Home Button

Ask Our Advice -
Drink Driving

If you've been charged with drink driving, or think you might be, you will probably be embarrassed and very stressed. Who do you tell? Do you have to tell your boss? What about family and friends? Do you want to talk to someone who can answer your questions and let you know what will happen next? Having answers to your questions takes away a lot of the uncertainty and can also make it a bit easier if and when you choose to tell people. 

Drink driving is an offence under the Road Safety Act 1986. Depending on the type of licence you have, there are different amounts of alcohol you can have in your body. If you have a full licence you must have less than .05 in your system. If you are a P-Plater or if you are driving a heavy vehicle you must not have any alcohol in your system at all. We answer some of the most common questions below. Of course, if your question is not listed or you want some more information, please do not hesitate to call us on 1800 351 114 for some free advice.

Car on country road

Can I go to Jail?

Most drink drivers do not go to jail. If it is your first offence, you cannot go to jail. If you have already been caught for drink driving, you could receive a jail sentence although most people do not. 

The more times you have been charged (three, four, five…) the more likely it is that you will get a jail sentence. In our experience if your case is properly prepared and there are no other aggravating circumstances (such as an accident or erratic driving) you give yourself the best chance of avoiding a jail term.

We will manage your case and get you the counselling and assistance the Court would be expecting. We can arrange alcohol counselling, driver awareness courses, character references and medical reports. We will arrange these things for you if we think you need them. It depends on who you are, your history with alcohol and how you were caught (routine booze bus detection, call to police because of erratic driving or an accident).

Do I have to lose my licence?

In rare cases, no. If it is a first offence, you are over 26 years of age, have held a licence for 3 years and your blood alcohol reading is less than .07 then you do not have to lose your licence. Otherwise you will have to lose your licence.


How long will I lose my licence for?

Any reading up to .09 will result in a licence loss for a minimum period of six months. For readings of .10 you get 10 months, for .11 you get eleven months, .12 you get 12 months and so on up to 24 months. For a second or subsequent offence those minimum periods double.

It is important to note that these are minimum periods only - the Court can impose any period of cancellation it likes. It often does this where you have received other driving charges at the same time, were involved in an accident or have a poor driving history.

Can I get a drive to work licence?

Unfortunately not. If the Court takes your licence away you cannot get a drive to work licence. You will have to make alternative arrangements for work, even if you depend on your licence to make a living.

Your Barrister will attempt to minimise your period of time off the road.

Why did I get charged with so many offences?

Usually the police will charge you with at least two offences for a standard drink driving case. If there was a collision involved you will usually be charged with further offences. The police often charge you with all possible offences (these are called alternatives) and then decide later about which offences they can prove. We negotiate with the police to ensure that they only proceed on the appropriate charges.

What happens at Court?

If you are pleading guilty to the charge(s) then you won't need to say a word at Court. We do that for you. When it is time for your case to be heard you will be seated in the front row of the public gallery. Your Barrister will sit at the table and will speak to the Magistrate about your case. The Magistrate does not read your file before he / she comes into Court. Your Barrister will tell the Court why you were charged and will then tell the Court about all your good points – the Barrister knows what sort of things the Court is interested in.

Should I adjourn my case to get a different Magistrate?

No. In Victoria you are not allowed to "shop around" to get a different Magistrate. The Court does not allocate a Magistrate to hear your case until the night before. You and your lawyer cannot find out who the Magistrate is going to be until the morning of your case.

Some of the reasons you might seek an adjournment are:

  • To allow more time to prepare your case;
  • To obtain a character reference or report;
  • If you or your lawyer are unavailable.

Will my case get reported in the media?

This is extremely unlikely. We never talk about your case with anyone. We do not speak to the media under any circumstances. Having your case reported in the media does not help you. Having to go to Court is stressful enough without having your peers, your work colleagues or your local community hearing about it through the media.

Contact Us Button
Our Service Button
Confidentiality Button
Penalties Button
Ask Our Advice Button
The Process Button
News Button
Testimonials Button
Locations Button
Contact Us Button
View Full Site Button