Everybody knows that drink driving is bad – even after one drink, concentration falls, reaction times slow, and both the body and mind are affected in other ways. However, not everybody knows the definition of ‘drink driving’. At what point are you officially drink driving? At which point are you going against the law?
Each State and Territory is Unique
As the sub-heading suggests, the important detail is that each state and territory is unique in how it measures drinking, driving and how it dishes out fines and penalties. However, all states measure drink driving using BAC (blood/breath alcohol concentration). If you’re over a certain limit – if your blood contains a certain percentage of alcohol – you’ll breach the law and could face severe punishment.
As an example, New South Wales has a five-tier system, and the penalties depend on your BAC when taken by the police. Depending on your BAC, you could receive a penalty, license disqualification, or imprisonment. Here are the permutations for each group:
Novice (up to 0.02) – Minimum disqualification of six months, a maximum fine of $2,200, no imprisonment.
Special Range (Between 0.02 and 0.049) – Minimum disqualification of six months, a maximum fine of $2,200, no imprisonment.
Low Range (Between 0.05 and 0.079) – Minimum disqualification of six months, a maximum fine of $2,200, no imprisonment.
Mid Range (Between 0.08 and 0.149) – Minimum disqualification of six months (likely to be more), a maximum fine of $2,200, maximum imprisonment of nine months.
High Range (over 0.15) – Minimum disqualification of 18 months (likely to be higher), a maximum fine of $3,300, maximum imprisonment of two years.
If you’re a repeat offender, the punishment is more severe. For example, fines can reach $5,500 while you could lose your license for two years. If this is the case for you, please visit iamacomeback.com immediately to receive the support you need.
So, these are the DUI laws in New South Wales, and they take different forms around Australia. For instance, the Northern Territory uses five tiers, but the first tier goes all the way up to 0.05 BAC. Meanwhile, Queensland uses a four-tier system where even the lowest can lead to imprisonment.
Just to keep things even more simple (not!), the tiers in each state or territory use different names. South Australia uses Category 1, Category 2, Category 3, and DUI. As you saw, New South Wales uses Novice, Special Range, Low Range, Mid Range, and High Range. In Western Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria, the names and brackets change yet again. In fact, Western Australia has a complex system with 11 different brackets depending on the BAC of the individual.
DUI Laws in Australia
To understand the DUI laws in Australia, you need to look at the rules in your state or territory. While some have a couple of tiers, others have nearly a dozen. However, every region in Australia has variations of the same system. If your BAC is low, the punishment is less severe compared to somebody with a high BAC. What’s more, repeat offenders receive heavier punishment.
The best way to stay on the right side of the law is to never drink and drive. Even after just one drink, you have less control of the vehicle and you put other road users at risk. You might think that you can get behind the wheel safely, but the statistics suggest otherwise (and you aren’t immune to the statistics!).
Keep yourself safe, keep families and other road users safe (it could even be your friends and family on the road), and never drink and drive. If you need help with a drinking problem, contact a responsible organization today for anonymous assistance!
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