If you get caught for 0.05 in Victoria, you may be subject to stiff penalties that are assessed on-the-spot. But do not be fooled by the phrase “drunk driving.” Victoria law imposes penalties if you drive “under the influence” of alcohol.
You can be under the influence without being drunk. Even more troubling for drivers who drink is a law that prohibits driving with an excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
The offence is these days committed if the driver has a BAC of 0.05 or above, as measured by a breath or blood test. Almost nobody feels drunk at 0.05 and most people are capable of safe driving at that BAC level. It therefore comes as a surprise to many Victoria drivers when they face penalties for a first alcohol-related driving offence.
Drivers violate the law in Victoria when they:
A first offence usually results in an infringement notice, but the police can elect to lay charges instead. For any offence after the first offence, and for first offenders who have a BAC of 0.15 or higher, the police will lay charges and the penalty will be decided by a court.
An infringement notice is an on-the-spot ticket. The ticket notifies you that you are required to pay a fine. The due date will be at least 28 days from the date you receive the notice. You can request an internal review of the infringement notice by the agency responsible for issuing it, or you can contest it in court. If you do nothing, you owe the fine.
If you do not pay the fine by its due date, you receive a penalty reminder notice and additional costs are imposed. If you do not pay the fine by the date specified in the penalty reminder notice, the Infringements Court can issue an enforcement order notice that imposes still more costs.
The amount of the fine depend on the driver’s BAC. Fines are measured by penalty units. Those are subject to change every year. The police officer involved, (the police informant) should explain the ticket to you.
In addition to the fine, the following first offence drivers receive 10 demerit points:
In addition to the fine, the following drivers will have their licences cancelled and will be disqualified from driving for a period of time
The court determines the penalty for drivers with a BAC of 0.15 or above, as well as for drivers who have a previous offence.
We know is all sounds very tough and confusing. If you or a loved one have been charged for breaching the Drink Driving laws