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Traffic Law » Drink Driving » Drink Driving Penalties

Streeton Lawyers has extensive experience in all aspects of traffic law.

Drink Driving Penalties


The penalties for drink driving depend on the level of alcohol measured in the blood system. The following table sets out the level of alcohol for each offence, as well as the penalties upon conviction.

First offence penalties

Offence Blood Alcohol Maximum Penalty Automatic Disqualification Minimum Disqualification Interlock
Novice Range 0.00 to 0.02 $1,100 6 months 3 months N/A
Special Range 0.02 to 0.05 $1,100 6 months 3 months N/A
Low Range 0.05 to 0.08 $1,100 6 months 3 months N/A
Mid Range 0.08 to 0.15 $2,200 and/or imprisonment for 9 months 6 months (or 12
months if an interlock exemption order is made)
3 months (or 6 months if an interlock
exemption order
is made)
12 months
High Range 0.15 and above $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 18 months 9 months (or 3 years
if an interlock exemption order is made)
6months (or 12 months if an interlock
exemption order
is made)
24 months

If this not your first offence in the past 5 years, the penalties and periods of disqualification are higher. You are also likely to be subject to a MANDATORY INTERLOCK LICENCE ORDER.

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Second offence penalties

Offence Blood Alcohol Maximum Penalty Min/Max  Disqualification Min. Interlock Period
Novice Range 0.00 to 0.02 $2,200 1 and 3 months 12 months
Special Range 0.02 to 0.05 $2,200 1 and 3 months 12 months
Low Range 0.05 to 0.08 $2,200 1 and 3 months 12 months
Mid Range 0.08 to 0.15 $3,300 and/or imprisonment for 12 months 6 and 9 months 24 months
High Range 0.15 and above $5,500 and/or imprisonment for 2 years 9 and 12 months 48 months

Can I avoid a criminal record for drink driving?

The penalties and periods of disqualification apply only upon conviction, so if the Court deals with your matter by way of non-conviction, there will be no penalty or period of disqualification. One of the main factors that will influence your penalty is how serious your offence is compared to other offences.

What Makes the Offence More Serious?

The NSW Supreme Court in the DRINK DRIVING GUIDELINE JUDGMENT said that the following factors aggravate or make an offence more serious:

  • The degree of intoxication
  • Erratic or aggressive driving
  • Competitive driving or showing off
  • Length of the journey at which others are exposed to risk
  • The number of persons put at risk by the driving (for example, passengers in the vehicle).

Return back to our DRINK DRIVING PAGE.