New Drink and Drug Driving Offence in Victoria

Next month a new offence will be introduced into the Road Safety Act of Drink & Drug Driving. This offence specifically targets those who are intercepted driving whilst the prescribed concentration of alcohol and drugs are in their system. Previously there have been issues with prosecuting the same person for the two distinct offences arising from the same act of driving. This offence carries hefty fines and up to 12 months imprisonment. Here is the relevant excerpt from our summary of the offence on  Our Services page:

Drug and Driving Offences

As of 1 August 2015, there will be a new drink and drug driving offence in Victoria. Pursuant to the new section 49(1)(bc) of the Road Safety Act, which requires that a person who drives a motor vehicle while both the prescribed concentration of alcohol is present in their breath and the prescribed concentration of drugs is in their blood is guilty of a new offence. In the case of a first offence, the person may be fined up to 30 penalty units (see our Penalties and Infringements Section for more information). For a second offence, where the relevant readings are less than 0.15 grams, the person may be fined up to 90 penalty units or imprisoned for up to 6 months. For a second offence, where the relevant readings exceed 0.15 grams, the person may be fined up to 180 penalty units or imprisoned for up to 12 months.

For any other  subsequent offence, meaning a third offence or greater, the penalties vary between 180 penalty units and 270 penalty units and between 12 and 18 months imprisonment, dependent on the reading. Regardless of whether the offender is convicted or found guilty, if the offender holds a licence or permit, that licence or permit must be cancelled and the offender disqualified from obtaining a licence for the requisite period of time proscribed by the legislation. Once the period of disqualification  has elapsed, the offender will be required to complete a driver’s education course before applying for the return of their licence. There will also be mandatory interlock requirement periods, ranging from 6 months to 4 years, depending on whether this is the person’s first offence or a subsequent offence and what their reading was.

Contact our experienced criminal lawyers at our Melbourne office if you or someone you know is charged with this or other drink/drug driving offences. The first consultation is complementary and we are happy to discuss fixed fee arrangements for Court appearances upon driving matters, so that you know that your interests are protected without prohibitive costs.