Drink Driving – An informative guide to everything you need to know!

We are bombarded with drink driving messages on all media platforms, they’re hard to ignore, so why are people still getting caught driving over the limit? Well, there several reasons but, the main one comes down to thinking they won’t actually get caught. If you are considering running the gauntlet next time you have a few too many drinks, here are all the reasons why you should think again.

It all starts with:

A roadside breath test

Any time you get behind the wheel, you can be pulled over for a random roadside breath test to examine whether you have alcohol in your system or not. This is called a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

How it works

If you have been intercepted by the police, you will be asked to provide an on-the-spot roadside breath analysis. Two different roadside testing devices are used to conduct this test. One is held near your mouth and the officer will ask you to count to ten. It usually gives a reading before you get to the number ten. The other one has a straw-like disposable contraption that is placed into a handheld device. You will be asked to breathe continuously into the straw until the officer tells you to stop. This also provides an on the spot result.

Your reading will be either one of two things, negative or positive. If it is negative, alcohol hasn’t been detected and if its positive, alcohol has been detected in your system.

If you have tested positive, but it is under the legal limit of 0.05 you will be able to continue on your journey, that is unless you are an L plater, Provisional Licence holder, or restricted from driving with any alcohol in your system. If you have tested positive and are over the limit, you will be asked to do another breath specimen and this is usually done in a roadside testing van if there is one or you will be escorted to the police station. You must comply and do the second test, once it is done, you can accept the reading or if you disagree with the results, you can request to get a sample of blood taken at a hospital. You will then be charged and you will be suspended from driving immediately for 24 hours. Serious charges may see you lose your licence until your court hearing. You will receive your court date in the mail.

Drink driving charges and penalties

If you have been charged with drink driving, you will lose your licence and receive a fine at the minimum. Drink driving charges are categorised into three different charges. Low range, mid-range and high range. Here is a breakdown of the three:

Low range

A low range drink driving charge is if your BAC range is 0.05 to 0.079.

The minimum penalty for this charge is a disqualification period of 1 to 9 months and a fine ranging anywhere from $600 to $1300. You will also lose demerit points, how many is at the discretion of the judge.


A mid-range drink driving charge is if your BAC range is 0.08 to 0.149.

The minimum penalty for a mid-range drink driving charge is a disqualification period of 3 to 12 months and the fine is usually $1100 to $1600.


The most serious of all charges is a high-range charge. This applies if you have a BAC of 0.150 or above at the time of the offence.

This charge carries a mandatory minimum licence disqualification of 6 months and you must have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed in your car for 12 months once your disqualification period is over and you get your licence back. The fine can be anywhere from $1500 to $2200.

You should know the penalties mentioned above apply to first-time offenders. If you have been charged with a subsequent drink driving offence, the penalties are far harsher.

Facing a criminal conviction

Depending on the seriousness of your charge, you may be facing a criminal conviction. Having a criminal conviction be extremely detrimental to your future. It can affect your ability to find employment and you may not be able to travel overseas.

The everyday impacts

If you have no licence, how will you get to work? Do you need your car as a part of your job? What about going to the shops or seeing friends? These are all things you will need to consider if decide to drink-drive and get caught. It is not worth putting your safety and those on the road and around you at risk. Pre-organise a lift with a designated friend, put aside enough money for a cab or catch public transport.

We hope this post has given you an idea of the consequences involved when getting caught drink driving and it has persuaded you to think twice next time you are contemplating driving when you have had a few drinks.

If you have already been charged with a drink driving charge, we know firsthand how stressful it can be. Our team here at Drink Driving Lawyer are expert traffic lawyers that specialise in this area of the law and can help you get the best possible outcome from your charge allowing you to get on with your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.