This article will discuss the types of drink driving offences, associated penalties, and the court process involved in Victoria
Drink driving is a serious offence in Victoria and is associated with significant penalties. The laws surrounding drink driving offences are outlined in the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) and aim to reduce the incidence of drink driving, thereby ensuring the safety of all road users.
Types of Offences and Penalties
- Exceeding Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA):
- Novice drivers (under 26 years or holding a learner’s, P1, or P2 license) must have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.00. For fully licensed drivers, the legal BAC limit is below 0.05.
- Penalties for exceeding PCA include fines, license disqualification, mandatory completion of a behavior change program, and in some cases, imprisonment. The severity of the penalty depends on the BAC level and any previous drink driving convictions.
- Refusing a Breath Test:
- Drivers are legally obligated to undergo breath tests when requested by the police. Refusing to do so without a reasonable excuse is an offence.
- Penalties for refusing a breath test include fines, license disqualification, mandatory completion of a behavior change program, and possibly imprisonment.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI):
- This offence involves driving while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such an extent that you are incapable of controlling the vehicle.
- Penalties for DUI include fines, license disqualification, mandatory completion of a behavior change program, and possibly imprisonment.
- First Appearance:
- At the first court appearance, the offender will be required to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty), and the court may consider bail if necessary.
- If the offender pleads guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing. If the offender pleads not guilty, a contested hearing will be scheduled.
- Contested Hearing:
- During the contested hearing, the police will present evidence, and the offender can present their case and any defences. The magistrate will then make a decision based on the evidence presented.
- If the offender is found guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing. The court will consider various factors, including the offender’s driving history, the circumstances surrounding the offence, and any other relevant factors.
Drink driving offences are taken very seriously in Victoria and are associated with significant penalties, including fines, license disqualification, mandatory behavior change programs, and possibly imprisonment. It is crucial for all drivers to be aware of the legal BAC limits and the potential consequences of drink driving offences. If charged with a drink driving offence, it is advisable to seek legal advice to understand the court process and potential outcomes fully.