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Traffic Law » Drink Driving » Drink Driving – Will I Lose My Licence?

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Drink Driving – Will I Lose My Licence?


Drink driving offences carry automatic and minimum periods of disqualification following conviction. To summarise, these are:

Offence Blood Alcohol Automatic Disqualification Minimum Disqualification
Novice Range 0.00 to under 0.02 6 months 3 months
Special Range 0.02 to under 0.05 6 months 3 months
Low Range 0.05 to under 0.08 6 months 3 months
Mid Range 0.08 to under 0.15 12 months 6 months
High Range 0.15 and above 3 years 12 months

The Automatic Disqualification is the period of disqualification the court will impose unless the magistrate is persuaded that it should be varied. However, it cannot be reduced to a period below the Minimum Disqualification.

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Whether you will be disqualified from driving will depend on whether the court convicts you of the offence. In other words, if the court records a conviction, there must be some period of disqualification. If however the court is persuaded not to convict you, there will be no disqualification.

Whether or not you will be convicted, and if convicted what the penalty you will receive (including the period of disqualification), will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The level of alcohol in your system
  • Whether or not there were any aggravating features, for example dangerous driving (see above and the “Guideline Judgment”)
  • Your traffic record
  • Whether you have a criminal record
  • Your character
  • Your need for a licence
  • Your completion of the Traffic Offenders Program

Will the Court take into account my need for a licence?

Your need for a licence is a relevant factor in the sentencing process. Those who will suffer extreme hardship should be in a position to provide evidence to the court proving that hardship. The court is also required to take into account the need to deter other members of the community from committing the same offence, and in many cases, the need to deter individual offenders from committing the same offence again.

Your need for a licence will not in itself be a reason not to convict or disqualify you. However, it will always be a relevant consideration and at least, will be relevant to the length of disqualification imposed.

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