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DUI Penalties across Australia

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.


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 Nationally Coordinated Criminal History 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;

  • Max fine of $3,188,
  • A minimum license disqualification period of 6 months (subject to magistrate decision),
  • A maximum imprisonment term of 9 months.

Other and repeat offenders

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

  • Have the car impounded (for BAC > 0.15, and the driver fails to provide a breath or blood specimen)
  • License disqualified for up to 2 years
  • Attract a maximum fine of $6,600
  • A sentence term determined by the court

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

  • They are charged with a BAC level over 0.0 but under 0.10, or while they have a drink driving charge pending, or holding a replacement license.
  • Fail to provide Police with a breath or blood specimen
  • Charged with dangerous operation of motor while under the influence

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;

  • A maximum fine amount of $2,200,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 6 months

Low Range (0.05 – 0.079)

  • A maximum fine amount of $2,200,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 6 months (can be higher)
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 9 months.

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

  • A maximum fine amount of $3,300,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 18 months (can be higher for high range)
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 2 years

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. It should also be noted that drink driving penalties will generally always be displayed on Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks in the state of NSW.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

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

  • A maximum fine of $700,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 1 month

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

  • A maximum fine of $700,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 2 months

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

  • A maximum fine of $1,400,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 3 months
  • Maximum imprisonment term of 6 months

Level 4 (BAC test of 0.15 or higher)

  • A maximum fine of $2,100,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 6 months
  • Maximum imprisonment term of 9 months

Driving under the influence;

  • A maximum fine of $4,200,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 6 months
  • Maximum imprisonment term of 6 months

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.

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 check.

0.05 – 0.069 (Full license)

  • A maximum fine of $422,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 6 months

0.07 – 0.149

  • A maximum fine of $599,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 14 months

0.15 and over

  • The magistrate will usually determine the proper fines
  • Minimum license disqualification of 48 months

Driving under the influence

  • A maximum fine of $2 800,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 24 months (or more)
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months

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)

  • A maximum fine of $1,300,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 12 months,
  • Maximum imprisonment term of 3 monthss

0.10 – 0.149

  • A maximum fine of $2,600,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 18 months,
  • Maximum imprisonment term of 6 months

0.15 and over

  • A maximum fine of $3,900,
  • Minimum license disqualification of 36 months
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 12 months

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 (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)

  • A maximum fine amount of $650,
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months

Medium Range (0.08 – 0.149)

  • A maximum fine amount of $975
  • License disqualification of 6 months - Unlimited
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 6 months

High Range (0.15 and over) and DUI

  • A maximum fine amount of $1,300
  • License disqualification of 12 months - Unlimited
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 12 months

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 separates violations to the PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol) and the DUI.

Category 1 (0.05 – 0.079)

  • A maximum fine amount of $1,100
  • Minimum License disqualification of 3 months/4 demerit points

Category 2 (0.08 – 0.149)

  • A maximum fine amount of $1,300
  • Minimum License disqualification of 6 months/5 demerit points

Category 3 (0.15 and above) / DUI charges

  • A maximum fine amount of $1,600
  • Minimum License disqualification of 12 months/6 demerit points
  • a maximum imprisonment term of 3 months (for 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;

  • Get a licence disqualification of 3 years for high range offence
  • Fined up to $2,900
  • Must undertake an alcohol dependency assessment

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.

  • A BAC range between 0.05 and 0.079 attracts an infringement notice.
  • A BAC higher than 0.08 will attract an automatic driving disqualification, license seizure until the matter is resolved in court.

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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The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

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