LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading
|
Home Blog Drink Driving Penalties in NSW

Drink Driving Penalties in NSW

Drink driving is considered an offence in NSW, and the whole of Australia. Those caught in the offence face serious punitive actions like loss of license, disqualification, and even a conviction or imprisonment terms by the court.

The punishments for culprits are related to the seriousness of the offence. Drink driving punishments take into account the Alcohol level (PCA), related offences in the past if it leads to a conviction and so on.

It is a serious offence when you refuse to take a breath test.

Changes in the NSW laws

As of May 2019, the penalties for drink driving in NSW was adjusted and now caters for a broader case of drink driving offences. A person caught in drink driving offences may have their licenses suspended immediately or may even have to make separate arrangements to get to their destination. In most cases, offenders can also expect drink driving records to appear on police check certificates or their national criminal history check record in accordance with the rules of the spent convictions scheme.

Now, it is no longer necessary to be summoned by a court to receive a fine for drunk driving. Right there on the spot, the individual is punished according to the severity of their condition.

What are the levels of Drink Driving offences in NSW?

The Road Transport Act of 2013 in NSW lists 5 levels of drink driving that attracts commensurate penalties. These levels are listed in the degree of their seriousness from less to severe. They are;

  1. Novice range
  2. The novice range covers all drivers, especially a Learner, P1 or P2 driver with an alcohol level between 0.001 and 0.019 while handling a vehicle. It also covers all interlock license holders who operate a vehicle with related alcohol levels in the body.

    Penalties for a novice range

    • For a first offender, they face automatic disqualification for up to 6 months and a minimum disqualification period of 3 months
    • There is no mandatory interlock program available for offenders
    • Your offence may incur an on-the-spot fine of $561

    For secondary or subsequent offenders; for non-first-time offenders

    • They face a maximum disqualification period of up to 12 months and a minimum disqualification period of 6 months
    • The court may impose a fine of up to $3300
    • It can incur an automatic interlock program on the culprit
    • The automatic interlock program is 3 months, and the minimum period is 1 month.
    • If you get a section 10 dismissal or a conditional release order without conviction, you may not have to pay any fine or serve a disqualification.

  3. Special Range Drink driving
  4. If a driver's test for alcohol content in the blood returns a value between 0.02 and 0.49, while they are learners or interlock license holders, it is regarded in the Special Range category.

    For the Special Range PCA offence the individual can get punishments of;

    For first offenders;

    • A maximum penalty in fines of $2200
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 6 months, and a minimum disqualification period of 3 months

    For a second or subsequent offenders;

    • A maximum penalty in fines up to $3300
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 12 months, and a minimum disqualification period of 6 months
    • If you get a section 10 dismissal or a conditional release order without conviction, you may not have to pay any fine or serve a disqualification

  5. Low Range Drink Driving
  6. It is defined as driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level between 0.05 and 0,079.

    The penalties for this range are;

    For first offenders;

    • A maximum fine of up to $2200
    • There is no mandatory interlock program
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 6 months, and a minimum disqualification period of 3 months

    For a second or subsequent offenders;

    • A maximum fine of up to $3300
    • The mandatory interlock program applies
    • Incurs a maximum program of 3 months, and a minimum interlock program of 1 month
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 12 months, and a minimum disqualification period of 6 months

  7. Mid-range Drink Driving levels
  8. A person caught handling a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.149 is guilty of a mid-range drink driving offence.

    The penalties it attracts are;

    First offenders;

    • A maximum penalty fine of up to $2200
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 12 months, and a minimum disqualification period of 6 months
    • Incurs a maximum interlock disqualification program of 6 months, and a minimum of 3 months
    • May lead to sentencing of up to 9 months imprisonment term

    Second or subsequent offenders;

    • A maximum penalty fine of up to $3300
    • An automatic disqualification for up to 3 years and a minimum disqualification period of 12 months
    • Incurs a maximum interlock disqualification of 9 months, and a minimum of 6 months
    • May lead to sentencing of up to 12 months imprisonment term

  9. High Range drink driving
  10. A person handling a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 and above is guilty of a high range Drink driving and may face penalties of up to

    First offenders;

    • A maximum penalty fine of $3300
    • Sentencing of up to 18 months imprisonment term
    • Subject to mandatory interlock program, unless granted an exemption
    • Get a conviction recorded in your national criminal history record for the offence.
    • An automatic disqualification of a maximum of 3 years, and a minimum of 12 months
    • An interlock disqualification of a maximum of 9 months and a minimum of 6 months

    Second or subsequent offences;

    • A maximum penalty fine of $5500
    • Sentencing of up to 24 months imprisonment term
    • Subject to mandatory interlock program, unless granted an exemption
    • Get a conviction recorded in your criminal history for the offence
    • An automatic driving disqualification of a maximum of 5 years, and a minimum of 2 years
    • An interlock driving disqualification of a maximum of 12 months and a minimum of 9 months
    • A criminal conviction will be recorded in your Police/Criminal records. For example, when applying for a national police check NSW.

Driving under influence

A person found handling a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will face a penalty of;

First offenders;

Second or subsequent offenders;

In Drug-related driving offences, it counts in your favour if the drug is for medicinal purposes.

What happens in an immediate license suspension

The person must surrender their license and make other arrangements to reach their destination. All the on-the-spot conviction will be disclosed there, while matters that require court conviction will order a disqualification period starting from when you surrendered your license.

What are interlock orders?

Most court orders grant the individual to apply for an interlock driver's license (interlock order). However, you must install an interlock device in your vehicle. It helps determine the alcohol content of the handler/driver (Breath test), before starting the vehicle. You must also visit your doctor to obtain a "Drink-less'' medical certificate.

Top