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If police are unable to get a conclusive blood alcohol reading from you this is the fallback charge. The penalties are similar to that of a prescribed content of alcohol charge.

This charge is not confined to alcohol. You can be charged with DUI if it is believed that you were driving while impaired by consumption of prescription medication, illegal drugs or alcohol.

A DUI charge can be used in situations such as a motor vehicle accident where somebody involved drives away from the scene and is breath tested at their place of residence after the event. Police may not consider this an accurate reading of blood alcohol content.

These charges often rely upon witness statements deponing that the accused was driving in a fashion that would indicate a level of impairment that could be attributed to the intake of alcohol or drugs.

A person convicted of driving under the influence of a drug and causing death is liable for a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail (or 14 years if there are circumstances of aggravation such as speeding).


There are low, mid and high range offences.

Low - you drive a motor vehicle with your blood alcohol concentration between 0.050 and 0.079. If the court convicts you it is a mandatory 6 month licence disqualification and a maximum fine of $2200.

If the court deals with your matter under section 10 or a conditional release order (no conviction), you will not be disqualified or fined, and a conviction will not be recorded against your name. Statistics show that this is an achievable outcome if you are a person of good character and driving record.

If you offend again within five years, the penalties are more severe and can include the installation of an interlock device in your car.

Mid-range – you drive a motor vehicle with your blood alcohol concentration between 0.080 and 0.149. You may be required to install an interlock device in your car.

If this offence is the first of its kind, or the first in five years, the range penalties include:

  • 6 months disqualified licence
  • 12 months under car interlock regime
  • 9 months in prison
  • Fine of $2200

A fine and licence disqualification is the most common outcome.

High range - you drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.150. If high-range drink driving is your first major traffic offence, or the first within the past 5 years, the maximum penalties are:

  • Up to 18 months in prison
  • 9 month driver licence disqualification which can be reduced to 6 months, followed by
  • 24 months during which you must have an interlock device installed to your vehicle, and
  • Fine of $3,300

The court can exempt you from the interlock device regime but increase other penalties.

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