Alcohol and Driving

Each year in Victoria approximately 20,000 drivers or more lose their licence for drink driving offences

Alcohol is a contributing factor in around one-third of all road deaths. There are laws to limit the amount a person can drink before driving. In Australia, the legal limit for drinking and driving for most people is .05 BAC. It is difficult to work out how many drinks will put a person over the legal drink-driving limits. Some people will reach higher BAC more quickly, including:

  • Women
  • People who are not healthy
  • People with an empty stomach
  • People with smaller bodies
  • Overweight People

A good guide to stay under .05:

Males: 2 standard drinks in the first hour and then 1 per hour after that.
Females: 1 standard drink each hour only.

If you drink more than this and drive you could lose your licence, get a fine or go to prison. Any drink-driver who injures or kills someone can be sent to prison.

Licence Restoration

If you have recently lost your licence as a result of a drink driving
or drug related offence this is what you must do now.

All cancelled or suspended licences or permits MUST be sent to:

Driver Licences
GPO Box 777
Carlton South, VIC, 3053

It is an offence, with a maximum penalty of $500.00 to keep your licence or permit if it is cancelled or suspended.

If your licence or permit is cancelled or suspended by a court, you are not allowed to drive from the date set by the court.

If you were issued with an infringement notice (penalty notice) involving a suspension or cancellation, your disqualification period starts 28 days after the issue of the notice unless you decide to go to court or are suspended immediately for a drug related offence, a BAC of at least 0.15%, or a second offence.

Driving While Disqualified

Do not drive again until you have a valid licence.

If you drive while disqualified the penalties are:

a fine of up to $3000 or imprisonment for up to 4 months for a first offence, as well as
possible cancellation of vehicle registration
If this is your second offence, imprisonment is up to the magistrates discretion. After a second offence.

If you do not regain your licence at the end of the disqualification period and you then drive unlicensed you could be fined up to $2500 or imprisoned for up to 3 months.

Severe penalties apply to unlicensed and disqualified drivers who have any alcohol or drugs in their blood.

Licence Restoration Order (Court Order)

If a court order is required (see below) you must have this before you can apply to VicRoads for a licence or learner permit. You will have to appear before a magistrates court to apply for it.

You must give the court at least 28 days notice of your intention to apply for the order.

Some people must be assessed for drinking or drug problems before they can go to the court to apply for a licence restoration order (see below).

Even in cases where the law does not require you to make driver education courses compulsory, Magistrates may require you to complete them. Contact your nearest court soon after your conviction to see if you should attend a program.

Once you pay your court fees the registrar will help you with the paperwork. You will be given a copy of the form which will give a date for you to appear in court. Police interview you before you appear in court.

You are not given a licence restoration order automatically. It is up to the Magistrate to decide whether to give it to you. If the Magistrate decides in your favour you will be given a licence restoration order by the court registrar. You must take this order along with a proof of identity* to your local VicRoads office when you apply for a licence or permit.

* VicRoads will not issue a licence, or permit, or any other licence related document unless you provide satisfactory proof of identity. (Refer to VicRoads Proof of Identity Information Sheet)

Re-licensing requirements

To regain your licence, when your period of disqualification is over, and you have obtained your court order or certificate of completion of a Drink Drive education course, you need to do the following:

attend a VicRoads office

Show your court order and your certificate of completion of an education course

Prove your identity

Pay your licence fee

When you are relicensed you will get back the same type of licence you had previously. If you have not held a licence in the last five years you must pass a road law and driving test to regain your licence.

Z restriction

A Z restriction (restricted to Zero BAC when driving), is imposed on all full licence holders for three years where a court order is required.

Learner Drivers

The reissue requirements for car and motorcycle learner permit applicants are the same as for licence holders.

Once your car or motorcycle learner permit is issued it must be held for a minimum period of time before you can apply for your licence. The minimum period of time is three months for a motorcycle. For a car it is six months (if you are under 25) or three months (if you are 25 or older).

If you are under 25 years of age on the date of the offence, you must complete a driver education course. VicRoads will notify you of this requirement. You should then contact Awareness Driver Education or fill out the online enquiry/booking form.

If you do not complete a course within 3 months of being notified, your licence or permit will be cancelled and you will not be able to obtain a licence or permit until you have completed a course.

If you are a first offender with a BAC at or below 0.1%, a condition of the bond will be that you undertake a driver education course. You should then contact Awareness Driver Education or fill out the online enquiry/booking form.

Obtaining a record of your convictions

Education course providers and courts may require you to provide a record of your convictions.

You will need to attend a VicRoads office and prove your identity to obtain this information, or request this information by contacting VicRoads on 13 11 71. A fee will be charged for providing this information.

Non Victorian Licence Holders

Holding an interstate or overseas licence does not cancel the need to obtain a court order or undergo a course.

Alcohol interlocks

Alcohol interlock legislation will apply to certain drink drivers who commit an offence on or after 13th of May 2002.

Why Interlocks?

About 24% of all drivers and riders killed in Victoria have a BAC of 0.05 or more. Repeat drink drivers are responsible for approximately 22 fatalities and 560 injuries each yearfive per cent of the annual Victorian road toll.

What is an Alcohol Interlock?

An alcohol interlock is an electronic breath-testing device, wired to the ignition system of a vehicle. Interlocks can be fitted to motorcycles, cars and trucks. A vehicle fitted with an interlock will not start unless the driver passes a breath test.

Who will have an interlock?

Alcohol interlocks will apply to repeat drink drivers and some serious first time offenders. Offenders must:

  • Complete the period of disqualification
  • Obtain a licence restoration order from the court
  • Visit VicRoads to obtain a licence with an interlock condition on it
  • Only drive a vehicle fitted with an interlock.

How long will my licence have an interlock condition?

First offenders:

If you have one offence where your BAC was at least 0.15 or a non-BAC offence, the court may impose an interlock condition on your licence for at least six months, or if you have two offences where your most recent offence was a BAC of less than 0.15, you will have an interlock condition on your licence for at least six months.

Repeat offenders:

If you have three or more drink driving offences or two offences where your most recent offence was a BAC of at least 0.15 or a non-BAC offence, you will have an interlock condition on your licence for at least three years.

Alcohol assessment report

An alcohol assessment report is required within 28 days before you can apply to the court to have your alcohol interlock device removed.

Disclaimer: Fines and penalties listed above are subject to change