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Communtity Law Manual | Driving & traffic law | Drink/drug driving offences and penalties

Drink/drug driving

Drink/drug driving offences and penalties

See the table below for a summary of drink/driving offences and penalties.

Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999 (LTOPR); Land Transport Act 1998

Any of those offences can also result in your vehicle being confiscated by the courts if you were driving it at the time of the offence, see also “Losing your vehicle: Impounding and confiscation” in this chapter.

If you’re convicted of one of these offences, you’ll also have to pay a $50 offender levy. You’ll usually also have to pay court costs and blood analysis fees. You can also be ordered to pay reparation (compensation) to another person for the damage or harm you caused, including emotional harm.

Sentencing Act 2002, ss 105B, 105D; Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967, s 4; Land Transport Act 1998, s 67; Sentencing Act 2002, s 14

Penalties are often more serious for repeat offenders, see above, “Repeated or serious drink/drug driving: Heavier penalties”.

Summary of drink/drug driving offences and penalties

The drink-drug driving offence
(Land Transport Act)

The penalty

Adult driving with between 250–400 mcg breath-alcohol or between 50–80 mg blood-alcohol (s 56(1A), (2A))

$200 infringement fee; 50 demerit points (LTOPR)

Adult driving with between 50–80 mg blood-alcohol, and refusing evidential breath test (s 56(2B))

$700 infringement fee; 50 demerit points (LTOPR)

Driving with breath-alcohol over 400 mcg or blood-alcohol over 80 mg (s 56(1), (2))

Driving under the influence of alcohol and incapable of proper control (s 58(1)(a))

First or second offence: up to three months’ prison or up to $4,500 fine; at least six months’ disqualification

Third offence or more: up to two years’ prison or up to $6,000 fine; at least one year’s disqualification

Driving under the influence of drugs and incapable of proper control (s 58(1)(a))

Driving while impaired by drugs (s 57A)

Driving after taking Class A drugs (s 58(1)(b))

First or second offence: up to three months’ prison or up to $4,500 fine; at least six months’ disqualification

Third offence or more: up to two years’ prison or up to $6,000 fine; at least one year disqualification

Under-20 driving with breath/blood-alcohol more than zero but less than 150 mcg / 30 mg (s 57(1A), (2A))

$200 infringement fee; 50 demerit points (LTOPR)

Under-20 driving with breath-alcohol between 150–400 mcg or blood-alcohol between 30–80 mg (s 57(1), (2))

Up to three months’ prison or up to $2,250 fine; at least three months’ disqualification; 50 demerit points (LTOPR)

Not remaining after a breath screening test (s 59(1)(a))

Up to $4,500 fine; disqualification for as long as judge decides

Not going with Police for evidential breath test, drug impairment test, or blood test (s 59(1)(b))

Not remaining, or not going with Police to another place, for evidential breath test, drug impairment test, or blood test (s 59(1)(c))

Not remaining until result of evidential breath test or drug impairment test (s 59(1)(d))

Up to $4,500 fine; disqualification for as long as judge decides

Refusing to have a blood test or drug impairment test (s 60)

First or second offence: up to three months’ prison or up to $4,500 fine; at least six months’ disqualification

Third offence or more: up to two years’ prison or up to $6,000 fine; at least one year disqualification

Drink/drug driving causing injury (s 61(3))

Up to five years’ prison or a fine up to $20,000; at least one year disqualification

Drink/drug driving causing death (s 61(3AA))

Up to 10 years’ prison or a fine up to $20,000; at least one year disqualification

Careless driving causing injury or death when you’re under the influence of drink/drug – but not incapable of proper control, not over alcohol limits, and passing a drug impairment test (s 62)

Up to three years’ prison or a fine up to $10,000; at least one year disqualification

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