoxicated (DWI). Just as everyone has a right to road or mobility, we should also have the common sense to be responsible and ethical in use.

No matter where you are in Australia, it is a serious criminal offence to be caught driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. In most cases, it will land a serious conviction against you, manslaughter and/or imprisonment term. Having any of these convictions recorded against you may reflect in your police criminal record check history for life.

What is the Alcohol Concentration Limit in Australia?

It is good sense and advice to avoid all forms of alcoholic or intoxicating substance while driving. For all drivers, alcoholic content must be below 0.05. However, for all those who hold probationary drivers (P-Platers), learner drivers (L-platers) and professional drivers (CPVs, heavy trucks, buses and taxis), they must only drive at (0.00) zero BAC (Blood Alcohol concentration).

It also follows that all those who will accompany a learner must not be over 0.05 BAC at any point while driving.

An individual compounds the offence if he refuses a breathalyzer test request by the police for either alcohol or drugs.

DUI penalties and legislations for the different States/Territories

The law on drink-driving in Australia remains uniform all through the Territories and State. However, the penalties given by the Territories/State may differ depending on the seriousness of the offence.

While these laws may change from time to time with the hope of keeping Australian roads safe, we have compiled the most recent penalties in each state.

Queensland (QLD)

QLD has four alcohol limits that will affect the decision of the penalties. These levels include;

The no alcohol limit (BAC of 0.00)


Less than 0.05

Learners, probationary or provisional license holders with this BAC level are liable to a maximum fine of $1,594, minimum license disqualification of 9 months and a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months.


General alcohol limit (0.05 – 0.099)

Liable to a fine of $1,594, a minimum license disqualification of 9 months, and a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months.


Middle alcohol limit (BAC of 0.10 – 0.149)

Liable to a fine of $2,227, a minimum license disqualification of 12 months, and a maximum imprisonment term of 6 months


High alcohol limit (BAC over 0.15)

Liable to;

Other and repeat offenders

These penalties are usually worse for repeat DUI offenders, and they could;

Drivers will also have their licenses suspended immediately for 24 hours if;

New South Wales (NSW)

There are 5 categories, which include

Novice range (0.00 to 0.19)/ Special Range (0.02 – 0.049)

Learners, probationary or provisional license holders with this BAC level are liable to;


Low Range (0.05 – 0.079)


Medium Range (0.08-0.149)/High Range (0.15 and above)

The Road Transport Act of 2013 upholds the DUI laws, while you can get subsequent information from NSW Roads and Maritime on Drink Driving Penalties in NSW. It should also be noted that drink driving penalties will generally always be displayed on national police checks in the state of NSW.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Level 1 (for special drivers who require a zero alcohol limit);


Level 2 (prescribed concentration of alcohol of between 0.05 and 0.079);


Level 3 (prescribed concentration of alcohol of between 0.08 and 0.149);


Level 4 (BAC test of 0.15 or higher)


Driving under the influence;

In the ACT, the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977 governs the DUI/DWI charges. And further details on penalties are found in the Drink Driving Penalties in the ACT.

Victoria (VIC)

The Road Safety Act of 1986 that governs the DUI/DWI penalties in Victoria has the strictest rules. All drivers using a learner's permit must have a BAC of 0.00. Any driver with BAC above this (< 0.049) will receive a fine and a mandatory three-month license disqualification. This will also appear on their Victorian police background check.

0.05 – 0.069 (Full license)


0.07 – 0.149


0.15 and over


Driving under the influence

Tasmania (TAS)

Police may use their discretion when issuing infringement notices to first offenders with a full license and a BAC reading < 0.10. The instructions are governed by the Road Safety (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1970.

Less than 0.05 (Learners, probationary, and special motor drivers) and BAC levels of (0.05 – 0.099)


0.10 – 0.149


0.15 and over

Northern Territory (NT)

Having a DWI charge in NT will most likely lead to a loss of your License. Following the different ranges prescribed by the Drink Driving Penalties in the NT (extensive information), here are some of the penalties;

Less than 0.05 (for Learners, probationary, and special motor drivers) and Low Range (0.05 – 0.079)


Medium Range (0.08 – 0.149)


High Range (0.15 and over) and DUI

All those who have their offence suspended for a DUI charge must complete a drink driver training course before reapplying for their licence. It is mandated by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, to confirm the driver's credibility with a vehicle.

South Australia (SA)

The Road Traffic Act of 1961 that governs the Drink driving offences in SA separates violations to the PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol) and the DUI.

Category 1 (0.05 – 0.079)


Category 2 (0.08 – 0.149)


Category 3 (0.15 and above) / DUI charges

However, first-time offenders may expiate their offence following the Expiation of offences Act 1996. It imposes an on-the-spot fine, 4 demerit points and no license disqualification.

Repeat drink drivers for category 1 offences may;

Refusing to take a breath test may result in fines of up to $1100, 3 demerit points and 12 months loss of licence.

All affected can also get special information from the Drink Driving and Penalties in South Australia

Western Australia (WA)

The Road Traffic Act of 1974 governs the DWI offences and charges. While some Australian Drivers are on a 0.00 BAC limit, the official limit of the BAC is 0.05.

Wrapping Up

Lots of research has concluded that the danger of being in a Road/Traffic accident with a BAC level above 0.05 is double the probability of being in one at a BAC level of 0.0. There are several implications of Driving Under Influence (DUI)/Driving whilst intoxicated (DWI). In addition to the harm to lives, resources and properties are the possibilities of getting a serious criminal offence record.

These records will generally always come up in your police check records and may remain there for life.

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