DUI Laws in Australia

By Maryam Kidwai
DUI Laws in Australia
Bottle with alcohol and wine-glasses image by Oleg Guryanov from Fotolia.com

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or any narcotic substance is a serious offense in almost every country today. The U.S., Canada, the EU, Australia, Japan and several others take it extremely seriously since reckless driving under the influence of alcohol's debilitating effects causes thousands of fatal accidents annually all over the world. The Australian government has decided to further crack down on those who drink and drive and has introduced stringent DUI laws to curb this dangerous practice.

Blood Alcohol Content Restrictions in Australia

DUI laws in Australia vary from one state to the other. All states consider it an offense if the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level is above 0.05 ml per liter of blood. Police have the authority to stop any driver they suspect to conduct a random breathalyzer test. All states and regions except for Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria do not allow a BAC level exceeding 0.02 ml for younger inexperienced drivers, those holding a driver's license for less than 12 months (in some cases a driver's license for less than three years), those who have been recently issued driver's licenses but are still under 25 years of age, and those with previous records of conviction for DUI.

A similar BAC limit has also been imposed on drivers of heavy vehicles (13.5 meters and above), commercial vehicles, public vehicles like cabs, radio taxi, buses or any other vehicle with more than 12 seats. The BAC limit is 0.02 in all the states and regions except for Tasmania where they have extremely strict DUI laws and even a trace of alcohol in the blood is enough to get a driver fined.

Punishments for DUI

Australian government and police departments take DUI very seriously and strict punishments are meted out for those who repeat DUI offenses. Punishments for DUI in Australia are fines determined by the laws of each state, level of intoxication, number of times the offense has been repeated and other actions of the convict like refusal to stop the vehicle, refusal to get a breathalyzer test done on the spot and the like.

Fines start from Australian Dollars (AUD) $550 to AUD $3,000 and can be imposed in addition to prison sentences ranging from three to nine months; the sentences can be higher in case of serious offenses. The court can also direct an offender to a rehabilitation program conducted for those with alcohol addiction. In severe cases of extremely high BAC levels and reckless driving under the influence, the driver's license can be revoked on the spot by the police officer until the case is heard by the local court and a judgment is passed.

Defending Your Case

An offender booked for DUI in Australia can choose to hire a lawyer, request the state to provide legal assistance or even represent himself in court.

About the Author

Maryam Kidwai is a dedicated writer who has been writing for about fie years for online media including Helium and EzineArticles as well as local print publications in Toronto. Her passion for writing and flair for language have made her a valuable contributor providing relevant content read by thousands. She has a bachelor's degree in mass communications from the American University.