Here at AH2 Legal, we have noticed that most of our Clients commonly approach us to assist in representing them in Court for traffic offences including drink driving offences.
In Western Australia, if you are charged with drink driving, the penalty you will receive will either be an infringement with loss of demerit points, or a notice to appear in court for the Magistrate to make the penalty determination.
The Road Traffic Act 1974 is the legislation that outlines the different drink driving offences and associated penalties in Western Australia.
An infringement is only issued to those with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 to 0.079, or if you are on a zero limit and your BAC is less than 0.02. All other drink driving offences will require you to attend court, and be sentenced by the Magistrate who will issue you with an appropriate fine and disqualification period.
If your BAC reading is 0.08 or higher, you will receive an automatic disqualification until your matter is finalised in court. A zero alcohol limit is required for all novice drivers, holders of extraordinary licences, recently disqualified drivers, and drivers of taxis, buses and heavy vehicles.
Drink Driving Penalties Western Australia where an infringement is issued
Infringements will only be issued for your first offence of drink driving. If you are on a zero limit, and your BAC was greater than zero but less than 0.02 then you will receive an infringement of $100, and the loss of 3 demerit points. All other drivers must have a BAC of less than 0.05.
If you are charged with drink driving and your BAC was between 0.05 and 0.059 then you will receive an infringement of $400, and 3 demerit points. If your BAC was between 0.06 and 0.069 you will receive an infringement of $400, and the loss of 4 demerit points.
If your BAC was between 0.07 and 0.079 you receive an infringement of $400, and the loss of 5 demerit points. If you choose for the matter to go to court, then the maximum possible court penalty is currently set at $500.
Penalties for first time drink driving offences in which a summons is issued
If it is your first drink driving offence you will be required to attend court if your BAC was 0.08 or greater. If you are on a zero alcohol limit and your BAC is 0.02 but less than 0.05, you will receive a fine of $150 to $300, and 3 months disqualification of your licence.
If your BAC reading was between 0.08 and 0.089 you will receive a 6 month disqualification of your licence, and a minimum fine of $500. If your BAC reading was greater than 0.09 but less than 0.11 then you will receive a 7 month disqualification of your licence, and a minimum fine of $550.
If your BAC reading is greater than 0.11 but less than 0.13, then you will incur an 8 month disqualification of your licence, and a minimum fine of $650. If you have a BAC reading of greater than 0.13 but less than 0.15 you will receive a 9 month disqualification of your licence, and a minimum fine of $750. If your BAC reading is 0.15 or higher, then you will receive a minimum disqualification of your licence of 10 months, and a minimum $900 fine.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, failing to provide a sample, or dangerous driving causing bodily harm, serious bodily harm, or death, you will be ordered to participate in the interlock program.
Penalties for second and subsequent drink driving offences
All second and subsequent drink driving charges will require you to appear in the Magistrates Court of WA for sentencing by a judicial officer. Any previous drink driving offence in the last twenty years will be taken into consideration for the determination of your penalty in court. The more offences you have committed in that period the higher the fine and the longer the disqualification period of your licence.
- For a BAC between 0.05 and 0.69, your fine will be at least $500 and you will be disqualified from driving for between 6 and 8 months.
- If your BAC was 0.07 to 0.079 you will receive a minimum fine of $600, and a disqualification of your licence of either 8 months or 10 months.
- If your BAC was 0.08 to 0.089 you receive a minimum fine of $600 and disqualification of your licence from 8 to 10 months.
- If your BAC was 0.09 but less than 0.11 you receive a minimum fine of $900, and a disqualification period of your licence of either 10 or 13 months.
- BAC readings of 0.11 but less than 0.13 will incur a minimum fine of $1200, and a disqualification period of your licence of 14 or 17 months.
- If your BAC was between 0.13 and 0.149 you receive a minimum fine of $1600, and a disqualification of your licence of either 19 months or 30 months.
- For BAC readings 0.15 or higher you can expect to receive a minimum fine of $2100 up to $5000, and a disqualification of 30 months for second offences, and a lifetime ban for third and subsequent offences. The Magistrate can also order a term of imprisonment for 18 months instead of the fine for subsequent drink driving offences with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
For second and subsequent drink driving offences committed within five years of the first offence, the court will be required to impose an interlock order on the offender. All costs associated with complying with the order are borne by the offender.
Alcohol interlocks are electronic breath analysis devices installed in vehicles that prevent the vehicle from being operated unless a breath sample is provided for analysis by the interlock. The alcohol interlock will prevent the vehicle from being started if the interlock detects alcohol equal to or greater than the pre-set 0.02% BAC limit in the driver’s breath sample provided for analysis. Randomly timed breath tests must be provided when prompted by the interlock whilst driving a vehicle.
Although the interlock is set at 0.02% BAC, alcohol offenders and interlock-restricted drivers are legally required to have a zero percentage BAC when driving. The alcohol interlock records every breath sample provided and any attempt to tamper with the interlock. This information is used to monitor the separation of drinking and driving behaviour and determine if there has been a breach of the scheme requirements.
Please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly lawyers at AH2 Legal if you have been charged with drink driving and require assistance in court.