Drink driving is considered to be a very serious offense. It certainly can cause terrible accidents, and does lead to death. Many, however, feel that laws are a bit too strict. Most drivers feel very comfortable and in control at the levels that are considered to be illegal. If you want to avoid drink driving, though, you should understand the basics of the laws here in Australia.
What Is the Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
The answer to that question actually varies depending on the region. In any circumstance, however, serious fines and sentences can be applied. In general, a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) measurement anywhere above 0.05% can result in penalties. The following portion of the article will break down the different tiers to attempt to assist you in understanding how severe things can become.
In New South Wales, the lowest tier for a licenced driver is a BAC measurement between 0.05% and 0.08%. At this level, you can receive a fairly hefty fine. Even first-time offenders can receive a maximum fine of up to $1,100. That fine increases to $2,200 for any offences after the first.
The next tier is a BAC measurement between 0.08 and 0.15%. In this tier, fines are increased rather severely. For first time offenders, the maximum fine is $2,200. For subsequent offences, that fine increases all the way up to $3,300. In this range, the driving privilege will be immediately suspended.
The highest tier is where the most severe punishments are imposed on the offended. Any BAC measurement beyond 0.15% falls into this category. Fines are increased even further up to a maximum of $3,300 for first-time offenders, and $5,500 for repeat offenders. It’s at this tier that imprisonment becomes an option for the court, should they wish to impose that penalty. Imprisonment can last a maximum of eighteen months for first-time offenders, and up to two years for repeat offenders.
As stated, the penalties are different in different regions. In Victoria, things vary slightly from the limits in New South Wales. There are four tiers for this offence in this region. The lowest tier is a measurement lower than 0.05%. At this level, there is a fine of more than $300. Ten demerit points are applied to the driver.
At the next tier, which is a measurement between 0.05% and 0.07%, drivers will receive a fine greater than $350, and their driver’s licence will be cancelled immediately if they are under the age of twenty-six. The licence cannot be reinstated for a period of six months following the offence. Drivers older than twenty-six will not have their licence suspended, but will receive ten demerit points.
At a BAC measurement between 0.07% and 0.15%, all drivers will have their licence suspended for a period lasting between six and fourteen months. As well, fines can total more than $500. Any measurement higher than 0.15% falls into the highest tier of this offence. These individuals will be required to attend court where severe penalties can be applied to the driver. Fines and disqualification from a licence for up to forty-eight months are common for these offences.
Are There Other Laws You Should Understand?
All drivers using a probationary licence must have a blood alcohol concentration of zero. If you are accompanying a student driver, it is also an offence for you to have a BAC over 0.05%. Truly, these offences can result in very serious punishments. If you’ve committed such an offence, drink driving lawyers can help defend you against fines and imprisonment.